Dawn French makes Cornish pasty her ' food heaven' on cookery show
Actress, writer and comedian Dawn French told the nation how her idea of "food heaven" is a Cornish pasty when she appeared on a celebrity chef's weekend television show, writes David Wells.
Dawn, who told viewers how her family are from Devon and Cornwall, also went on to advise on how best to serve a Cornish pasty as she appeared on TV chef James Martin's Saturday Kitchen, live on BBC1.
James, whose show attracts more than three million viewers, introduced special guest Dawn as "one of the innovators of British comedy and asked her what her food heaven would be.
"It is without a doubt a Cornish pasty," she said. "Sorry about that. But for me that is completely evocative of my childhood. It is what I would like to eat every day if I could."
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She added: "It is everything I love: it is very filling; it is very nutritious and there's an amazing history with it."
Dawn explained to viewers the Cornish are very particular about what a Cornish pasty is, saying: "It is not just the placing, you know, the geographical placing, but about what is allowed and what isn't allowed in."
James added: "I've got a feeling we're going to get a lot of calls later as well.
"I'm going to make a Cornish pasty but I can't call it a pasty, or a Cornish pasty, I'm going to call it a traditional Cornish pasty recipe but you can't call it a Cornish pasty."
He made a filling from beef, potato, swede and onion, with salt and pepper. He said: "It's served with a simple salad on the side," and told Dawn: "I could actually get some gravy if you wanted it?" But she said: "No, no, no – no gravy, no gravy necessary – it's wrong."
After cooking demonstrations by Atul Kocchar, of the award-winning Benares restaurant in London, and Mark Jordan, of the Atlantic Hotel and Ocean Restaurant in Jersey, and a slot from Cornwall-based chef Rick Stein, James went on to point out that many Cornish viewers had called the show while it was live on air to tell him that you do not serve a Cornish pasty with salad, to which Dawn agreed, saying: "No, you don't, I didn't know why you were doing that, I thought it was just a posh thing that you were doing … up London."
Dawn then told him: "You don't do it with gravy either. A pasty is the thing, you don't need anything more … but let's call the salad 'garnish'."
Talking about her childhood, her Westcountry background and her divided loyalties between Devon and Cornwall, Dawn said: "It is tricky for me in a way because I was born in Wales because my dad was posted there, my dad was in the RAF, but my family are all Westcountry and half the family are from Devon, from Plymouth, Janners."
Dawn shocked James by pointing out that despite her living in the Westcountry her idea of "food hell" was anything to do with shellfish or "anything with tentacles or rubbery stuff" such as squid or octopus.
Dawn tucked into her 'food heaven' and presented James with a copy of her new book Oh Dear Sylvia.