Apparently we take requests now. But I’m limiting it to people who are getting married in the next week. Oh, who am I kidding, you want it, I’ll bake it!

Kevin is a colleague. He’s English. Apparently he’s found it impossible to get an authentic Cornish pasty in Australia: carrots and peas are big no-nos evidently – I wouldn’t know, I’ve never eaten a pasty, Cornish or otherwise. He attempted to make them himself. He failed.

I would have thought this was the perfect pre-marriage test: can the missus-to-be make a pasty? Instead, he asked me. I held it over his head for a while – I’ll make you pasties if you do this, I won’t make you pasties if you do that, and so on and so forth. It had little effect. Swearing was more effective. But, with the clock ticking down to his wedding, I finally agreed to make them.

Picture this if you will: me, in my PJs, frantically making Cornish-bloody-pasties at 10 o’clock at night in order to get them to him before he disappears to Adelaide for his nuptials. Actually, scrap the PJ image, you don’t need to see that.

The pastry: no store bought sheets for me – these are going to be the real deal. And pastry’s easy as anyway.

1 heaped cup of plain flour
100g cold butter
pinch of salt
dash of cold water

Put flour, cold butter and salt into a food processor and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add water a little at a time and pulse until the dough comes together. Don’t overmix, just until it starts to clump. Squash into a ball, wrap in Gladwrap and refrigerate for at least 30 mins. It’s really important that the butter and water are cold – I don’t know why, it just is.

When the dough is rested, roll out fairly thin, and cut into circles (I used a noodle bowl) – you should get 6 circles from this amount of pastry. Don’t knead the dough or overwork it, as that will make it tough, just roll and cut.

A beautiful round of homemade pastry

The pasty (not to be confused with the pastry)

Pasties are seriously simple pies. They have meat, onion, potato and swede or turnip in them.You can stick other stuff in them if you want, but then they won’t be Cornish, and all of the Englishmen of your acquaintance will complain.

I don’t know if it’s just Kiwi’s who eat swede, or just poor people, but no-one I spoke to here had ever eaten swede. We used to eat it all the time when I was little. I had a penchant for eating it raw when Mum was making dinner – she thought I was weird. I also ate frozen bread, so perhaps she was right. I did test it last night, eating some of the leftovers (before it had been touching the meat!) – it was pretty good. Perhaps I am just weird. Next time I have some white bread in the freezer I’ll test if I still like that too.

Swede and potato. I've never actually seen a swede so small - I remember them being coconut size. Maybe I was just smaller then...

Anyway, back to the pasty. This recipe came from one of my NZ cooking heroes, Allyson Gofton. Her husband is English, so she’s been schooled in what’s a real pasty and what is not.

200g rump or blade steak, finely diced
100g potato, finely diced
100g swede or turnip, finely diced
1/2 brown onion, finely diced
salt and LOTS of black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten

Do you get the theme of finely dicing the ingredients? That’s so they cook down and go all mushy rather than being big ol’ chunks of spud and swede.

Hopefully diced finely enough

So, while your pastry is resting, chop everything up and put in a bowl, stick in tonnes of pepper and a little bit of salt, and mix it all together with your hands. Then put it in the fridge until your pastry is ready.

It doesn't look like much. I've been assured that magic will happen in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Put a few spoonfuls of the mixture in the middle of each pastry round, and brush the edges with water. Pinch the edges closed.

Place the pasties on a baking paper lined tray, and then brush with the beaten egg.

Looking good

Bake for 30-40 mins until the pastry is golden brown.

Mine v. The cookbook's - not too shoddy for a first attempt

These can be eaten hot or cold, but should always be eaten with tomato sauce (that’s a Kiwi addition, not a Cornish one – can’t let these Englishmen have it all their own way!).



Disclaimer: I didn’t try these. I’m waiting on feedback from the hungry mob. They smelt damn good though. All that buttery goodness permeating my flat…

Edit: We have a happy camper!

The man himself, enjoying an "authentic tasting" Cornish pasty