Sunday, July 30, 2017

Rhys Bowen on the Secrets of Cornish Pasties #recipe #giveaway

LUCY BURDETTE: I'm so delighted to introduce my talented friend Rhys Bowen to MLK readers today! She writes two long-running historical mystery series, but is here today to talk about Cornish pasties and her newest Lady Georgie mystery, On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service. If you haven't started these books, you're in for a big treat. Welcome Rhys!

RHYS BOWENIt's funny how food means home to us, isn't it? When I go back to England the first thing I want is food from my childhood: fish and chips, bangers and mash, cream teas, a full English breakfast and..... Cornish pasties. 
Since we spend time in Cornwall every summer these days, staying with John's sister a Cornish pasty is my first taste of home after I arrive. 

Every year my visit to England is partly to do research for my upcoming Royal Spyness book. What a good excuse to visit pubs and bistros, farmers' markets and quaint cafes. But this year's book was rather different because it takes place in Italy, on Lake Maggiore. So my research last year was more concentrated on good wines, pasta, tiramisu, ripe plums and peaches and white asparagus. Such a hardship.
This summer, I'm happy to say, my research was back in England and I had my fill of Cornish pasties and clotted cream. Now heading for the gym to work it off!

One of my favorite parts about my time in Europe every year is visiting my sister in law in Cornwall. I love staying in the old manor house, slowing down to the rhythm of country life AND eating the wonderful food. Cornwall, for those of you who don't know, is the far Western and Southern tip of England, a Celtic-speaking land bathed in history and mystery. Rebecca, Jamaica Inn, Doc Martin... and clotted cream and pasties. Two of my favorite things in the world.

When I am there I eat cream teas with scones hot from the oven, home made strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream on top. So thick and golden you'd think it was butter (but it tastes much better).
And pasties! Yum. They were made for the miners going down the tin mines. They couldn't come up to eat their midday meal so they couldn't wash their hands. The rim of the pasty was designed to hold it and then throw away that part.

So I thought I'd share the recipe with you today. They are time consuming but so worth it.


Half a pound of good quality steak, sliced wafer thin
Carrots, turnip, potatoes all sliced very thinly
1 big onion chopped finely
small amount of beef bouillon
short crust pastry

Pre-heat oven to 425.
Make short crust pastry dough to your favorite recipe. Roll it out very thin and cut into circles about 8 inches diameter.
On one half place thin layer of potato, carrot, turnip, onion and then top with thin slices of meat. Sprinkle some bouillon over it, or use Better than Bouillon or even Marmite if you are British. If you are not, you won't have it in the house!
Fold dough in half to make a pasty shape.  Fold over, crimp and seal the edges.
Bake  on baking sheet at 425 about 40 minutes or until it turns golden.
(The steam of cooking vegetables keeps the meat moist)

This recipe was given to me by a Cornish woman! Others cut steak into cubes but I like mine this way.

Pasties these days can contain other ingredients, chicken, lamb, curry, potato leek but this is the original.
And the best pasties, after an extensive search, are to be found in Marazion, across from St. Michael's Mount. And this is a photo of one just before we devoured it.

The eleventh Royal Spyness mystery On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service, comes out on August 1. Rhys's touring schedule is on her website. She is offering one copy of the new book to a lucky commenter today!