Mr Toad's Automobile

Thursday 24/2/2005

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Diary and Notes

Like one of those lovely old cars you sometimes see pootling along on a country road in the summer - the brasswork all shiny, the leather seats re-upholstered and the horn repaired and honking away at horses - some old classics just need to be brought out of the garage, cleaned up a bit and taken for a spin.

They were mothballed because better things came along - Ford Zephyrs and Austin Allegros - and were too hard to maintain and only went at fifteen miles per hour (but were limited to four and a man with a big red flag walking in front) and so passed into obscurity along with stoneground flour and marrying your cousins. But every now and again you'll see one chugging by, the driver and co-pilot dressed in nineteen thirties garb with racing goggles and scarves. It fills you with a sense of pride in the old ways, the simple pelasures of a ride in the country with a picnic of pork pies and fizzy pop.

So I thought I'd take an old classic out of the cupboard and give it a spin. This tasty treat seems to have passed into obscurity a little. I know you can still get them in bakers shops just about everywhere but they aren't the craze they used to be. There's no excitement in them any more, they are no longer an exotic treat, having been knocked off their perch by MacDonalds and Subway, but I remember their heyday, when the very thought of one raised a smile.

And of what great and outmoded pleasure do I speak? The curry puff no less.

"But I had one of them for lunch on Thursday." You might say and perhaps you did. They are still around, often tarted up by using some exotic sounding alternative "Jamaican curry patties." for instance, but they're all just curry puffs and a delicious treat they are too.

When I was in my teens these were my favourite snack of all. Far tastier than a hamburger or sandwich. Bring back the joys of the curry puff, sweet, spicy, meaty and with a flaky pastry coating too. Go on, have some for tea, you know you want to.

Cake Blog

A cream swiss bun. I've never had a swiss bun before. It's a bit like a cross between a doughnut and bread. Filled with cream and jam and iced - good with coffee.


  • Curry Puffs
  • Potato Cakes
  • Parsnip Chips
  • Peas


  • Curry Puffs: Onion, carrots, celery, stewing steak, vegetable oil, garlic, sultanas, curry powder, tomato puree, tomato ketchup, salt, pepper, puff pastry (I bought some frozen).
  • Potato Cakes: Potatoes, salt, vegetabel oil.


  • Puffs: Chop the onions, carrots and celery and sweat them in a little oil. Add the minced garlic and the stewing beef, chopped into small chunks. Fry gently until brown then pour over some water, the tomato puree and ketchup, a handful of sultanas, a good dollop of curry powder and stew gently for as long as possible. I think mine stewed for about 6 hours, really slowly. When you are ready to make the puffs, season the meat, add a little extra curry powder and leave to cool a little. Cut oblongs out of the pastry, place some meat on one half, dab edges with water, fold and press together. Bake for about 25 minutes in a fairly hot oven.
  • Potato Cakes: If you can, use left over cold boiled potatoes (I boiled some the night before especially for this). Grate the potato, season and form into small patties. Fry in oil until golden brown.