Jacqueline Alwill

Brown Paper Nutrition


Right, so maybe you’re reading this thinking what on earth? Pastry? What is she doing, this is not what I’ve signed up for, but hold just a moment, because I want to talk a little about ‘nostalgic eating’ and help you understand just a pinch of the science behind it.

The story with this recipe (admittedly a one off and not something I chomp into on the daily) is that I have these incredible memories of when I was little eating vegetable ‘pasties’ with my mum. They were the ‘thing’ in the 80’s and instead of meat or chicken pies, I remember mum encouraging me to go with the vegetable pastie instead. The other ingredient from my childhood was (mum’s obsession) tinned salmon. This was a regular feature at our dinner table as a ‘salmon bake’, in the sandwiches at lunches, I even remember lining up for salmond salads at the David Jones cafe as mum and I would shop together. Times, evidently, have changed. Both for tinned salmon sandwiches and pastie eating…until now.

So the other day, I got pastry in my head…yes it happens. And as I did I was walking past tinned salmon. Something which usually I could walk past with ease. But on this occasion the two combined sent this amazing rush of memories into my brain and I was literally sitting in my childhood all over again. As I went there, all I could see, taste, feel was pasties and salmon and I literally felt my tummy rumble and my mouth start to salivate.

You see when we do have these kind of memories, there’s an amazing communication channel between our gut and brain which literally readies our body to digest those foods we’ve been thinking about, or craving even. This brain – gut axis is truly an incredible thing. And whilst it’s not ideal to go chomping into all your favourite nostalgic or comfort foods all the time, it is perfectly ok every once in a while to have your little treat of comfort and be perfectly happy with having it. When you eat with any element of guilt at this time, your body knows, your brain reads it, and sends a message to your gut that you’re not happy and in fact it makes it hard to digest.

The message here is this…eat with gratitude, positivity and connect with your food. If it’s a memory that makes you connect with it – perfect. If it’s the way you prepare your food so that it looks beautiful and that makes you happier to eat – great! If it’s making something super simple because otherwise cooking is just too overwhelming but you feel happy you made it – amazing! But always always always create, build and grow a positive relationship with your food. Our bodies remember, not only those special moments from years past but the way we are treating it now for the way it works in the future.

And so with a taste of my childhood and plenty of beautiful memories at hand, meet my Salmon and Sweet Potato Pastie. It’s seriously yummy and made with plenty of nourishing wholesome ingredients.

J x


WF : DF : SF

Makes 8 pasties

600g sweet potato, peeled and cut in chunks.
400g tin sustainably fished pink salmon
1 small Spanish onion, finely diced
1 chilli, seeds removed, finely diced
1/2 bunch coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped
3 tablespoons dukkah
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
small pinch of chilli flakes, optional

2 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/3 cup ghee, melted
1/3 cup grapeseed or olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup water
1 egg, whisked
1/4 cup sesame/linseeds, to sprinkle over the top

Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
To make the pastry, place spelt flour in a large bowl, then add ghee, grapeseed oil, salt, water and bring together to form a dough.
Transfer to a bench top and knead 5 minutes with your hands, so the dough is a lovely elastic and not too dry. It shouldn’t be dry given the ghee and oil.
Divide into 8 pieces, roll into balls and set aside.
To make the filling, steam sweet potato pieces until soft, then place in a large bowl with salmon, onion, chilli, coriander, dukkah, lemon zest and mix well to combine.
Take one of the balls of pastry and roll out until approximately 15cm in diameter, place 1/8 of the salmon filling on the dough, slightly to one side (so you can fold over the other half of the dough like an envelope) and spread it just a touch.
Fold over the other side of the dough and press the edges together firmly.
Brush the top and edges with egg, sprinkle with seeds and place in oven to cook for 20minutes.