One of the nicest - and strangest - things about living in Melbourne is that we get a day off work for a horse race. I have very little interest in horse racing; I've lived in Melbourne for nearly 20 years and I've never been to the races, even though I'm very fond of hats, shoes and champagne.
I do like a bit of tradition, however, so I've decided that Melbourne Cup Day should be the official start of the summer season. Which for me means a picnic. Which means proper picnic food. Which means a homemade pie.
I made this bacon and egg pie last year and loved it. It was just as nice this year, and I'll be making it again next year. It's from Belinda Jeffery's Mix and Bake, which I recommend heartily. I had leftover pie for lunch at work today, and it was even more delicious.
Belinda suggests making pastry leaves for the pie. I added stars instead this year in honour of the USA election, about which I have been ridiculously excited (and completely thrilled with the result).
In keeping with our new tradition, we had our Cup Day picnic yesterday at Ripponlea Estate for the second year in a row. It's walking distance from where we live - although I drove yesterday because I had a lot of picnic paraphernalia to schlep. We lolled around with friends and kids and had a fine old time, not listening to the race, wondering why we don't make more use of the lovely, National Trust listed gardens. Sunhats were worn, and there wasn't a fascinator in sight.
It was a wonderful way of finishing up an extra long weekend, which is just what's needed at this time of the year. Now, about Christmas...