…I’m pleased to say that the birds did not begin to sing. Keeping five and twenty blackbirds alive, under pastry, in a hot oven would be enough of a challenge to convince Hercules that cleaning the Augean stables with his tongue would be infinitely preferable to cooking such a dish, the opening of which would be similar to lifting the lid of Pandora’s lunch box. My mind is suddenly filled with a vision of Greg Wallace ( Master Chef presenter for foreign readers – total tosser for English readers ) trying to summon up one of his pithy food critiques, along the lines of the nigh infinitely repeated “Cooking doesn’t get harder than this”, with cheeks bulging, eyes wildly staring and a mouth full of burning hot beaks and feathers. My pie was an altogether simpler affair. As to avian content, I must confess that birds were involved, in this case a lone chicken that had lost its beak and feathers along with its life whilst riding the free range prairie. This pie is an adapted version of Jamie’s Christmas dinner” leftover pie”, in which chicken has replaced turkey. Finely chopped celery, carrots and onions were slowly melted in butter with bay leaves and thyme. Flour, milk and seasoning were added to create a creamy sauce into which I dropped the chopped up cooked chicken. In Jamie’s vernacular “Whack on the pastry lid, slam it into the oven at 200C and Robert’s your uncle in around 30 minutes – luvverly”.