EVERYONE knows the old English rhyme about Simple Simon and his pies.

I have to confess to being a bit of an extreme pie addict this time of year!

And it’s also true to say that living in Yorkshire we always tend to buy too much food and drink at Christmas and live on our leftovers well into the New Year.

With everything else going on over Christmas, cheese can be an afterthought for most - a hastily-grabbed block of Cheddar, a big slice of Stilton for grandad, or even a pre-selected assortment cheeseboard being sold off at the supermarket on Christmas Eve.

Cheese can make an entire meal when appetites are flagging, and we’re seeking something plain and basic after the Christmas indulgence. For me a cheese and potato pie always hits the spot.

At our house, it’s the perfect partnership and marriage. A bit like Morecambe and Wise, gin and tonic or a packet of cheese and onion crisps dipped in tomato soup after a swim, it’s one of those combinations that really does work.

In a pie - well, that’s two Great British traditions rolled into one crumbly pastry case.

This classic pie is a Northern staple as sources suggest, which is often made and sold in slabs cut up warm.

I do recall mum bringing home huge slices of hot cheese and potato pasty cut from a slab from Oakworth Village Bakery for our dinners in the school holidays to keep us going till teatime.

For those of us not lucky enough to have regular access to such pleasure, what’s the best way to make it at home?

Let’s start with the pastry, which frankly is the most important aspect, and is always made with homemade shortcrust pastry.

It’s the obvious choice for most, being light and crumbly, but to my surprise a block of ready-made shortcrust pastry made an interesting contrast with the cheesy filling. I admit, you live and learn, especially if you’re in a rush.

In my experience the cheese is generally best made with a crumbly lactic ‘up North’ taste, like a strong Cheddar or the creamy texture of the Lancaster.

Onions can be added: this should be the straightforward bit of the pie, by simply simmering a white onion in the frying pan with a little oil until soft, which will make them nice and juicy.

This will be a bonus for the drier cheeses like Lancashire or Leicester.

The spuds must however have a very Northern plainness about them, cut into small chunks, and adding a knob of butter and seasoning well with a little white pepper when cooked.

Instead, you could add a tangy heat of mustard powder which works particularly well with cheese without overwhelming it. This can also be added to the pastry if you are making it at home and have the time.

Go on, say cheese, be a rebel and use up your cheese board this weekend – Simple Simon bids you all “adieu”.