A good friend put me onto the wonders of these things a few years ago, but it was only last year that I bought the one pictured above from K-mart for only $10. While it’s not the sort of appliance I use every day, it’s been such a handy thing for hospitality and family meals. With one of these you can turn left-over amounts of casserole, stroganoff and bolognese into yet another dinner, for only the cost of the ready-rolled puff pastry. If I’m trying to be a good mummy I will then serve each family member a pie with three steamed veg on the side – so it’s not too unhealthy. Pies that come out of these machines can be frozen and reheated later and if you keep a can of apples in your pantry, it’s really not too hard to whip up a dessert of hot apple pie for whoever you’re eating with. If you’re making pies for a crowd they can be kept warm in a low oven while the next ones are cooking in the pie maker, but you will find this process faster if you buy the Sunbeam machine that allows you to cook four at once (I couldn’t be bothered because the K-mart one was so cheap!). Finally, I like these machines for stretching meals out – one family size casserole all of a sudden feeds two families easily for not much extra cost, making homemade pies a great meal to give away.