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A Taste Of Cornwall

October 30, 2014 No Comments

There’s a mythology to the Cornish Pasty unlike any other regional British food we’ve encountered. I’ve never heard people form Leicestershire argue about pork pies in the same way and I’ve never heard anyone take a sharp intake of breath at the contents of a haggis before. If we’re wrong, please let us know.

‘Sacrilege’ is the word you’ll see bandied about more than any other: Ginster’s? Sacrilege! Crimping on top? Sacrilege! Carrots? Sacrilege! Fruit down one end? Sacrilege! Actually, that last one is more of a myth really. We’re sure it has been done, but don’t let anyone tell you that that was how a proper pasty was made.

Making your own Pasty is another way for you and your family to get in touch with the culture of Cornwall, or a great way of reliving your holiday once you’re back home. Now, we are not expert bakers here at Cornish Holiday Cottages, but maybe that’s a good thing. It means that we make mistakes and we can pass what we’ve learned on to you. A quick spoiler – don’t overfill your pasty. We’ve tried a few different recipes, from the ones on Ann’s Pasties and Cornish Pasty Association websites to The Guardian’s How To Make The Perfect Pasty. The following recipe then, should give you an authentic flaky pastry and a juicy, tasty filling.  Enjoy.


Cornish Pasty Recipe – Makes 4

Making the Pastry (Ann’s Pasties Recipe)

450g 1lb strong white flour (large pinch salt optional)
100g 4oz margarine (Echo or similar hard variety)
110g 4oz lard
175ml 1/3pt water
Put the flour and salt (if used) into a bowl. Cut off a quarter of the lard and rub into flour. Grate or slice the rest of the fats into the mixture and stir with a knife. Pour all the water in and stir until absorbed. Knead a little and leave at least 30 minutes in the fridge before using.
Pastry can be made the day before, wrapped in polythene and stored in the fridge overnight. Pastry freezes well, but remember to take it out the night before you need it. Do not refreeze.

For The Filling

450 g skirt beef
450 g potato
250 g swede
200 g onion
Salt & pepper to taste (don’t skimp on the salt)
1 knob of butter per pasty
After making the pastry begin chopping the vegetables and skirt beef. The potatoes need to be quartered and then sliced into pieces no more than 5mm thick. Keep them in a bowl of water until they’re needed. Chop the onions finely and cube the swede and also put to the side. The skirt beef needs to be cut into pieces of less than a centimetre in thickness.

Now you are ready to assemble your pasties. Before we do, it’s worth noting that the pastry is very elastic and will begin to shrink once it is rolled out. You don’t need to be hasty but if you leave it rolled out it will make it harder to seal and shrink. This is also the time to preheat your oven to 200C

The worst mistake we’ve made when making pasties is giving in to the temptation to overfill the pasty, Make sure there is half an inch or 2.5cm of bare pastry around your filling so you can crimp your pasty at the end.

Generously flour the area you are using and your rolling pin. Cut the pastry dough into 4 pieces. Each piece will form one pasty. Roll out your first piece until it is approximately 21 – 23 centimetres in diameter. Use a side plate to cut around to get a perfect circle.

Now put a layer of swede and onion in the middle of the circle and season. Next, add the beef making sure that there are pieces going towards the ‘corners’ of your pasty. It’s now time for more seasoning.

Top with a layer of potato and swede and season once more. Add another layer of potato and finish with a knob of butter. I tend to evenly spread the butter all over the top to give an even spread. The butter is very important in giving your pasty a juicy, meaty filling.

Now you are ready to crimp

Moisten the edge of the pastry closest to you then pull the pastry furthest from you over the filling to meet the bottom half of the pastry.

To crimp you use your thumbs to pull and push the pastry over itself. It’s incredibly hard to explain, but this video shows you perfectly.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9NkKQY-Qvg

Once made, place your pasties on a baking tray covered in greaseproof paper and cover with an egg glazing to give them that golden look. Finally prick them with a knife to let steam escape during cooking.

You are going to pop them in the oven for an approximately an hour in total but you are going to turn the temperature down to 160C after 10-15 minutes, or when the pastry begins to look golden.

When they are done, let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.


Mozzarella Caprese Salad

June 21, 2014 No Comments

Mozzarella caprezaIt may stem from my Italian roots, but I love Mozzarella Caprese salad so much. Use the finest mozzarella cheese you can lay your hands on, with fresh tomatoes, basil and either a balsamic reduction or extra virgin olive oil, or both, plus a generous seasoning of black pepper and a couple of grinds of Cornish rock salt. Make it a couple of hours in advance and try not to eat it, as letting it rest really does give the flavours time to fuse together, but don’t be too hard on yourself, the resulting aromatic smell will be very tempting!