Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hind’s Bakery on the esplanade at Tin Can Bay, way back when I was a small child, made the best meat pies I’ve ever tasted. Full of delicious meat and sauce encased in golden, flaky pastry, they were a’ must’ during our visits to Tin Can Bay.

Running a close second, if not nose to nose, were the pies from Webster’s, a small store operated by two sisters at the bottom of the hill, which is the junction of Lawrence and Mary Streets in Gympie.

To this day, I’ve never tasted pasties anywhere as good as those bought from Webster’s.

Condie’s and Harry’s were the two local bakeries in town at that time. The pasties came from Harry’s. Over the years, I’ve searched bakeries high and low to reproduce the taste of those marvellous pasties, but to no avail. I continue to be disappointed. I’ve tried so many different pasties from so many shops in as many areas. Not once have they matched those from Webster’s Corner Store. This is the closest to the original I can get.


2 cups flour

1/2 cup shortening

1/4 cup lard

1/4 cup scraped suet



1 1/4 lbs coarsely ground beef (lamb can be used, very finely diced)

4 medium potatoes, diced

1 large onion, chopped

1/4 cup Swede turnip, diced

1 English turnip, diced

1 carrot, diced

salt and pepper

Put the flour in a bowl and cut in the shortening, lard, and suet. Add just enough water to make a soft dough. Divide the dough into four parts and roll out each piece into a circle about the size of a dinner plate.

Crumble the meat into a bowl and stir in the potatoes, onion, Swede turnip, turnip and carrot.

Divide the mixture into four parts, putting some on one side of each piece of dough. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Fold the pastry over the filling to make half-moon shaped pies. Seal the edges and cut a couple of small slits on the top.

Bake on a baking tray at 200C for 30 to 35 minutes, then reduce heat to 180C and bake 15 more minutes.

Here’s another pastry that maybe a little simpler for the pasties.

4 cups self-raising flour

1 teaspoon Salt

1 1/2 cups Shortening

1/2 cup Ice Water

1 Egg – beaten

Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl; cut in shortening. Rub together with your fingertips until the mixture forms pea-sized crumbs. Sprinkle with water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing lightly with a fork after each addition, until dough forms a ball. DO NOT OVERMIX. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; set aside in refrigerator 30 minutes to rest.

The magic ingredient for great tasting pasties is the inclusion of Swede turnip to the filling. To my taste and mind, pasties never taste as good without it.

So often I become nostalgic thinking about food, wishing and wanting to recapture tastes from years gone by.

I'm still a lover of the great Aussie icon...the meat pie! Oh! How I love a good meat pie!

Meat Pies:

2 cups Plain Flour

125 gm Lard, chopped (or chilled butter)

2 Eggs, lightly beaten

2 Tablespoons Water, approximately

2 sheets pre-made Puff Pastry

1 Egg Yolk, lightly beaten


A dash or two of olive oil

2 Onions, chopped

900 gm minced Beef or finely chopped beef

1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 cup dark Soy Sauce

2 teaspoons Beef stock powder

2 cups Water

1/2 teaspoon ground Allspice and/or mixed herbs

2 Tablespoons Cornflour

2 Tablespoons Water, extra


Method for making Aussie Meat Pies

Sift flour into bowl; rub in lard/butter. Add eggs and enough water to make ingredients cling together. Press dough into a ball, knead gently on a floured surface until smooth, cover, refrigerate 1/2 hour. Divide dough into 8 portions. Roll out each portion on lightly floured surface large enough to line 11 cm pie tins. Trim away excess pastry. Place tins on oven tray, line pastry with paper, fill with dried beans or rice. Bake in moderately hot oven about 8 minutes, remove paper and beans, bake further 8 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned, cool. Spoon cold filling into pastry cases. Cut 8 x 12cm rounds from puff pastry, brush edges of pastry with a little egg yolk; gently press puff pastry tops into place; trim edges. Brush tops with a little more egg yolk. Make 2 small slits in centre of pies, place on oven trays, bake in moderately hot oven about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot with tomato sauce. Filling: Heat oil in pan, add onion, cook stirring until soft. Add mince/chopped beef; stir over heat until browned. Stir in sauces, stock powder, water and allspice/herbs. Bring to boil, simmer, covered, about 30 minutes. Stir in blended cornflour and extra water, stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens.

Once they're out of the oven, all you have to do is bog in and enjoy! (With mashed spuds and mushy peas!)

