Thursday, 29 October 2015


About 40 years ago I got fed up making pasties, they took too long to make, when you are feeding a crowd. I still make proper pasties occasionally, but for weekly use I make Pasty Pies. So easy, they never fail if you follow a few simple rules and you use and eat less pastry. They taste exactly the same as a proper Pasty! I can fling one together in about 15 mins. Meal done, no dishes - perfect.

You need a deep - at least  2", round 8” or 9" tin, preferably with a small lip around the outer edge, well oiled. I do have a 10" for a larger Pie, feeding a good 6. So much easier than making 6 pasties!!!!

Making the Pastry. [Rough Puff]
I make it first thing in the morning or the night before and leave it in the fridge. Or batch make, to freeze, taking out the night before. But the pastry needs to rest in the fridge.

For one 8" Pasty Pie you need:
12 oz Plain Flour
large pinch of salt
3 oz lard - room temperature
3 oz hard baking margarine, like Stork [or butter, but in this instance marg is OK] - room temperature

Rub the fat into the flour and salt, not too finely. Add very cold water slowly until just enough to bring together. Gently knead with your hands until incorporated and put in a poly bag to rest.

Assemble all your ingredients:        

12 oz beef skirt, cut into little pieces. NEVER ever use minced beef.
Swede [Rutabaga in the US], chipped small from a whole piece
2 leeks, sliced finely                                 
Onion, roughly chopped
Potatoes, chipped like the swede
Fresh parsley, chopped
Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper.
A little extra flour for dredging.

Never cube or diced the veg.
I use leeks, because my mother often did and they make pasties very juicy.
I have not given you quantities as it will depend of the size of your tin - but see photos on my Blog.

Make your Pie:

Roll out just under two thirds of your pastry, keeping it round and even and making sure you have enough to hang over the lip for the crimping.  Slide your rolling pin underneath, lift and place it over the tin. Fit the pastry and trim if necessary, making sure you leave plenty for the crimp. I always make more pastry than is needed as it is easier, when rolling not to scrimp. Just cut the excess off.

Start the filling:

Swede first, then half of the potato. A little seasoning. Then the leeks and the remainder of the potato. More seasoning, then carefully cover with the skirt, then the onion and parsley. A little more seasoning. Your Pie needs to be really full.
Dredge with plain flour.

Roll out the rest of the pastry crust. Lift with your rolling pin as before. Level out the edges and trim so everything is even. Press together and start the crimping, as the photo. Press the crimped edge towards the centre and make a slit in the centre top. You can brush with milk or egg if you wish. Place in your very hot pre heated oven 220 deg C for the first 10 mins to set the pastry. Turn down to 190 deg C and bake for a further 1 hour 20 mins, more or less, according to size and thickness. Leave in the tin for 5 mins, then, on a cooling rack, take some kitchen paper, cover the Pie and put a corner into the slit on top [to stop the juices escaping]. Cover with another rack, hold both racks together and VERY quickly flip over, take off the tin and flip back  See photo.

Be careful - it is very hot! But hey presto it is out of the tin. Make sure the top rack is upside down.

DO NOT EAT for at least an hour. Allow the juices and flavours to develop and merge together. Just wonderful! You cannot appreciate the flavours if the Pasty Pie is too hot - this applies to ordinary pasties too, of course.

The Rough Puff basic pastry recipe is suitable for lots of things.
Bought Flakey Pastry is too flakey for the Pie!! Although you could use it, if pushed. You cannot use shortcrust pastry.

Of course, this is my version, I like parsley but some folk do not! Ditto leeks. I quite like pork pasties occasionally too.

Sunday, 25 October 2015


This is a very special cake and I have been making it for well over 25 years and I have been racking my brain trying to work out where I got the recipe, but it’s gone. However, I do recall, I think, that it originated in Australia. It improves with age [don’t cut it on the day you make it] and is a great keeper. Up to 4 weeks in an airtight tin.

It does take a little prepping, but it is well worth it! Trust me!
Use an 8” springform or similar tin. I line it,  as a cube of the sticky marzipan may be on the bottom or sides.

4 oz dried apricots, chopped
4 oz dried or glace cherries
4 oz walnut pieces
5 - 6 oz cubed marzipan [small]
8 oz golden sultanas
1 large orange
6 oz butter
6 oz caster sugar
3 eggs
8 oz wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons milk.

Grate the orange zest and squeeze the juice. Chop the fruit and nuts etc. Cream the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy then add the beaten eggs, one at a time, along with a small amount of the flour. Stir in the remaining flour and baking powder, then all the remaining ingredients. Give it a good mix and tip into the prepared tin. Bake in a preheated oven 130 deg C for 1¼ - 1½ hours.

