Tuesday, 16 August 2016


Somehow these words don’t mix together in my mind! A pasty is full of beef skirt with lots of meat juices soaking down through the potato and turnip. But these days we all know someone who is a vegetarian and I have had to start one of my folders [I am a saddo] collecting good veggie dishes and recipes. Therefore I will occasionally post one or two.

So I thought it was about time I tried to make a decent veggie pasty, and over the last few weeks I started playing around with ingredients to make it taste half decent! [not completely decent of course]. Apologies to all veggies. It is all about building flavours that compliment each other, adding enough cheese and herbs to really make it as tasty as possible. Seasoning is important and I have used lovely Marigold Swiss Bouillon Powder as well as plenty of Sea Salt flakes and fresh ground pepper.

The pastry - this will make two small or one large, with some left over after trimming:

8 oz plain flour
1 oz butter
3 oz vegetable shortening - I used Cookeen
Sea Salt and lots of fresh ground Pepper
a teaspoon of finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
A little very cold water

Roughly rub the fats in the flour and seasoning, add the thyme then enough cold water to bind. Lightly kneed until just smooth and then chill for 20 mins or so.

For each large ish pasty: Pre heat your fan oven to 210C

1 small potato
1 small carrot
¼ small turnip [swede]
1 oz  sliced portobello mushrooms or similar
1 medium shallot
½ a leek
fresh chopped parsley 
level teaspoon dried mixed herbs
2 oz grated strong mature cheddar
dash Worcestershire sauce
Generous teaspoon of Bouillon Powder
Sea Salt and Pepper 
a small egg beaten, to dampen the edges and brush the top

Chip the potato thinly, ditto the turnip. Finely dice the carrot and chop the leek, shallot and parsley. Thinly slice the mushrooms. Grate the cheese. Place all of these and the mixed herbs, except the mushrooms in a poly bag or medium bowl and mix together, season well.

 Roll out your pastry into about a 10” round for a large pasty. Dampen the edges with some beaten egg. Place a rolling pin under the centre forming a D. Lay out the sliced mushrooms for the bottom layer then tip the contents of your bowl on the mushroom base, sprinkle over the bouillon and add a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Continue as you would for an ordinary pasty. Bring one half over the other to meet and crimp together. Brush with egg and place a small slit in the middle to let the steam out.

Pop your pasty into the hot oven for ten mins to nicely brown and seal the pastry then turn the oven down to 190C. After 45 mins I turn it down again to 180. Bake for about 1 hour in total. As I type this, the smell is wafting through from the kitchen and it is smelling heavenly!!! I note the juices are bubbling through the slit in the top! A good sign.

Cool on a rack for at least 20-30 mins before tucking in, allowing the flavours to merge and settle.

Confession time now - I loved it! It is very very tasty and I am very pleased with the wonderful combination of flavours. Even my husband, a great meat eater, thought it tasted ‘“alright”, then had seconds. I will be very pleased to serve this to any veggie and tuck in myself. No reason either, that you cannot make a pasty pie with the same ingredients. Can’t wait!

Not bad, I suppose, if you must leave out the most important ingredient!! I am so pleased I have persevered to make this.

Note: I was impressed with the pastry and will use Cookeen again.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Rum and Raisin Buttery Yeast Cake

When I first tried out this recipe, I could hardly believe how yummy it was. OH MY!! I love yeast cookery [have I mentioned that before??] and this is just the best. The egg content makes the dough very soft and brioche like. The kneading is not hard going either as the dough is fairly wet, although I made this in my mixer with a dough hook, then added the fruit and nuts afterwards. You all know I love ring tins, so thought I would continue my crusade to convert you all into using them more often. For this I used a silicone ring, bought on tinternet for £2.99 post free

Pre heat your fan oven to 190C and butter your tin of choice.

1½ teaspoons dried yeast
2 fl oz warmed milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
9 oz strong plain flour
3½ oz softened butter
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
about 3 oz plump juicy raisins
1 oz chopped almonds
2 tablespoons rum [or fruit juice, if you prefer]

Using a medium mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, along with the sugar and eggs. Add the flour and bring it all together, adding the softened butter a little at a time, lightly kneading until it is glossy and smooth. Add the fruit, rum and chopped almonds. Leave to rise for about 1 hour in a warm spot, covered.

Transfer onto your floured work surface and lightly knead to knock back, then put to rise again, [see note] covered, for about 30 mins or so until nicely risen, then bake in your pre heated oven for about 30 mins until golden.

Invert onto a cooling rack, then dust with a little icing sugar before eating while still warm, with a smattering of butter.  Just wonderful.

Note: Roll the dough into a long sausage shape after knocking back and curl it around for a ring tin.

Thursday, 4 August 2016


I just love this very unusual salad and along with some chicken or similar,  it just about completes a light meal. It is so delicious, a piece of cake to make with amazing flavours. I found it in a magazine decades ago and have been making it for years. 

For some strange reason you need old potatoes, not new. I have tried it with both and it is so much nicer with a variety like King Edwards.

2 lb floury potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked [with a little salt] for about 6-8 mins, depending on the size. I like slightly bigger dice. But watch them! Or they will start to disintegrate. When just barely cooked, remove from the heat, let them drain really well and place in a cold dish to stop them cooking any more. More pics on my Blog.

3-4 oz small broccoli florets, steamed for about 2 mins. Drain. Cool
1 large mango, diced [2 small]
6-8 spring onions chopped
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

The yummy dressing:

5 fl oz Natural Yogurt [small pot]
1 heaped tablespoon mango chutney
1 heaped teaspoon fresh root ginger, finely grated
2 heaped tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
1 level teaspoon ground coriander
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Place all your cooled, cold veggies in a large mixing bowl, season well. Combine the dressing ingredients and pour it over the veggies. Mix very carefully, so that everything is lightly coated, being very careful not to break up the potatoes and broccoli, then place in a serving bowl. Sprinkle over some more shopped coriander.  Chill for a bit before serving, but not essential.

Just absolutely delicious. Perfect for summer, with cold meats, on a picnic, Whatever. I can just eat it on its own.