Wednesday, April 17

British Invasion: Homemade Cornish Pasties & Favorite English Cookery Books

The dangers of outdoor food photo shoots -
The dangers of outdoor food photo shoots (Cornish pasty recipe here).

I'm not sure why, but for some reason my recipe for Jamie Oliver's Cornish Pasties with beef, onion, potatoes, and carrots that I shared with you last fall has been one of the most popular posts on Farmgirl Fare for at least the past six weeks. (You'll find the top ten posts of each week listed over in the left sidebar.) Maybe it's pasty season.

What I do know is that these classic British meat pies taste delicious and freeze beautifully. I made a double batch during the tail end (ha) of lambing season this year, and hopefully next year I'll remember to make some at the beginning of lambing season because they're the perfect thing to have on hand for quick and easy dinners or hot and hearty (and portable!) lunches.

I defrosted the frozen pasties at room temperature and then reheated them in my beloved little Oster convection toaster oven (which I often use several times a day), but you could probably go straight from freezer to oven. If you're in a hurry or at work, you can gently heat them in the microwave. They taste especially wonderful when served with brown mustard and cold beer.

Everybody loves Jamie Oliver's Traditional Cornish Pasties -
Everybody loves these traditional Cornish pasties, including Mr. Midnight.

This pasty recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver's Great Britain: 130 of My Favorite British Recipes, from Comfort Food to New Classics, which is a neat cookbook. I bookmarked several other recipes to try while spending a couple of hours leisurely reading through it.

I have a huge cookbook collection but rarely use most of them. So in keeping with my word for the year—SIMPLIFY—I've been slowly sorting through my cookbooks, most of which still haven't made the move from The Shack to the new house, and donating a bunch of them to the small local (35 miles away) library, much to the delight of the librarian. Jamie Oliver's Great Britain is staying here.

More British cookbooks (including three for under $1) that made the cut below. . .

Nigella's Big Chocolate Chip Cookies 2
Nigella's Big Chocolate Chip Cookies look and taste great (recipe here).

Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson is staying too. This is another whopping hardcover that's given me several hours of reading enjoyment. You'll find my rave review, along with two versions of Nigella's Big Chocolate Chip Cookies here.

I've also dusted off a few forgotten English favorites that aren't going anywhere except next to the bed (doesn't everybody read cookbooks in bed?) and into the kitchen. Because thousands of new cookbooks are published each year, many oldies but goodies can be found for a bargain. Used copies of the three titles below are currently available for less than a dollar apiece from amazon.

A Glorious Harvest: Robust Recipes from the Dairy, Pasture, Orchard, and Sea by Henrietta Green is a big, beautiful book full of gorgeous photos, charming watercolor illustrations (sheep!), and all kinds of delicious inspiration. I've had my copy for at least 18 years and will always think of it as the cookbook that first inspired me to start making my own crackers. Used copies starting at just one cent from amazon.

In Food from Green Places: Vegetarian Recipes from Garden & Countryside, author Rosamond Richardson gleaned information from old handwritten cookbooks, history, and folklore to create 150 modern recipes that celebrate the pleasures of cooking with freshly gathered food and the joy of living in the country. I have my eye on the Zucchini Parmigiana, Nettle Soup, and simple Blackberry Puree. Used copies starting at one cent from amazon.

Are you sensing a seasonal, freshly picked theme here? Tamasin Day-Lewis' Good Tempered Food: Recipes to Love, Leave, and Linger Over fits right in. I love Tamasin's chatty writing style, and when summer comes I'll be making her Smoky Aubergine (Eggplant) and White Bean Puree, Slow Roasted Tomato Tart, Piperade with Grilled Peppers, and Homemade Bloody Marys (maybe this will be the year I finally plant some horseradish in my kitchen garden). Used copies starting at 41 cents from amazon.

Okay, now I'm really hungry. So how about you—do you love English cookery books too? Any must have favorites? There's a little space available on my bookshelves these days. . .

More Mr. Midnight? Here.
More Farmgirl Fare recipes? Here.

©, happily surrounded by food and books.


  1. Susan, I love that you 'get it' - the Cornish Pasty is THE perfect portable snack, indeed. It was apparently invented for coal miners (or maybe tin miners if it's Cornwall) as a way of taking their lunch underground. Reportedly the traditional ones had meat in one half and fruit filling in the other. Isn't that clever? I am sure you could google so much more about the humble pasty but that's what we Brits are told and why would we question the folklore?! Yours look terrific by the way. Pasty shops are ubiquitous in the UK, one chain dominates. You should corner the market in Missouri before they find out!!

  2. Dan Lepard's "Short and Sweet" blew my socks off. The preview on Amazon doesn't do it justice.

  3. I missed seeing Mr. Midnight in the first picture first time around! Naughty kitty!
    I love seeing Jamie Oliver on the TV but haven't picked up any of his cookbooks yet. The Henrietta Green cookbook sounds like it would be right up my alley. :)

  4. Now wait a minute....did you say you make your own crackers??????? oh lordie, feeling demoralized here......

  5. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has a great collection of cookbooks. He's not the greatest chef, but I think he deserves a lot of the credit Jamie Oliver is getting in England for turning people on to growing their own food and eating right. He does wonderful "reality" series on BBC4 (unfortunately not available here) to help people get back in touch with what they eat. His philosophy on meat is a good one--he raises his own too!

  6. Cornish pasties in Cornwall are always made with swedes and never with carrot. But I understand they often have carrots stateside. The best in Cornwall (IMO) can be found at Philps pasty shops.

    Thanks for the reminder that pasties freeze well. Must try that next time I make em.


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

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