Not having a father in our household, Mum was the main "bread-winner". She was a "working mother" in the days when it was quite a rarity. When Mum was home, she preferred gardening to housekeeping or cooking. The running of the household was our Nana's domain. Mum prepared a garden to the side of the front garden path where she planted and tended to vegetables. Always, it seemed, we had tomatoes, beans, peas, lettuce, potatoes and corn on ready supply. When we had too many tomatoes, Mum turned her hand to cooking and transformed the over-abundant tomatoes into pickles.


2lbs tomatoes

2 large onions

1 tablespoon each of curry powder, pepper, dry mustard

3 tablespoons golden syrup

1 pint malt vinegar

Cut tomatoes and onions into slices. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 12 hours. Then drain off liquid. Put vinegar, curry, mustard and pepper on to boil, then add syrup. Add tomatoes and onions. Boil until tender. Pour into sterilized bottles.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with some good old home-style food! It's an elixir for one's heart and soul.


  1. It is almost the dinner hour and here you go making me hungier.
    Sounds like our Mothers were kinderd spirits because what you wrote about her could have been written by me about mine. I still miss all those wonder canned goods she would share. Now I have to make my own.
    Grandma Christian, Mother's mom could out bake anyone in Middle Tn. I still today long for just one more of her fried pies (chocolate, peach or apple) or one of her Jam cakes. As you say they would melt in your mouth.
    Thanks for taking me down memory lane.

  2. You're more than welcome, Lady's sometimes nice to have someone with me when I take the stroll! ;)

  3. We just finished dinner over here but I read that and could eat again.

    I had to google Swede turnip. Over here, we call it a rutabaga.

  4. Yes, that's right, granny. I love them, whatever they're called! :)

    You'll just have to make some pasties or pies for tomorrow night's dinner! ;) Thanks for your comment.

  5. HI Lee,
    Well as you know I'm on the 10lbs before Christmas diet so I have to give these amiss although I can taste them in my mind.
    You and Welshcakes make me feel like such a slacker in the cooking dept.

  6. Yeah...I'm on that diet, too, jmb...mine is in the reverse, however...I'll put on the 10lb between now and Christmas! ;)

  7. Lee, I like your diet much better than Jmb's hehe. The first year my dad and stepmom were married, she planted 50 tomatoe plants in the garden. I cannot tell you how many tomatoes we had. I remember great grandma, grandma, and mom working in the kitchen, canning tomatoes, making chili sauce, etc. We gave away as many as we could too! Never again did she plant so many.

  8. You'll have to come along next trip Lee as a third judge of the pies and pastries, Wazza has this thing about pies and mushy peas BUT he won't eat peas any other way!!!!
    I usually go for beef and mushroom, and have found some pretty good ones all over Australia from Port Douglas to Geraldton to Yatala and some excellent little bakeries in the Barossa Valley.

  9. I am going to the grocery store tonight so I can try this receipe it looks yummy I 'll let you know how it turns out.

  10. Hi Lee ~~ Thanks for the recipes. I used tp make lots of pies and pasties. But don't any more. Thanks for your visit/ I was glad Casey Stoner won the rsce, but don't like to watch those sort of things.
    Too much noise and too many accidents. Takr care, Love,

  11. I think I'm going to be in a similar boat, AW, with all the tomato plants I've got coming up at present. However, if I get a lot of produce, I'll make sauce/salsa out of some and freeze into portions for later use in pasta sauces etc., and they make a great bartering tool! ;)

    Peter, I had to two sound just like me. I always test the pies in every town or city I visit...that's a must, isn't it? The quality of the pie tells the quality of the town! I love mushy peas, too but they're not the only type I eat. :)

    Hi there Shelly...looks like I've added to your grocery list! ;)

    I enjoy the races, Merle...the expertise of those motor cycle riders never ceases to amaze and intrigue me. Their mind frame must be so spot on and clear. You're going to have to resurrect that rolling pin, Merle...and drag out the pie dishes. :)

  12. I am already sufficiently hungry.. I really didn't need to see this! LOL.. looks wonderful!! Glad I can't smell it, then my stomach would really growl loud! lol

  13. lol..sorry, Deslily! If it's any consolation, I get hungry every time I think about those pasties. I satisfied my craving by having a couple of pies for dinner yesterday...but now I've still to satisfy the pasty cravings! ;)

  14. Hi again Lee ~~ Just a brief hello to tell you that I have chosen to award you with a Fabulous award. The thingo is on my sidebar or at Raggedys
    and you pass it on to 5 others. Have you heard from Robyn? She is very absent, so
    I hope she is OK. Love, Merle.

