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!


  1. Welcome, Rhys! Great recipe and the book sounds like a wonderful read.

  2. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I am so looking forward to the new Lady Georgie book!!

  3. No, I can't be hungry--I just had breakfast! I've never been to Cornwall, but I'd love to explore the food. And the stone circles. This sounds delicious.

  4. I've never had a Cornish pasty but the recipe looks delicious so I will definitely have to give it a try. I'm also looking forward to reading the new Lady Georgie novel. Right after I read all the ones before it!

  5. I had Cornish pasty's once and loved them.
    This is a new to me series, thanks for the chance!

  6. This recipe sounds terrific! This is a wonderful series, thank you for a chance to win!

  7. I love this series, so much fun, and now a great recipe for Cornish Pastries too. Thanks so much. Would love to win a copy of the new book.

  8. The book would be greatly enjoyed and appreciated. The series is wonderful. Thanks for this yummy recipe. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  9. I was introduced to pasties late in life and have thoroughly fallen in love with them. Never tried to make my own. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it looks relatively simple.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  10. I enjoy the series which is captivating and special. Thanks for this great feature and giveaway and Cornwall is an intriguing and unique place. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  11. I'm always anxious to read your latest Lady Georgie book, and I'd be thrilled to win this copy! rebarger(at)bellsouth(dot)net

  12. Recipe sounds yummy. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book.

  13. Please enter me. I love to try new series.
    clarksrfun at gmail dot com

  14. My wife and I are huge fans of the series and we're the proud owners five of the books (only one in paperback) I'd love to add this latest title to our collection. I've saved the recipe to my Pinterest page to try later.

  15. A local church makes pasties and sells hundreds of them each week. It's their biggest fundraiser. They chunk their meat--so I think I'll make this recipe and compare.

  16. Welcome back to the Kitchen, Rhys! You are so right about the pleasure of eating foods from childhood, flavors and memories forever intertwined. The recipe for Cornish pasties looks delicious. Love the story about the coal miners and how they ate the pasties by holding the thick crust rim. (Having clean fingers, I'll be eating the crust too, thank you very much!) Cheers and happy congrats on the release of the new mystery in your fabulous Royal Spyness series! xoxo --Cleo

  17. That sounds much better than the cinnamon raisin bagel, plain that I'm having right now. I can almost smell it. And, I'd love to read your book. lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  18. this recipe reminds me of my mothers Pastie Pies

  19. Thanks for the recipe! I've never had a Pastie. Can't wait to read your new book. pennyt at hotmail dot com

  20. I have always wanted to try pasties. Love your books!!!

  21. That's such an interesting story about the crust on the pasties, and that the miners could not come out of the mine to wash their hands before their lunch (sad, though, too). My Grandmother's family were coal miners who emigrated to the U.S. from Wales, and I wonder if they had pasties too. I wish I could ask them ~

    1. Also, congratulations on your Tuesday book release - Yay! I can't wait to read your book and love the title!

  22. Sorry to say, I have yet to sample your books but this introduction to them and the recipe have given me that incentive to get on board.
    Looking forward to reading and trying your recipe. I have a large big portion if English heritage and should experiment with more Brittish recipes.
    Thank you for the chance to win your book.


  23. Oh yum! I think the first (and last) time I had a pasty was in the Iron Range in Minnesota years ago. The miners brought that tradition with them. I can't wait to read the latest Lady Georgie and Darcy adventure.

  24. loved the post. Love hand pies. Used to make them all the time when I was younger and on the go. I am looking forward to reading the series. They are on my TBR. Do hope this will be a start. Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

  25. Pasties are high where I come from, Michigan! Thanks for sharing.

  26. I love this series...and for pasties? Many of the Cornwall men came to the foothills in California to work in the mines, and in Grass Valley and Nevada City visitors can still enjoy the remnants their culture, food, and stories galore! There is a restaurant there that served the best meat pasties I'd ever tasted...

  27. Rhys, it is so good to see you here today.
    I very much enjoy and appreciate your books.

    The pasties sound very tasty. I imagine that if made with a light hand, the whole crust will be quite good to eat as well, since we aren't making them to survive traveling down into the mines.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net