Month: December 2014

2014 summary…..still learning

I just want to sum up some of the highlights of 2014. Sometimes it is easy to only focus on the things I haven’t managed to do yet, but if I look at what I have actually done then I think “WOW!” and hope I can not just motivate myself but others too.

I managed to attend around 8 Bike Rallies and had mainly good weather, the last one being the most eventful when my boots laced themselves together and I went flying onto my nose. Had first hand experience of the new hospital set-up at Southmead, and after a 3 hour wait had brilliant treatment. Result one glued up hooter and now hardly any scarring. I have been using bio-oil and it is really good. Planning on making it to the local rallies again next year and looking forward to seeing all the usual suspects after the winter break.

Two trips to Lundy this year to see little sister. March was a day delay in getting there and December both myself and Mr.M have been permanently sickly with a cold that won’t go away. Was still brilliant to get there and away from the mainland for a bit. So four helicopter flights which I love. It is one of the best ways to travel.

We had 3 successful hatches of chicks and think we have 6 girls versus 5 boys atm. Two are going in the pot very soon, but the 3 Poland bantam cockerels will be allowed to stay if they behave themselves.Next year we hope to get some peafowl eggs to hatch.

Gigs and events

We went to the motoGP at Silverstone for the first time and that was amazing! The roar of the crowd when Rossi goes past is incredible. Makes watching it on tv even better once you have seen it live.

Back in June we saw The Pixies at The Eden Project which was very exciting too. I love Eden at night when all the domes are lit up. We managed a couple of night in Boddinick and explored Fowey and a little of Du Maurier country. We also managed to see Rob Newman in Bath and Sean Hughes in Corsham. Got a quick chat and signed books from both of them. Saw Dame Edna and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue both in Bristol, Tom Rob Smith and Count Arthur Strong at the Bath Literary Festival and Andrew Lawrence at the Komedia.

Competitions

This year I have had a great comping time. Wins total over £7k and some of my friends are catching the bug. I have also met some like minded compers who live locally. The highlight of the year was cooking with Jamie Oliver, followed a couple of weeks later by cooking with Omar Allibhoy.

Shar & Jamie omar

I am going to persevere with more effort and recipe competitions in 2015 and will be sure to let you know if I win any. My motivation for the competitions is the money can’t buy experiences. It does take a lot of time and is not for everyone but I love the excitement and fun.

I also want to spend more time with this blog, now I am slowly getting my head around it. I am still finding my way around but hope to go self hosted next year and post more often, the next aim being twice a month. This is very much work in progress!

The lovely Mr.M gave me the best Christmas present ever! For those of you who haven’t seen him yet, meet Clive. My restored 1979 mini 1000 and I wish you all a wonderful and prosperous 2015 xxx

clive

Be lucky, be safe and above all be happy!

Cornish Pasties Masterclass ….. proper job!

At the request of Mr M. this post is to teach you how to make an authentic Cornish pasty. This is how the Cornish still do it today and although pasties can be made in many ways, this is the one you can confidently call a Cornish Pasty.

I will start with the pastry:

You can use short crust or puff pastry. The easiest is frozen, shop bought puff pastry. I can get 4 pasties from one block, but you can split it into 3 or 2 if you prefer.

Flour the worktop, cut the block into 4 and roll out each section into an elongated diamond shape. I start with a square and then when it is wide enough (between 6 and 8 inches) start rolling one way to get the shape around 10 inches long.

Filling:

Beef Skirt  You can get this from any butchers. You need skirt as it has the fat marbled through the meat and this is what makes your pasty juicy. If you can only get lean meat then you need to add some blobs of butter to help keep it moist. Do not precook the meat. Cut it into smallish chunks.

Onion 

Swede The Cornish seem to call everything that is not a potato TURNIP. The veg for a proper pasty is a swede.

Potato The onion, swede and potato all need to be cut into small pieces but do not dice them. They should be small slices or chips of vegetable, as shown in the photo.

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Salt and Pepper add to taste just before you seal up the pasties.

 

To assemble the pasty add meat first and then some of each of the veg to the centre on the pastry.The main trick here is not to over fill the pasty! Add seasoning then fold over and seal the edge. This does not have to be pretty, just press the pastry together to from a good seal. If you have managed to do all this without any little rips in the top of the pastry then make a small slit with a knife to let a little steam escape when cooking. If you have a rip or two then there is no need for this.

Place on to a baking sheet and glaze if you like with milk and bake for around an hour (or up to 90 mins) in the oven at Gas mark 4 (180 c/ 350 f)

 

I have deliberately not given any quantities for this recipe as it really doesn’t matter. You use what you have got, in whatever ratio you like. If you have any meat leftover then you can use it up in a stew or freeze for the next pasties.

 

Just remember to keep it Cornish, never precook the meat. Stick to beef skirt, swede, potato and onion and never commit the sin of adding carrots.

 

Variations: Just don’t call them Cornish!

Once you have made these you can add or change the ingredients…

Try swapping the meat for a tasty cheddar cheese.

Crumble some Stilton cheese into the filling for a beef and stilton pasty.

I like to leave out the potato altogether as I love swede.