Cornish Pasties, St. Piran’s Day, Rick Stein & Padstow

Happy St. Piran’s Day, everyone! Today marks the national day of Cornwall! If you’re feeling a little rough around the edges after a weekend on the town, or out of town, we have just the thing for you from this most delightful of English counties. Cornish pasties are quintessential comfort food: a nourishing mixture of minced meat and vegetables encased in hot, buttery pastry. You can’t help but be filled with a new lease of life once you get one of these between ya chops.

Characterised by their distinctive ridged crust, Cornish pasties were the chosen lunch of miners, who would hold the pastry ridge with their dirty hands, and discard after eating.

This also allows us to introduce one of our Great British food heroes. Rick Stein is a seafood chef and familiar face on British television. Passionate and unpretentious, you can’t help but be reminded of a favorite uncle as you watch him put together the perfect fish supper.

Rick Stein with his loyal Jack Russell Chalky, who accompanied him on his travels. Sadly, Chalky passed away in 2007.

After traveling the world through his numerous TV shows, he set up shop in the quaint Cornish village of Padstow, where he had spent childhood holidays. This loyalty served him well, as he now owns a seafood restaurant, a fish and chip shop, a cookery school, a fishmongers, and a patisserie and the town has been dubbed “Padstein”! If you ever find yourself in Cornwall, it is well worth going out of your way to try one of his famous Cornish pasties.

The picture-perfect Padstow harbor

We found this great video of “Cornish Nan” demonstrating how to make an authentic Cornish pasty. We’ll publish our recipe for these delightful morsels on Thursday, but if you can’t wait until then, we’ll be more than happy to deliver you one for lunch, or dinner. The pastry and filling are all handmade, and the final product is utterly delicious – if we do say so ourselves! Find us on Seamless, or give us a call on 212-989-9735.

Piccallili!

A very sweet customer from Maryland got in touch to tell us how much she loved the blog and to enquire about purchasing our cookbook “Tea & Sympathy: A Tale of an English Teashop in New York”. She also asked about a good recipe for Piccalilli. After a bit of head-scratching, soul-searching and thumb-twiddling Matt in A Salt & Battery, our fish and chip shop, recommended this version from the extremely affable Rick Stein. We thought it hit the spot perfectly and was well worth sharing with you all.

Piccalilli is a traditional English relish made of pickled vegetables. Cauliflower and vegetable marrow always play a leading role, as do mustard powder (we recommend Colman’s) and turmeric, the delicacy of which, balanced with the robustness of the vinegar, creates the condiment’s distinct flavor. Serve with crusty bread and thickly cut ham for a simple but divine snack.

Piccalilli

Overnight preparation time
30 mins to 1 hour cooking time
Makes 12 x 450g/1lb jars

Ingredients

Preparation method

  1. Mix the salt with the boiling water. Leave to cool, divide between two large bowls and add the cauliflower and onions to one bowl and the runner beans, cucumber and courgettes to the other. Cover with a plate to keep the vegetables submerged and leave for 12-24 hours.
  2. Drain the vegetables and rinse them well, still keeping them separate.
  3. Put the sugar, garlic and 1.5 litres (2 pints 13fl oz) of vinegar into a large pan. Bring to the boil, add the cauliflower, onions, allspice and nutmeg and cook for just three minutes. Add the beans and the cucumber and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. The vegetables only want to be just cooked, with still a little crunch left in them. Lift out of the vinegar with a large spider or sieve into a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Mix the flour, mustard, turmeric and ginger powder with the rest of the vinegar and enough water to make a smooth paste. Add a little of the hot vinegar mixture, stir into the rest left in the pan and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir the sauce into the vegetables, spoon into warm sterilised jars and seal with vinegar proof lids.

In properly sterilized jars, this will keep for an age – with Hurricane Irene around the corner, stock up now; this well keep you well fed for months!

We stock two varieties of piccalilli in-store. Haywards for $8.95 and Heinz for $4.95 – we can ship and you can order via email: info@teaandsympathynewyork.com, or by phone: 212-989-9735. Keep it a secret but the former is far superior.

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