ONIONS play a huge part in British cuisine as well as being a staple food all over the world and an essential ingredient in many every day meals. Despite its worthy status the humble onion is often seen as a pretty boring and mundane ingredient; something that can always be found lurking at the back of the vegetable rack. However, without onions some of our favourite and most delicious meals would taste very different indeed.

An inexpensive and versatile ingredient, the onion comes in a variety of forms, whether it be a pungent brown onion, a sweet Spanish onion or a zingy spring onion. At this time of year spring onions are particularly delicious and can transform a dish; toss them into salads, add them to noodles and pasta dishes or sprinkle them over grilled fish. The regular brown onion is available all year round and has a stronger, sharper flavour especially when served raw.

One of the best food pairings ever invented has got to be the classic cheese and onion combo. Whether it’s a sandwich, quiche, pie or even a packet of crisps you’re onto a winner. And let’s not forget the joy that of a wedge of Lancashire cheese with a few pickled onions brings.

If you’re a fan of cheese and onion pie like me then try out this really simple and tasty recipe that can be made in no time at all. It’s a great way of using up any leftover mashed potatoes and only requires a few extra ingredients. I always have a block of puff pastry in stock because it’s so versatile and keeps well (unopened) in the fridge or freezer. If you’d rather make your own pastry then go ahead but I honestly don’t think it’s any better and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort.

This dish is comfort food at its finest and not for anyone on a diet – I like to use a lot of cheese and normally make my mash with cream and plenty of butter! Feel free to add some chopped spring onions too if you want to go big on the onion flavour.


Ingredients (makes six pies)

500g puff pastry (I use the ready-made block)

500g chilled mashed potatoes

350g grated cheese such as Cheddar or Lancashire

1 small onion, finely sliced

1 egg, beaten

Salt & pepper

25g melted butter

Pre-heat the oven to 190c, gas mark 5.

Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to create a large rectangle shape, about 5mm thick.

In a bowl, combine the mashed potatoes with the cheese and onion and season to taste. Add the beaten egg and mix well. Spoon the mixture onto the puff pastry sheet and spread it out evenly to completely cover the pastry.

Taking hold of the longest edge, carefully roll up the pastry quite tightly (in a similar way you would a swiss roll), making sure the filling stays inside.

Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 6 disc shaped pies and place each one on a greased baking sheet. Brush the top of each pie with the melted butter and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden.