.: pastie :.
... so my Mum, a native of Cornwall (in England, sheesh, even basic geography escapes you?) one weekend took her middle child [me, the other two could not be arsed] aside and layed a family recipe at his feet ... THE CORNISH PASTIE ... and she supervised as I made my first batch - been making them ever since... now to the uninitiated, a "pastie" such as you might buy from a shop is little more than a mutant sausage roll with a vegetable crisis, but let me tell you they are NOTHING like the real thing ... intrigued? read on
... for 4 people, take 3 large potatoes, peel them, then, holding one end of the spud, working round and round, pare off small thin FLAKES of potato into a bowl, continue until there is no potato left, then repeat with the next spud - this is VERY IMPORTANT as cubing or other slicing will not let the potato cook properly, nor will the potato take up the simple flavours it is cooked with. While doing other prep, leave the potato flakes to soak in water [it helps get rid of some of the starch as well, and the starch can cause indigestion, is needless calories also]...purists would have flaked a swede or turnip with the potato as well [but my kids hate it, so i leave it out].
... Take 300gm of beef strips [like the ones you can buy in stupormarkets for stirfry - it is topside for those of you who are not butcher virgins, do not waste good quality steak on this, cheap cuts, cooked slowly are superior in flavour also]... and cube it finely - DO NOT MINCE, the meat needs to be in little pieces...place in a mixing bowl... purists would also add 100gm of finely diced kidney to this mix also [but my kids and I dislike offal, so I leave it out and do not tell Mum].
...add to the meat bowl a large finely chopped onion and about 1/3 cup of finely chopped parsley... mix this and set aside while you prep the pastry.
... in a large bowl, add 1/2 cup of oat bran [my Mum would be horrified, but it adds a nutty crunch to the pastry and is really good for your bowels] and 1 cup of self-raising flour for each person [that is 4, right? keeping up I hope] plus an extra 1/2 cup of plain flour, punch of salt and a good grind of pepper [I use a black pepper mill as i like the little black specks]... add 2 decent knobs of soft butter [purists would use LARD, or more correctly beef dripping, but that is pure cholesterol, although it does impart a wonderful flavour] or if nothing else is available, margarine [it contains too much water and will make the pastry harder than it should be] and using a buttering knife, cut the fat into the flour until no visible lumps exist... now add COLD water and, while mixing with the buttering knife, combine into a stiff dough ... DO NOT kneed too much, the observant amongst you will notice this is a lot like a scone dough, and benefits from as little handling as possible.
... divide the dough into 4, then on a well floured surface, roll out each into a thin large round [having lots of bench space helps here, as I set out all 4 rounds before going further] ... turn on the oven to 180 degrees C, fan forced if you have it, then get a baking tray and put a piece of silicon baking paper on it.
... now you are ready for the construction... drain the potato thoroughly, divide it evenly between the 4 rounds, mounding it on one side of the round, then top with the meat mixture, again evenly distributed ... season WELL - it takes quite a sprinkle of salt and a good grind of pepper, then using your hands, mix it a little on the pastry round so the ingredients sort of combine a little... using WATER and a pastry brush, moisten around the half round that is filled and fold the other half of the round over, trim and crimp [i do not know how to describe how to do the pastie pastry crimp, suffice to say it is an art that needs practise, suffice to say also that when done well, it looks lovely, suffice also to say that I do it to perfection] ... as each round is sealed and crimped, carefully pick it up [again, an art I am afraid] and place it on the tray - the pasties should sit crimping up, side by side and can touch each other ... repeat until you have a tray of pasties ... using the same pastry brush and WATER, brush each pastie until they are wet all over, using a sharp knife cut a few steam holes in the top, near the crimped seam [if you do not do this, they will explode messily and not cook properly].
... place in the middle of a pre-heated oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, rotating the tray mid way though the cooking process to ensure they brown evenly... rest for 5 minutes before breaking in half on a dinner plate... eat [der] ... these pasties are the real mcoy - Great Grandmother Higmans recipe apparently [mums mum taught her] ... yum, is what I made for dinner tonite, and they are currently filling the house with warming, delicious smells as they cook ... mmmmm.
... cornish miners and fishermen would take these little beauties to work as their lunch/dinner ... bona-fide variations include having savoury one end and apple and clotted cornish cream the other [sounds disgusting to me, but apparently a prized concoction] ...sorta meat with 3 veg and desert in one container.
Strippers of old used to stop themselves from getting arrested for indecent exposure by remaining in a "g" string and covering their nipples with small decorative items that were spirit-gummed on [in much the same way that false eyelashes or a fake moustache is affixed] - the small decorative items are called pasties ... occasionally [so I have been told] pasties contained tassels - small dangly tufts of silk and other fibres, and a stripper was highly prized if, during her dance, she could make the tassels twirl in opposite directions ... just thought I would share that with you.
... I have been feeling rather poorly of late, and was told I looked gaunt and pastey - pale and unwell ... I am finding most things hard work atm, working hard at bouncing back from my recent illness [and struggling with the whole notion that I am not 100% better already] ... taking it slowly I guess is my only option, resting is theraputic ... thanks to all who have expressed concern ... long weekend = sleepins, yay!
petonic (adj.) One who is too embarrassed to undress in front of a household pet or indoor plants.
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