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Minimal effort, maximum taste: the best packed lunch recipes

These exciting, delicious dishes are cheaper than chips… and healthier, too!
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Proper Cornish Pasty

Proper Cornish Pasty

80p each for real steak pasties? The perfect home-made treat!

The classic Cornish pasty: all butter shortcrust pastry packed full of beef & vegetables; now that’s a proper packed lunch!


I couldn’t have a blog on the best packed lunch recipes without including the humble Cornish pasty recipe. Pasties are the original portable meal — taken out to work by all manner of people who simply needed to eat on the job. But, as the Cornish Pasty Association tells us, “The wives of Cornish tin miners would lovingly prepare these all-in-one meals to provide sustenance for their spouses during their gruelling days down the dark, damp mines.” Luckily, my Hungry Hungry Husband doesn’t haven’t to work in a mine, but I thought that was quite a nice (if a little archaic!) summing up of what I’m doing nowadays.

The Cornish pasty definitely takes more time & effort than some of the other easier lunch recipes I do, but it is always worth it. The HHH can never resist the lure of the hot steak pasty, fresh out of the oven. And even less so when it’s made with flaky, buttery, home-made shortcrust pastry! I do prefer making my own pastry anyway (and knowing exactly what’s gone into it), but it does help to bring the total cost down, too.

I’ve tweaked it a little since, but the first time I made these, I followed a recipe for “Houseparty Steak Cornish Pasties” from Sam Stern’s Student Cookbook. Bought for me by my brother before I went to university, this was actually my very first recipe book! Although, truth be told, it still gets used fairly regularly now, so it must be a goodie. Thanks for the inspiration, Sam!

Click here for the full recipe.

Proper Cornish Pasty

Real Cornish pasties, packed full of steak & vegetables, for only 80p each. I couldn't have a blog on the best packed lunch recipes without including them. The perfect treat! **From The Hungry Hungry Husband & Sam Stern**
Course Lunch
Cuisine British
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 pasties
Calories 417kcal
Cost 80p each


  • 300 g shortcrust pastry home-made or ready-made
  • 300 g beef (beef skirt is traditional) cubed
  • 200 g potatoes, skins on cubed
  • 125 g swede cubed
  • 1 medium-sized onion (red or white) finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme dried or fresh
  • 3 teaspoons milk
  • 3 teaspoons water or gravy/beef stock if you have it


Make the filling:

  • Mix the beef, potatoes, swede & onions together in a bowl, then season with thyme and salt & pepper
  • Add water (or gravy/beef stock), stir up and set aside

Make the pasties:

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • Split the pastry into 6 equal pieces and, one at a time, roll each piece into a rough circle
  • Pile 1/6th of the filling in a line across the middle of each circle, making sure to leave a gap at either side
  • Use a little water to lightly dampen all the way round the edge
  • Pull the top & bottom up & over, so they meet in the middle above the filling, and press all the edges together
  • Fold that sealed edge over and pinch it firmly so it's sealed – or crimp it closed

Cook the pasties:

  • Transfer to the baking tray and brush them all over lightly with milk
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 mins
  • Reduxe the heat to 190°C and bake for a further 15–20 mins until golden brown
  • Take them out and leave to cool on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container


*tips for freezing* you can freeze the uncooked pasties whole until you need them – sealed in a freezer bag – and then cook from frozen:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Put the frozen pasty on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 40–50 mins
Just be aware that they won't go as golden this way because you're not brushing them milk first.
*hot option* you could pop the pasties in the microwave for a few minutes, but the pastry will go soggy – best reheated in the oven for 10–15 mins at 160°C if possible, otherwise they're just as delicious cold.

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