Although we live on the fringes of London, Ade is originally from the West Country. His childhood holidays were mostly spent by the coast in Devon and Cornwall, formative experiences which have left him with a lifelong adoration of… (trumpet fanfare)… The Pasty.
A pasty, for our non-British readers, is a baked pastry shell filled with meat and vegetables and traditionally associated with Cornwall. Although, as Ade took great pride in sharing with me when he first introduced me to his part of the world, ‘you can also get Devon pasties where the pastry is crimped along the top. A Cornish pasty is crimped along the side.’
And there you have it. Some men impress their women with fancy gifts, others with poetry. My husband wooed me with an earnest lecture about baked goods.
First documented in the 13th century and devoured by the upper classes and royalty throughout the Tudor period, the pasty became popular with the working classes, particular Cornish miners and farm workers, in the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s unique shape meant it could be carried easily and eaten without cutlery, and the pastry case ensured the contents would remain warm for hours.
I’ve been to Cornwall and I’ve eaten Cornish pasties. They’re fine. I don’t get as excited about them as Ade. In fact, I’d probably opt for fish and chips given the choice, but you know, they’re okay. (Cue a flood of furious emails from Truro.) However, in celebration of Ade’s west country heritage and to use up the last of the chard and potatoes from our allotment, I decided to make some veggie pasties.
Admittedly, I prefer my version. Possibly because there’s a cheese element and cheese makes everything more glorious, but also because, although I have been to Cornwall and eaten the real thing, I do, unfortunately, associate Cornish pasties with the limp variety that lurk in the chiller cabinets of service stations up and down the country and which are about as enticing as a packet of microwaved mulch.
These pasties are homegrown, home-baked and full of leafy loveliness.
Hope you like them!
CHARD AND POTATO PASTIES
Prep Time: 60 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes Serves: 2
For the pastry:
140g plain flour
pinch of salt
beaten egg for glazing
For the filling:
100g potatoes, pre-cooked and diced
80g cheese (I used strong Cheddar), grated
Knob of butter
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pan of water to the boil.
To make the pastry, place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and rub in the butter. Add a splash of water and mix to a soft dough. Knead lightly on a floured surface before wrapping in cling film and chilling in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Wash and chop the chard and add to the pan of boiling water. Cook for five minutes. Drain, run under the cold water tap and then squeeze out the excess liquid. Leave to cool.
Melt the butter in a small frying pan and add the onion and garlic. Fry for about 5 minutes until they’re lightly browned. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200c (180c fan).
Add the cooled chard and onions to a mixing bowl along with the grated cheese and the pre-cooked, diced potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Divide the pastry in half and roll out into rounds on a floured surface. Spoon the filling into the centre of each and dampen the edges with water. Bring the sides together over the filling and press together to seal. Brush with beaten egg and place on an oiled baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until golden.
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