Inexplicit recipes give me the hives

 You know – those recipes that call for a dash of this and a pinch of that.  Acck!!  I need measurements, people!!  The recipe I am going to share today is one of those recipes though.  Hmmm … that’s interesting 🙂  Actually it is the recipe that I used to ease myself into not completely freaking out over vague recipes.  Don’t get me wrong – I prefer a well detailed recipe over a generalized one any day, but I have at least learned that I do not need to run screaming away from them.  If this one is any indication, I may actually be semi-decent at this cooking guessing game.

My father-in-law is British and my husband spent a bit of his growing up years in England with his family.  So some of the things he asks for me to cook are, well, a little strange to me.  Steak and kidney pie anyone?  Apparently the kidney is truly kidney and not lovely kidney beans as I had allowed myself to believe.  One of the British dishes that I can get onboard with are “Cornish Pastries”.  They are comfort food at it’s best and while making them requires a bit of work, they freeze really well and are perfect for lunches or for those days that you just do not want to cook.  I even took pictures – which I have to admit I would rather eat the food I cook than take pictures of it, so my food photography skills leave a little to be desired.  If you want gorgeous food pictures, check out Smitten Kitchen’s blog on the right of this screen.  Gorgeous.  Mine, well, they are functional, shall we say?  Also, I was so keen on sharing this recipe as it helps with cooking anxiety, I never thought about the fact that Cornish Pastries are not an overly exciting looking dish.  Oh well … trust that it is one of those dishes that tastes about 100 times better than it looks.  Well, enough rambling from me … let’s get cooking!!

Cornish Pastries

Dutch ovens filled with yummy turnip and potatoes

Peel and chunk up an equal portion of turnip (rutabaga if you want to be technical) and potatoes.  Bring to a boil (each in their own pot) and cook until fork tender.  Drain and mash.  Brown ground beef, along with an onion.  Now, here is where this recipe gets a little heeby-jeeby for me.  I would say that the ratio I use is this:  2 parts turnip to 2 parts potato to 1 part browned beef (with as much onion as you wish in it).  In real terms – when I made these last week, I cooked a dutch oven half full of potatoes and again of turnip (see picture above) and used one pound of ground beef and two small onions, diced.  Stir the mashed potato, mashed turnip and browned beef together until well mixed.

At this point, stop and give Baby Caleb a bowl full of the mixture, as he has been yelling and banging on your leg with an empty bowl and fork. Also give in to his whim to eat on the floor. Hey, it’s not as far for him to spill the food!!


Now if you are making a small amount, or have lots of room in your grocery budget, the easy and not-so-cheap way is to use puff pastry.  This makes a very nice Cornish pastry, however, one time that I made Cornish, I stopped after I had purchased $30 worth of puff pastry.  Yes, I honestly believe in going big or bust when it comes to making these things!!  I just made these this past Wednesday and Friday.  I cooked my turnip/potato/browned beef mixture, made one batch of pastry and assembled about 12 decent sized Cornish Wednesday night.  I then covered my turnip/potato/browned beef mixture, put it in the fridge and made two more batches of dough on Friday and finished them.  I now have about 35 large Cornish and 10 baby Cornish (for Masters Terence and Caleb) in my freezer.  We also had them for supper both nights.

So, back to the pastry discussion.  After plunking down $30, I vowed that I would have to find a more economical way to do this, as the rest of the Cornish is a very frugal meal.  So, my mother recommended a pastry recipe that she used to use for a similar pastry meal.  It makes a great, frugal alternative to store-bought puff pastry.  Here it is, with my tweaks:

  1. 4 c. flour
  2. 3 Tbsp. baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp. salt
  4. 3/4 c. shortening
  5. 1  1/4 to 1  1/2 c. milk

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in shortening, to flour mixture, until shortening is all incorporated.  Add one cup of milk, combining well.  Continue to add small amounts of milk and combining, just until you can handle the dough.  If your dough is too sticky, add a bit of flour.  Turn dough onto floured surface.  Lightly knead in any excess flour.  Roll out thin (about 1/8″ to 1/4″ inch thick).  Using a round template (I used a cereal bowl for our Cornish and a dessert bowl for the boys’ Cornish) cut out circles of dough.

