I have to admit I would not have expected to like Balvenie DW much more than HP12, which is a long term favourite. But when tasted side by side, I found that the Balvenie was richer, warmer, and more complex. It had a more interesting nose, and longer finish. I do remember that when I had HP18 I felt it was kind of like the HP12, but generally moreso. I suspect if I did Balvenie DW and HP 18 side by side, it would be a lot less clear cut.
Hehehe the spicy peppers is a family secret. But can do with the pie
The key is really in the preparation, you really need to remove all fat from the meat, and need to cook the meat really slowly.
700 - 800g Topside Steak, in large cubes.
2 - 3 Large Onions
2 Oxo Cubes (or similar beef stock cubes)
Ground Black Pepper - to taste, I use about 20 turns of a pepper mill
Salt (preferably sea salt with roasted garlic flakes) - again to taste
About 500g of Flaky Puff Pastry
Cut the steak into large cubes, making sure not to leave any fat on at all, and place in large sauce pan. Cube onions (2 if they are huge onions, 3 if they are smaller) and add. Crumble the oxo and add the pepper and salt. Add water to the pot until all ingredients are just submerged. Bring to the boil while stirring constantly. Once at the boil, cover 3/4 of the pot with lid, and simmer very gently for 2 - 3 hours, stirring every ten minutes. If water starts reducing too quickly, reduce the temperature, and crush another Oxo into 1 cup of water, stir it, and add as needed. After 2 - 2.5 hours the water should be thickening into a rich gravy. If it is still think, cornflour or preferably gravy powder can be added. Remember the gravy will thicken on standing, so it is best to leave a little more liquid than you want in the pie. Leave standing for at least 30 minutes
Meanwhile roll out half of the pastry into a pie tin. I use flaky, puff pastry. You can make it yourself with any appropriate recipe, but I don't. I have, but to be honest, while it's cool to know you did, it doesn't really taste any better, and is quite an exhausting process. Once pastry is in tin, add filling, then roll out the other half of the pastry and use it for a lid on top, and press edges down with a fork to seal the pie shut. Cut two small slits on top so it can breathe. Put it in a preheated oven at about 180 Celsius for 40 - 45 minutes (til golden).
I usually serve it with creamy mashed potatoes (just potatoes, a few tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of ground basil, mashed til smooth), and a salad (Iceberg Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Pepper, Radish, Red Onion, Carrot). Wine matches with a nice, powerful Shiraz.