The nights are starting to draw in and getting much cooler so the time is right for some warming snacks. If you’re the type of person for some dusk fishing or maybe just watching some evening sport then what could be finer than a beautiful hot Cornish Pasty. Try wrapping it in foil and slipping it into your pocket, the anticipation from the warmth will drive you mad.

Pasties have probably been made in England since 13th century. Originally they were eaten by the wealthy upper classes and even royalty although the pastry wasn’t eaten as it was merely there to protect the meaty contents.

Around the 18th or 19th century the cornish pasty came into existance. With the development of tin and copper mining in Cornwall, the miners who worked long hours in terrible conditions, needed a nutritious yet portable meal to last them through the day.

The traditional cornish pasty contained beef mixed with potatoes onion and turnip. Pasties could even have a savoury end and a sweet end, rather like a two course meal. The glorious half moon shape with the ropelike crimp on one side made it easy to hold in the fingers whilst eating the filling and then the ropelike crimp could be discarded. This was very important as the miners fingers were dirty and worse, where there is tin there is often arsenic.

Now I really don’t want to enter the debate on what pastry to use, I prefer puff pastry but savoury pastry is probably more traditional and if the delicious ones that I had at the Earth Hour Market the other week are anything to go by then the choice is yours.

Cornish Pasties

Serves 4

750g puff or savoury pastry

225g beef skirt, sliced thinly

1 medium potato, thinly shredded

1 large onion, peeled thinly sliced

1 small swede, thinly shredded

1 carrot, thinly shredded

25g butter

1 beaten egg

Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F.

Roll out pastry and cut discs approx 20cm in diameter.  Season the meat and vegetables separately with salt and pepper.  Melt butter and trickle over vegetables.  Layer the meat to one side of pastry between individual layers of swede, carrot, potato and onion.  Brush border of the pastry with beaten egg.  Fold over and seal.  The edge can now be rolled and pinched from one edge to the other, giving a rope effect.

Place pasties on a greased baking tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.  Reduce temperature to 180°C / 350°F and continue to cook for 30 to 35 minutes.  Serve hot from oven or cold on a picnic!

Too often we forget the humble beer and in New Zealand we have some extraordinary artisan brewers, I had the pleasure of working with Mike’s organic beer on a recent filming for the food channel and let me tell you their Whisky Porter is stunning. They’re hard to find but if you are in Taranaki bring some back with you.

1 Comment

  1. Lai
    July 29, 2012

    Leave a Reply

    I read this in the LDV blogfeed as “The Marmite Party” and thoguht, gosh, someone’s done something frightfully clever here, characterising the Lib Dems with reference to a popular foodstuff rich in cultural associations as a “love or hate” party, i.e. one that’s ubiquitous and polarises opinion, both fans and haterz being equally evangelical. Maybe, I thoguht, they’re going to do something even more clever like suggest that the best way to communicate ourselves is copy Marmite’s advertising tactics and play on that love/hate crossover and thus strengthen our brand by absorbing common criticisms into it.And no.But thanks for the thoguht. It’s almost as if you did write that post anyway.

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