Sunday, July 8, 2012

Winter Warmers

If you aren't in the Southern hemisphere it might be hard to picture that we are in the depths of Winter here in Australia. True, Australian winters aren't the harshest but we are creeping a little too close to 0 degrees C for my liking. Brrrrr!
One of the good things about Winter time are the delicious, warming meals I have been inspired to make. Soups, stews and roast dinners have been on the menu at our house.... the kind of food that warms you from the inside.
This season really brings out my British roots and has me visiting old family favourites and winter cooking traditions from my youth. With out fail Sundays were the day for visiting my Grandpa. A remarkable man, born at the start of the Great War he remained sharp and active until well into his 90's and cooked on his old coal-fired Aga for our whole family. He was a well traveled man and took his fist trip to India when he was just 19, selling his Norton motorbike at the docks for his boat travel. He often cooked curries and dahl, all with his own spin, but my all-time fave Sunday evening dish (teatime, as we call it in the North of England)  would have to be the Cornish Pasty.

The Cornish pasty was traditionally cooked by Cornish women for their husbands to eat whilst working in the  mines. They consist of chunks of beef and winter veg all cooked inside a shortcrust shell with a  crimped edge. Perfect for dirty, miners hands to hold onto and then throw away... I can only imagine how comforting a hot pasty would have been down a cramped, arsenic filled tin mine!

Well times have changed but the pasty is still a winner when it comes to comfort food and also makes a fantastic summer picnic food as they are equally delicious served cold.

I use this traditional recipe for the filling but use a flaky, rather than shortcrust pastry.

You will need:

  • 1 swede, (I didn't have any so used turnip) finely chopped
  • 1 potato potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 100g/3½oz rib-eye steak, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Puff or shortcrust pastry
Boil up the chopped swede and potato and cook for 4-5 minutes, until tender.
Pop a sheet of ready made filo pastry onto a floured surface and cut around a dinner plate to form a circle. For a mini pasty you can use a smaller plate.
Place the onions in a line down the middle of the pastry disc. Spoon the chopped steak on top, then spoon the cooked potato and swede over it. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I like my pasty pretty peppery for a yummy kick.
Brush the edge of the pastry disc with some beaten egg. Draw the edges of the pastry together and crimp them with your fingers to seal. Using a knife, make a small hole in the top of the pasty and brush all over with the remaining beaten egg.
Place the pasty onto a baking tray and bake in the oven at 180C/350F for 25-30 minutes, or until golden-brown.

X Steph