I taught them to cook

If you teach cookery or learn about cookery you might like my book I taught them to cook available on Amazon.

Stories of what it was like to teach exams in the 1970s – memories of all the dishes that had to be cooked for the practical exam. Find out what life was like in London in 1970s.


Could not put this book down, I loved home economics when I was at school & I can relate to a lot that Jenny wrote about.

Much of it made me smile and brought back memories of vesta curries and ‘exotic’ dining in Soho in Italian restaurants.

A real slice of nostalgia provoking many memories of my own lessons and early Food teaching. Jenny is so right about the exam.

The followup is underway on my Jenny Ridgwell Blog

Vegan pasties

Vegan pasties

The vegetable filling for these pasties is made from a mix of grated and finely chopped vegetables which can include grated carrot, finely chopped sweet potato, butternut squash, potato. Chickpea or plain flour binds the vegetables together as the mixture can get wet during baking and make soggy pastry.

Pasties can be made from square or circles of pastry then sealed before baking.

Add some frozen peas for colour and extra protein and flavour the vegetables with salt, pepper and mixed herbs. 

The pastry is glazed with a little oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds for protein.

For speed you can use a pack of ready made, ready rolled shortcrust pastry which makes 4 small pasties.

Makes 2 pasties



140 g plain flour
70g vegetarian fat suitable for vegans
1-2 tablespoons water 
Pinch of salt

Vegetable Filling
Choose a range of vegetables to make up to 120g – grated carrot, finely chopped sweet potato, butternut squash, potato
Small piece finely chopped onion 20g
20 g frozen peas
Pinch mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
1 tsp sesame or flax seeds
Oil for brushing pastry

Preheat the oven to 200 °C/ Gas 6. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.
Make the pastry by rubbing in the fat into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Mix with cold water and form into a dough. If time, wrap in clingfilm and chill.
Prepare the filling by mixing the grated and finely chopped vegetables. Mix in salt, pepper and mixed herbs and stir in the chickpea or plain flour
Divide the pastry into 2 pieces and roll out into 15-17 cm squares or 15cm diameter circles. Roll  between 2 pieces of non-stick paper or roll on a floured surface. The non-stick paper can be used to line the baking tray.
Put about 70g of the filling in the centre of each square or circle, damp the edges with water and fold over to seal.
Squeeze the edges together with thumbprints or mark with a fork.
Brush with a little oil to glaze the pastry and sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the vegetables have softened.
Leave to cool slightly before tasting.

Cooking tips

Seasoning tips – Vegetable fillings for pies and pasties need careful seasoning. Try using smoked paprika, curry powder, cumin, coriander and celery salt to add flavour.

Put the vegetable filling into the centre of the pastry to fold.

Adding extra protein
This pastie has a  lower protein content than a meat or cheese pastie. Add protein ingredients to improve the nutritional value by including beans, cooked lentils or chickpeas. Crunchy peanut butter adds flavour, texture and protein to these pasties and tomato ketchup binds the vegetables, adding flavour.

Skills – pastry making, grating and chopping vegetables finely, rolling pastry and sealing.

Classroom issues
Tips on working with large classes in one hour or less practical session.

Buy a selection of vegetables that students can use for fillings.
Use ready made pastry either bought in or made in another session.
Students can work in pairs, one preparing pastry and the other vegetables.
Vegetables need to be very finely chopped/ diced to make sure they cook through in the baking time, so sharp knives are essential.
Several pasties can be cooked in a hot oven at the same time if using 3 oven racks.
Using nonstick parchment paper – this saves flouring the worksurface and cleaning up time. The paper can be used to line the baking tray.

Food waste – roll out the pastry into squares or circles without cutting into shapes to avoid pastry wastage.
Vegetables such as carrots can be scrubbed instead of peeling.

Serving ideas

Add colour to the plate when serving the pasties by adding some coleslaw, tomato salsa or home made chutney.