For the steak and ale pie
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 4.
Season the flour with salt and pepper.
Toss the chunks of beef in the flour.
Heat half the vegetable oil in a medium casserole dish and, when it’s hot, brown the meat in batches.
Remove beef and keep aside.
Add the remaining oil to the pan then add the pancetta and onions and a pinch of salt & pepper then cook gently until the onions are soft (around 2-3 mins).
Add the chopped carrots and garlic and cook for around 5 minutes.
Add the thyme leaves, stout or ale, dark brown sugar and red wine vinegar and bring to a simmer.
Return the meat to the pan and cover with stock, then bring to a simmer.
Put the lid on the casserole dish and transfer to the oven.
Cook for between 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is really tender and the sauce thick but not too dry.
Top up with a little more stock, if it looks too dry. Once cooked, check the seasoning, then cool completely (ideally cook the filling the day before).
Turn the oven up to 220°C/fan200°C/ gas 8.
Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the pastry until it is 5mm thick or use ready rolled.
Take a one litre pie dish and place it upside down on the rolled pastry and cut the pastry to fit.
Spoon the pie filling into the dish.
Brush a little egg wash around the edges of the dish then gently lay the pastry on top and press down lightly round the edges so it sticks.
Take a small knife and make a little cross in the centre of the pie to allow steam to escape.
You can also use a small fork to make indentations around the edges of the pie.
If you’re using cut out pastry letters brush a little beaten egg on to help them stick on top.
Lightly brush the pastry all over with beaten egg.
Bake the pie in a hot oven for 40-45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the pie filling is piping hot.
Serve with steamed greens or peas.