When Foodies South West made Cornish pasties for the first time – with help from Paul Hollywood
To mark the opening of entries to the World Pasty Championships, a tale about my own first foray into the world of Cornish pasty-making.
You may have seen the picture below on the Foodies Facebook page as I was rather proud of them as a first effort.
Their genesis involved no blood, a lot of sweat and toil, almost some tears – and a lot of swearing.
You see, I decided to make the Cornish pasties on the best day possible to do experimental cooking…Christmas Eve!
Ok, they weren’t Cornish, as I made them in a south London kitchen, but they were Cornish in spirit and recipe. Sort of.
My girlfriend pulled a face when I mentioned making them using lard. This is why she is svelte and gorgeous and I am a bit of a bloated. I relented and used a Paul Hollywood recipe that included vegetable fat.
Right about now, Cornish readers are probably screaming at me. Sorry.
But it was a good recipe, and one that helped me solve, I think, my pastry issues.
You see recently I have been trying to make my own short crust pastry, with mixed results. It always tasted good but didn’t always look good!
But by carefully following Paul Hollywood’s recipe I realised that the problem was a lack of kneading. I kneaded my pasty pastry and kneaded it some more.
The result was an excellent, string and stretchy pastry that made five enormous pasties containing the true ingredients: potato, onion, turnips, beef (chuck steak – couldn’t get any skirt), and a sh*tload of black pepper.
I learned the hard way the importance of crimping – two of my pasties ended up soggy because of leaked juice, one of them to the point of disintegration.
But the main issue as I toiled that Christmas Eve afternoon, as my girlfriend did her nails, was cooking them. I was at my girlfriend’s flat and she, I hope she doesn’t mind me saying, had the worst oven in the entire world. It is slow to heat up and slow to cook.
To cut a long story short, we missed our first train. The eggwashed pasties took an hour to cook in the oven, which is where the swearing came in.
But the pay off was a boggy. They tasted ace. I took them as a party treat to a party we went to that night and they were, as they say in the theatre, a triumph.
They tasted exactly like a proper gory should. proper job!
My dad was bloody annoyed we didn’t come home with any.
It’s amazing to think that I lived in the south west for so long and never tried to make pasties. But there are a lot of things I regret not doing while there: visiting St Michael’s Mount, Exmoor and Lyme Regis, learning to surf, joining a lifeboat crew when I was asked.
This is at least one thing I can put right.
I may not be able to enter the World Pasty Championships as I doubt the pasties would survive in the post. But I will win my own championship every time I make them.