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Government Fare

Since 1773 when ‘Bellamys’ opened, MPs have been able to eat in the  Palace of Westminster. Initially the food was relatively expensive and the range limited, so very few members could afford to eat there. Nowadays, however, the Commons operation caters for 651 MPs, 1000 permanent staff, 8000 other passholders, plus guests and so forth. A huge operation!

But, what is eaten? Legend  has it that William Pitt’s dying words were, "Oh, for one of Bellamy’s veal pies."
Veal pies are still popular in Britain (not only in the Palace of Westminster), but are often bought rather than home made. As they are eaten cold, they are served with salad and pickles and are typical picnic fare.

Apart from in the Palace of Westminster, individual veal pies are often sold as part of a "pub lunch".

Veal pie, like many traditional dishes, is time consuming to make so allow yourself plenty of time! This is definitely not a dish for vegetarians.

Raised veal pie

  • 675 gm shoulder of veal
  • 110 gm ham
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 570 gm pork jelly (see below)
  • hot water crust pastry (see below)
Stage 1
Make the pork jelly. For this you will need:
  • 1 pig’s trotter
  • some pork bones
  • 1 stick of celery, 1carrot, 1 onion
  • 600 ml water


    1. Put all of the ingredients into a saucepan.
    2. Bring to the boil and continue to boil for another 30 minutes
    3. Remove the bones and vegetables and leave the liquid to cool to a jelly

Stage 2
Make the pastry. You will need:
  • 350 gm flour
  • 1.5 level teaspoons of salt
  • 75 gm lard
  • 150 ml milk (or milk and water)
  • 1 beaten egg
  1. Preheat the oven to 220 C
  2. Mix flour and salt
  3. Gently heat the lard in milk (or milk and water) and bring to the boil
  4. Pour this hot liquid on to the flour and salt
  5. Quickly beat the mixture until it makes a soft dough
  6. Pinch the dough together with one hand and then knead until smooth.
  7. Wrap in cling-film or put in a plastic bag and leave for 20-30 minutes
  8. Then roll out 3 quarters of the pastry to 0,5 centimetres thick
  9. Grease a baking tin or mould and line with the pastry
Stage 3
Prepare the filling
  1. Cut the veal and ham into small cubes
  2. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Add the chopped onion and parsley
  4. Leave to stand for 30 minutes
Stage 4
  1. Fill the pie with the meat
  2. Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid for the pie
  3. Press the top and bottom edges of the pie together
  4. Make a hole in the middle of the lid
  5. Brush with the beaten egg
  6. Bake for 225 c for 15 minutes then for another hour at 100 c
  7. Take the pie out of the oven and allow to cool
Stage 5
  1. Warm the pork jelly enough to make it liquid, but not hot
  2. Carefully fill up the pie with jelly, (by pouring the jelly through the hole in the lid)
  3. Allow the jelly to set, adding more of the liquid until the pie is completely full
  4. Eat when the jelly has set and the pie is cold

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