When  I was a kid, the summer holidays lasted almost three months. That is a really long time to keep children entertained. Mum became a devotee of summer holiday programmes run by the YMCA and the YWCA. Sometimes it was a week long camping trip on beautiful Kangeroo Island.  The summer that I was 12, Mum decided to send me to cooking classes run by the YWCA.

So, every afternoon for two weeks, I trundled off to cooking classes. I don’t remember much about the classes and, if Mum hoped I was going to start cooking at home, she must have been sadly disappointed. But I did learn to make a version of a pasty which I still make today.

Far from traditional, I suspect this recipe would get me barred from Cornwall but I think it is much more interesting than a regular pasty and is a brilliant way to get kids to eat lots of vegetables.   I find that the turnip, parsnip and swede add a sweetness to the vegetable mix which is so much more enjoyable than the traditional recipe. Depending upon the size of pasty you decide to make, this quantity should make six or seven large pasties.  Serve with spicy tomato sauce.

Sam’s YWCA pasties


250g minced beef

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1  tsp light soy sauce

2 large potatoes

2 medium onions

2 medium carrots

1 small turnip

1 small swede

2 medium parsnips

Chopped parsley

Salt & pepper

Shortcrust pastry

1 egg, well beaten


  1. Brown off the minced meat in a little olive oil. Once it is almost browned, stir through the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce & soy sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes.  When fully cooked, drain off any liquid and set the meat aside to cool completely.
  2. If you have a food processor, this is the time to get it earning it’s place in the cupboard. Using the grating function, grate the potatoes, onions, carrots, turnip, swede and parsnips.  If you do not have a food processor, you can grate all the veggies by hand.  I have done this many times and it is bloody exhausting !
  3. Once all the veg is grated, make sure it is all mixed well together.
  4. Stir through the beef, add a pinch of salt, lots of lovely freshly cracked black pepper and some finely chopped parsley.  Now the fun can begin !
  5. Roll out your pastry until it is about the thickness of a pound coin.  Or, do as I often do, and heat with ready made pastry.
  6. Because I am generally quite lazy about these sort of things, I cut a ready rolled sheet of pastry into 3 pieces but do whatever you want.
  7. Spread the filling down the centre of each piece of pastry, brush the edges with beaten egg and seal.
  8. Place the pasties on baking tray lined with greaseproof pastry.
  9. Heat the oven to 180 degrees (160 fan).  Brush with tops of the pasties with beaten egg and prick each one 2-3 times with a fork to let the steam out.
  10. Cook for 30 mins or until the pastry is golden brown.

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