Full disclosure: I cannot cook. I am here to tell you ladies, if you can’t have Ross Poldark (masterfully played by the ruggedly handsome Aidan Turner), get you a man who can cook! Without my husband, I could not have spent my summer taking my taste buds on a trip through 18th century Cornwall’s most popular dishes. Shepherd’s pie, anyone? How about pasties? Thanks to my handsome man, and The Unofficial Poldark Cookbook by Tricia Cohen and Larry Edwards, I tried them all so I could tell you all about it. You’re welcome!
My family loves a good pub. English, Irish or otherwise we aren’t picky. As long as the waiters have an accent and shepherd’s pie is on the menu, for an hour or two I can pretend I’m on vacation and waves are crashing on the Cornwall cliffs right outside the door.
My husband knows how much I love shepherd’s pie, and has made his own version for me on occasion, but he went on and made this one so I could do a proper review. He substituted turkey, as ground lamb proved difficult to find at our local store. This one came out a bit runny. Heavy on the butter, or something? I’m no expert. It was still very, very good. When we tried the dish, it was about 1,000,000 degrees outside, and fairly steamy inside what with it being the dead of summer and all that cooking in our kitchen. One would think I might not be in the mood for something so hearty, and one would be wrong. I will definitely be dropping hints for another go at this on a snowy day, but I had no issues chowing down in July either. This is a perfect meal to serve at a party if you need to satisfy a big group. Much like chili, you’ll have plenty to go around, plus leftovers.
Don’t @ me. I know there is a big debate about how you can only call them “Cornish” pasties if they are made in Cornwall. I have a feeling any tin minor in Ross’s time would have enjoyed these all the same wherever they were made. There is an even bigger debate about the correct way to make them, pinch them, what goes in them, and so forth. Whatever they are called, and wherever they are made, I never met one my mouth didn’t like. I’ll leave you all to duke it out in the comments section.
These pasties were the ultimate labor of love. My husband started working at 4:30 pm and we took our first bites at 9:30 pm right after I tucked our daughter in bed. Don’t worry there was plenty left for her to try the next day! There is definitely a technique to putting the right amount of filling on the perfect amount of dough and pinching the edges closed. I showed my husband this Facebook video from a pasty shop in our town called Pure Pasty Co. It shows the shop owner’s son perfecting the pasty pinching art like a champ, but we still need some practice. Ours came out about the size of my head. One would feed all of Wheal Leisure for a long work day. Whatever the size they tasted like my dreams, but in the future, I’ll probably pick some up from Pure Pasty and call it a day.
Orange Honey Chicken
I wish I had a picture of my face when my husband told me we were having orange and honey chicken for dinner. Wait…what? No thanks! But I’m glad I buttoned it up and gave this a try. The orange honey sauce was perfect on the chicken! It freaked me out at first to see some runny, OJ substance sloshing around on my plate, but it was SO GOOD. It wasn’t too tangy or too sweet, and I would eat this again and again. Plus it made a beautiful photo for my IG! This would make a nice family dinner or small get together option, and I bet it would be excellent with a side of this next selection!
Cider Vinegar and Honey Chicken with Cornwall Creamed Peas and Potatoes
As you can see, this was a particular favorite of my daughter! I am super sensitive to the smell of vinegar, so I thought I was going to hate this. Much like the orange and honey chicken, I was pleasantly surprised again.
Seriously though, the star of this show was those potatoes! When I hear potatoes are involved in a meal I am 95% certain I am going to be happy every time. Except for potato salad, which is what I worried this would be like. I don’t like cold potatoes. Potatoes are a comfort food, and you can’t cozy up to a cold potato. I need food that warms my soul from the inside out, and creamed peas and potatoes made my soul nice and toasty.
Poldark not your thing? They have these “unofficial” cookbooks for almost any fandom you can imagine! Sorry hubs, I plan to pick up the Downton Abby and Harry Potter editions very soon! If you could eat like a favorite character, who would it be?