Leave in the tin for five mins then cool on a rack. So good! I guarantee you will love it!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


Here is another lovely autumny scone recipe, to help use up all those windfalls. I love scones, they are so handy and so versatile. I might have mentioned that before…..???? They freeze perfectly, handy when rellies or friends pop in. I have used buttermilk, always so good to bake with, but you could use ordinary whole milk. 

1 lb SR Flour
large pinch of baking powder
2 ½ oz softened butter
1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon - or more if you wish
1 large heaped tablespoon sugar - I used soft light brown, caster or muscovado are good
large handful chopped walnuts, or to taste
I very large Bramley apple, peeled and finely chopped [or 2 medium size]

Place the first 4 ingredients into a bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You all know this!

Stir in the sugar and walnuts, then the chopped apple.

1 large egg
tub buttermilk

In a measuring jug, break the egg, then make up the quantity to about 11 fl oz with the buttermilk. Whisk to combine, then pour into the flour and mix well using a knife. Change over to your hands and bring together to form a ball, then transfer to your lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Roll out to about ¾ inch thick and cut into rounds, using a plain cutter and place them onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. I use a plain and not fluted cutter because there are so many nutty lumpy bits!!

Makes 12 large scones.

Pop them into your preheated fan oven 200C for about 18- 20 mins. Cool on a rack, then split when still just warm and slather on the butter. Mmmmmmmmm.

Freeze left overs as soon as they are cold. To defrost pop into a microwave for a minute or so. They will come out exactly as they went in.

Note: Always check your ground cinnamon is well in date - it loses so much of its flavour quickly.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


We return briefly to very old Cornish recipes and I have been told this was generally made in the Camborne Redruth areas, then spread out from there. Yet, I was born and bred in Stithians and I had never heard of it, until some of my husband’s rellies from Camborne told me about it. So this is Pat Manuell’s version, as described to me in precise detail and she has approved the method below!! I am sure there will be other variations and I will be most pleased to hear about them. Pat and her husband Alan live in Camborne and are seniors with a love of basic old Cornish foods. Pat makes this regularly and it is a favourite with her family. I have decided to photograph each stage as I make this dish! See my Blog! It would be such a shame if this recipe from our heritage, was lost.

You start off by making a Beef Broth. I am not giving you any quantities as it depends on how many pasties you are making and how much broth you need to hold them all. Apart from that, it is a movable feast and you use whatever veg you have to hand. [but no potatoes]

A nice piece of boiling brisket - to hold 2 or 3 pasties, I used just over 1lb. I cut my piece in two.
Vegetables, including swede, carrot, onion, I also used a small parsnip and a leek as well. You will need a white cabbage later on.

In a LARGE saucepan, place the brisket, adding boiling water to just cover and plenty of seasoning, cover and boil for about an hour until the meat is tender. Remove the meat to cool. [I did this stage in the morning and left the beef in the stock until the afternoon, then returned it to the boil]. This is your beef broth base. Add your chipped vegetables [as if you were making stew, very slightly larger than for a pasty] then continue to simmer for about another ¾ hour.

When cool enough to handle, chop up the meat into pieces, Pat says whatever size you wish! Return this to the broth, along with plenty of torn white cabbage. [Pat says it MUST be white cabbage], any other would wilt away, the white holds it’s shape. Check seasoning, this is most important. Simmer for maybe 10 mins until the cabbage has wilted slightly. Your broth is now the base to hold the pasties. There must be enough veg and cabbage to make an almost solid base, so that the pasties do not sink too much.

Meanwhile, while the beef in boiling….

Make a pastry. Using plain flour and about ⅓ lard to flour, rubbed in until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add cold water to bind. Chill for a bit. [I used 9 oz plain flour and 3 oz lard for 2 medium pasties and I had some left over]

Skirt beef, chopped small
Onion, chopped
[I also added a little chopped parsley]

Roll out some of the pastry and make pasties, using just beef and chopped onion, about tea plate size or maybe a tad bigger. It must not be too thin. I used 4-5 oz skirt for each pasty, along with plenty of onion. Crimp firmly as this must not break open while boiling. Do NOT put a hole in the top, as we would for ordinary pasties.

Place your pasties on the top of your Beef Broth and gently simmer for about 1 hour.

Serve in a large dish, with your boiled pasty sitting in the beef and vegetable Broth.
You will have Broth left over for the following day lunch!

My verdict? The smell as you cook the brisket is wonderful! The pasties are basically large dumplings, shaped like pasties, stuffed with meat and onion! Good, although very filling. The Broth was beautiful, especially the following day!

But I will admit a small break from Pat’s recipe. While the beef and veg were simmering, just before I added the cabbage, I decided to add about one third of a rich beef stock pot. No more, that is all it needed, but it did add an extra depth to the flavour.

My husband enjoyed it! So I will make it again before long.