  15. Lee! This is what I look like!!!

  16. Hi, I've not heard from Robyn...she is very obvious in her absence. I sent her an email on Monday but I've not received a reply. So, like you, I'm a little concerned. Perhaps her Mum fell ill and she had to do a sudden, unexpected trip to NZ. I do hope all is okay with her and hers.

    Thank you for the award, Merle...I usually get the gong and not the award! ;)

    Ahh...which one is that, Gled? Pretty little thing, aren't you? ;

  17. I'll let you into a secret... it's actually someone else's... but it looks the most like Baby Itchy...

  18. (I couldn't post my own up as I had to use a photo with an url...)

  19. We have lots of green tomatoes at the moment. I'll print this off and take it, with the tomatoes, to daughter at the weekend. She is planning on making some pickle.

  20. My gran did all the cooking in our house as my mum went out to work. She was great cook and made the best apple tart. I know what she did but I can't do it!

    Those pies look delicious.

  21. It's a sweet little thing, Gled. I can understand why you love them. :)

    Liz, our Nanas really knew how to make pastry...and scones! I learned from my Nana the art of pastry-making. I used to stand and watch her, listen and learn when I was little. It sounds like you and I had a similar situation when we were kids. :)

  22. Lee,

    I have come to the conclusion that you could make some good money publishing your recipies and selling them in book form.

    You could gather up all of your past food posts with your commentary and pictures, and have a couple best sellers. Some of the commercial kitchens would buy one geared to feeding multiple guests as you have done.

    It's worth a thought. You write as well as you cook!

    Marc (Who does well to cook eggs Al Plaino)

  23. Tomatoes are coming up down under. Fall leaves are dropping here. My wife got serious about growing tomatoes three years ago. So guess who does the tilling and planting. Fortunately my teenage son will not be seen out worked by his fat old dad and helps a lot. I don't like tomatoes but love red sauce. I thought maybe this was an old prejudice and picked a ripe Roma tomato one day. Yuck. I find it amazing how many tomatoes those plants produce. If only I could get the bell peppers to produce. No luck. Jalapenos, we get so many I give lots away. We also have a fig tree gone berserk. More figs than she wants to can or make preserves. After going to the homebrew shop with me, they told her how to make fig wine. Looking forward to how that turns out.

    I now know what 'pinging' means to canning. It is a happy sound It makes the wife happy all her hard work came to fruition and I am glad for that.

  24. Worth a thought or two, Marc...most definitely! I'm sure you are being very modest...and I reckon you'd be bit of a whizz on the barbie! ;)

    Gto...what a shame you don't like tomatoes other than in sauce. At the moment of my commenting here, I'm eating tomato on toast with curry powder sprinkled over the top! Love it! I'm a hopeless gardener...I rarely, if ever, do all the things a gardener should do! I just throw everything into my little plot and watch them grow and produce!

    I'm interested to learn how the fig wine turned out when you make it. Sounds very interesting!

  25. I'm a big fan of Guy Clark, gto...I've got a couple of his CDs! :)

  26. lee,
    Nothing ever tastes quite like they did when we were growing up.
    My aunt Nellie's meat pies were to die for. There is a bakery in Ottawa that comes close to making them the way she did, but there is something missing. Maybe it's the love.

  27. Hello...I'm hear on a visit from Miz Merles as she had awarded you.

    I had my first meat pastie back in 2001 on a visit to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (USA) while on a visit there. They seemd to be a specialty there and popular with the miners as a meal.

    I'm sure yours are very good...thanks for including the recipes!

    Have a great day!

  28. Hi again Lee ~~ Thanks for your comments, glad you are pleased with the award. You are lucky to have so many plants sow themselves. Things grow much better in Queensland
    or most do. I love Ivy Geraniums. Tale care, Love, Merle.

  29. They look lovely, Lee. Thanks for the recipes.

  30. I shall be cooking the cheapest ever pudding tonight, an apple crumble made from windfall apples which I was given for nothing. The flour and fat cost pennies, can anyone beat that?

  31. I think that might be true, Rel...but there are things that really did taste better and it's not just our dwindling memory that makes them seem tastier! ;)

    Welcome, t*mmy...thanks for popping in. It's always a pleasure to see a new face. :)

    Hey, Merle...I'll have to give you a season ticket! ;)

    I get the "hungries" every time I look at the pics, Welsh! ;)

    That would take a lot to beat, Ellee...the good, old apple crumble...yum! :)

  32. I think I will make some meat pies for dinner tonight! Thanks for the idea!!

    Love the photos too!