Chicken and Leek Pasty Recipe

Pasties are the classic British portable lunch – much like calzoni in Italy – the most famous variety of which is almost certainly the Cornish pasty. They are eaten all over the UK and sold in every bakery from Land’s End to John o’Groats – the two points farthest from one another on our great island (876 miles). Considered Cornwall’s “national” dish and geographically protected – much like champagne – the pasty is thought to have been taken up outside of England’s western most county following the emigration of Cornish miners in the late nineteenth century, along with Rugby Union. As good as this spread of British culinary tradition to the diaspora is for receiving countries, I can’t help but feel the South Pacific countries have become a little too good at rugby.

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victoria-spongeVictoria sponge – the quintessential English teatime treat – is, according to tradition, a basic sandwich cake filled with either strawberry or raspberry jam and dusted liberally with icing sugar (though a little whipped cream might make an appearance). Delightful as tradition is, there’s nothing wrong with zesting proceedings up a little – literally. The addition of orange and lemon zest is a great way of achieving a very special flavour, without doing away with the lightness of the perfect sponge cake.

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It occurred to me this morning that a loving relationship hasn’t yet been fostered between soup and I this year. By and large soup is seen as something warming, hearty and intended for the colder months of the year. However, it should be remembered that one can make a delightful soup out of almost anything and that there are some rather extraordinary warm-weather recipes out there. The combination of pea and mint is one that has been explored here already this year and it is clear to see why. The peas and mint work wonderfully well together, with the former providing the first breath of taste – a flavour which reminds one instantly of an English walled garden – and the latter lingering on in order to tempt the next spoonful into one’s mouth. Indeed, two such beautifully fresh ingredients were made for such a dish.

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Before we enter the blog proper, I feel it is important to make a couple of excuses. Firstly, I’m sorry that there have been no new recipe posts in the past week or so, but what I shall call a ‘negative life event’ took place and I haven’t found the time. However, we shan’t go any further into that since I’m not, as you may know, much of a sharer – I simply don’t feel the need. Secondly, this was supposed to be a post regarding a certain rhubarb, strawberry and orange compote. Unfortunately, the fates took time to collude against any honourable intentions I may have held and the photographing of the intended dessert fell flat on its face. I’m extremely glad to be back and I hope to bring you news of my recipe for individual rhubarb and custard galettes as soon as possible.

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Since it’s coming to the end of the rhubarb season, I thought it best to give you lot a couple of recipes which include this fabulous vegetable. However, I’ve not always considered it fabulous; in my younger days it was looked upon, by me, as a most contemptible ingredient. To be fair, it is easy to see why, since rhubarb does have an inherently bitter component to its flavour; which is why it’s always cooked with sugar. Luckily, as I’ve grown older my tastes have come to love the tang which accompanies fresh, seasonal rhubarb. The less said about forced rhubarb, the better.

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