I cannot thank Pat enough for her input and help throughout! She was always on the end of the phone when I had questions!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015


This is such a deliciously moist and yummy cake, with slightly different ingredients! It was given to me by a rellie maybe twenty years ago. This cake is quite rich so is great for that special occasion or for a dessert, served just warm, with clotted cream, of course! But, trust me, it is great as a cut and come again cake and keeps well for several days.

It is very good when made in a ring [bundt] tin like I have done here, making it easier to pour over the syrupy sauce, or you could use a 9” round, spring form tin.  Butter or oil your tin well and line the bottom if using a round tin. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C.

Bundt tins are underused here and that is a shame as they look fab, are easier to slice and great to decorate. [see note at the bottom] I bought mine in Sainsbury’s some time ago and use it a lot.

10 oz softened butter
10 oz g caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 heaped teaspoons grated orange rind
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
½ teaspoon orange extract [Asda has Valencian orange extract - but be careful, it is strong]
12 oz plain flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
300 ml tub sour cream

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the grated rinds and orange extract. In a separate bowl sift the remaining dry ingredients together then add to the mix, bit by bit, alternately with the sour cream. But do NOT beat. Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 55-60 mins, Remove from the tin to cool, then place on your serving plate when nearly cold.



scant 3 fl oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1½ fl oz cointreau or brandy
1 ½ oz caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil for two minutes. Take off the heat and pour evenly over your almost cold cake. Allow to stand for at least a quarter of an hour before cutting.

Before serving lightly dust with some icing sugar.

Oh my! just lovely. The texture and flavour is just wonderful.

Note: When using a ring tin, butter very very well, then sprinkle some flour over the whole of the surface. Take to the sink then tap away the excess.

Saturday, 10 October 2015


This unusual and yummy recipe was given to me by Trish, an old friend, who now lives in Plymouth. They are so soft, moist and scrumptious and very different. The quantity makes 12 large muffins. I used cases but as long as you have a good non stick pan that you oil well, there is really no need. They also keep well, five or six days easily - not that they ever will!This uses cup measurements, which are so easy! Available anywhere, but I do like Sainsbury’s kitchen gadget aisles. 

Preheat your fan oven to 200C and prepare your tin/cases

  cups plain flour
1 cup oats
¾ cup soft dark brown sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup cooked, grated beetroot
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup milk [I used whole]
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons golden syrup

Place all your wet ingredients together in a bowl, inc the beetroot and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix all your dry together, making sure it is evenly combined. Mix them together quite quickly and fold rather than beat. Fill the cases and bake for about 20 mins. Each case will hold about a heaped dessertspoonful.

A photo of the cut bun is on my Blog.

How easy is that? They were done and out of the oven in about half an hour! Just delicious. You could decorate, but why? You would be adding more sugar and diluting the wonderful flavours.

Note: When baking I generally use whole milk, as opposed to semi skimmed, especially in older recipes when semi skimmed was unheard of. It definitely adds to the texture and flavour. No need when all you need is a splash.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Spicy Walnut and Pear Cake

This cake is seriously special and very moist and tasty. You can use it warm as a dessert, with lashings of clotted cream or cold with a cup of tea! I found the recipe many years ago in a newspaper and now sits in my clippings folder. I does take a little more effort than a plain cake but it’s well worth it. I only like to eat hard green pears, so find this cake handy to use up the fruit that are turning yellow. I hate waste.

You will need a square or oblong tin, about 9 x 9“ or equivalent. Lightly oiled, then lined with parchment. Hang it over the sides, making it easier to lift out later on. [see pic on my Blog] Preheat your fan oven to 190C

1 - Make a crumble topping.
  1 oz softened butter
  2 oz plain flour
  2 oz caster sugar
  2 oz chopped walnuts
  1 teaspoon cinnamon

Rub the butter into the flour then add the remaining ingredients. Set to one side.

Peel and slice 3 pears [I used Conference] and leave in a little lemony water until you are ready.

2 - make the cake
  6 oz softened butter
  6 oz caster sugar
  ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  3 large beaten eggs
  6 oz SR flour
  pinch baking powder
  1 level teaspoon cinnamon
  1 level teaspoon mixed spice
  2 tablespoons calvados
  1 large pear, peeled and grated

Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, along with a teaspoon of flour with each addition. Fold in the flour and spices, then the grated pear and spirit.

Tip into your prepared tin and roughly level off. Dry your pear slices on some kitchen paper. Tip half of your crumble mix over the cake, followed by the thickly sliced pears, sprinkle the calvados, then the rest of the topping. Generously dredge with Demerara. 
See the photo on my Blog.

Pop this into your oven for about 55 mins to an hour. I turn the oven down to 180 after 30 mins. Cool in the tin for a few minutes. Just delicious.