Note:  If you are using store-bought puff pastry, cut squares of dough.  Your finished product will be a triangle instead of a half circle.  You will have less waste of pastry, this way.

Please use this photo solely as an instructional aid, and not as a “Ohmygoodness, I need to make these” photo.

Place some of the turnip/potato/browned beef mixture on one half of the circle of dough, in about 1/2″ from the edge (see above photo for guidance).

I promise, I have four fingers and a thumb on my right hand. Not just a solitary finger as this picture would lead you to believe.

Fold the dough over the turnip mixture and seal edges well.  Use a fork to press a decorative edge over the sealed portion.

M’mmm … some gravy and a fork, please!

Bake at 450 for 12 – 15 minutes, until lightly browned.  Serve with brown gravy on top, or cool and freeze.  After freezing Cornish, first thaw them and then reheat in the microwave or in the oven at 350, until the center of the mixture is hot.  Enjoy!

And in case you are like me, and can’t get enough of pudgy little baby fingers and round baby cheeks, here is another picture of Caleb for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome!


10 thoughts on “Inexplicit recipes give me the hives

  1. the cornish turned out great – however due to personal preference because I love turnip, you can always put more turnip in then potato to give it a sweeter taste.

    the homemade pastry is much better than the store bought version too.

    love you lots!

    • lol – I can see it now … Theresa sneaking turnips in the house in her purse … waiting until Ross is outside raking leaves and then rapidly getting the turnip peeled and cooked. He’ll never know what hit him!! 🙂

  2. I really should come by sometime for a cooking lesson… These sound amazing! I’m going to attempt them this weekend I think. 🙂

  3. These sound wonderful. I think I would really enjoy them, especially with gravy lol. I too would have to sneak the turnip in. Hubby is NOT going to willingly try that one.
    I wish I had good eaters in this house like you do!
    I wonder what your mom’s pastery would be like with other ing. in them,, to accomidate my bunch.
    Do you think it would make good pizza/donair pockets? Or what about shepard’s pie ing.?

    • The turnip is not an overpowering flavor – maybe your Hubby would eat them and not know??? I know I am truly blessed to have such good eaters!! 🙂 I don’t think the crust would make a great pizza pocket, but I do have a pizza pocket recipe that is awesome – it’s on my menu this week, if you’d like, I can post the recipe. The dough for those is more elasticy because the ingredients are runnier. Plus it has yummy seasonings in the dough that makes them extra good 🙂 I think this dough recipe would be great for shepherd’s pie ingredients. Let me know how they turn out!

      • I actually made it up as pizza pockets for lunch today! lol. Three of us ate them right up. There is always the one around here who choses something different… he had grilled cheese :O
        We actually loved them, the pastry was really nice, kinda biscuit-ish. Hubby loved them 🙂 So, that at least introduced the dough to him… I mentioned what was supposed to be in them. He just gave me a doubtful look. I asked if he would thy them sometime, and really didnt get a response. He suggested Ham and Cheese would be good in them. Sigh… lol.
        I also think I may try alfredo sauce, bacon,and chicken breast. Mmmmm.
        I would personally love them the way you make them, and would love to try that. Also shepards pie or chicken pie..yum yum.
        I would also love to try your pizza pocket dough!! I usually just use my regular pizza dough. Love to try new things 🙂

        • That’s good to know the the pastry was good for pizza pockets too!! 🙂 lol – I still think you should sneak in the cornish and see what R thinks of them!! Bacon, alfredo and chicken breast sounds yummy!! I will post the pizza pocket recipe soon … you’ll love them – they are yummy!

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