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  • Seasonal local food recipe No.139: A cake of swede and potato

    Posted on March 30th, 2012 charlotte No comments

    This week’s recipe is in honour of the Pastygate scandal that rocked Westminster this week. (The humble swede is a vital ingredient in a traditional Cornish pasty).

    It’s another Nigel Slater special from his book Tender. Also a good way to use some of the Camel CSA garlic in our standard veg boxes this week.

    He says: “The swede’s ability to sponge up liquid is shown to good effect when it is baked with butter and vegetable stock. When it is teamed up with potato and seasoned with garlic and a spot of mustard, it is as near to a main course as I feel you can safely get with this particular root.”

    Serves: four

    Preparation time: 20 minutes
    Cooking time: One hour 30 minutes

    potatoes – 500g
    swede – 500g
    garlic – 4 cloves
    butter – 85g
    Dijon mustard – 2 heaped teaspoons
    thyme leaves – a level teaspoon
    vegetable stock – 55ml

    Peel the potatoes, then cut them into very fine slices. A sharp knife is fine,but if you have a mandoline (the vegetable slicer, that is, not the lute-like stringed instrument), use that. Whatever, your slices should be almost thin enough to see through. Do the same with the swede, keeping the slices in cold water to prevent them browning.

    Set the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Over a moderate heat, melt the butter in a flameproof dish or sauté pan about 25cm in diameter. When it starts to bubble, turn down the heat and add the garlic. It needs to soften slightly without colouring – a matter of five minutes or so. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the mustard. Tip about two-thirds of the mustard and butter out of the pan and into a jug.

    Drain the potato and swede slices and pat them dry with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel. Put a third of the vegetables into the pan, layering them neatly or just chucking them in as the mood takes you, then drizzle them with some of the mustard butter in the jug. Season with the thyme leaves, pepper and salt. Be quite generous with the salt. Repeat this twice, so that all the slices of vegetable are layered with the thyme and the mustard and garlic butter. Now pour the stock over the top.

    Cover with a circle of greaseproof paper or kitchen foil, pressing it down well on top of the cake. Bake for about an hour and ten minutes, until tender to the point of a knife. Remove the foil, turn the heat up to 220°C/Gas 7 and bake for a further ten minutes until the top has coloured and crisped a little.

  • Seasonal local food recipe No 84: Cornish pasty

    Posted on February 25th, 2011 Trish No comments

    To celebrate the fact that the Cornish Pasty Association (CPA) has received Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for its world famous pasty, we thought you might like a traditional Cornish pasty recipe. The difficulty is finding the decisive recipe – there are as many variants as there are pebbles on the beach – but most people agree on the following:

    • use a good cut of beef – skirt is the best, chuck is an alternative
    • include swede (known as turnip in Cornwall), onion and potato but never carrot
    • whether the ingredients are diced or sliced is debatable, but they must go in raw
    • seasoning is restricted to salt and plenty of pepper
    • the pastry is traditionally shortcrust, made with lard (though a Cornish friend always makes rough puff pastry for hers)
    • add a knob of butter or a spoonful of cream for extra richness

    The recipe that follows uses grated frozen lard – which adds to the preparation time. Use your normal shortcrust pastry if you prefer.

    Serves 4

    Preparation: 1 hour +
    Cooking: 45-50 minutes

    for the pastry:
    350g block of lard
    450g strong plain flour
    pinch of salt
    ice cold water to mix

    for the filling:
    400g beef (skirt or chuck), trimmed and diced
    200g onion
    200g swede
    600g potatoes
    salt and pepper
    egg wash

    Put the lard in its wrapper in the freezer and leave for about an hour until hard. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Remove the lard from the freezer, peel back the paper, dip into the flour and grate it into the bowl, dipping back into the flour every now and again to make the grating easier. Mix the grated lard evenly into the flour by making sweeping scoops with a palette knife until it resembles heavy breadcrumbs. Stir in 1 tbsp of water at a time until the dough clings together, then form it into a ball. Place the dough in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Keeping separate piles, peel and coarsely chop the onion and peel and dice the swede and potatoes. Roll out the pastry and cut out four circles about the size of a small dinner plate. Sprinkle onion and swede across the centre of the pasty in an oval shape, leaving a 2cm border. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with the meat and then half the potato. Season again and then add the remainder of the potato.

    Moisen half the pastry border with a little water, bring up each side of the circle of pastry to enclose the filling, and press together to form a ridge. Crimp with your fingers (see note below).

    Grease a flat baking sheet and sprinkle with water. Transfer the pasties to the sheet, prick them in a few places on either side of the seam with a fork and paint all over with egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 150C/gas 2 and cook for a further 30-40 minutes.

    NOTE: How and where to crimp is another question. Some say the crimp should be on top, some on the side. My Cornish friend says she does the crimping on the side then turns the pasty over as she puts it on the baking sheet so that the crimp ends up on top. The CPA’s own recipe shows the crimp on the side.