After returning from a long stay on home soil I am now back in the land of sand, the problem is the weather was just beginning to turn wintery when I took my leave and has left me rather craving for those days of both going to work in and returning home the dark! Some of you may think me mad to long for a blast of blisteringly cold wind and rain against my cheeks, but I say there is nothing like the Great British weather to make you feel alive!!!
During my break, Hubs was left alone to fend for himself which led to a declaration of wanting proper cooked food upon my return, I don’t mind actually as my new oven has barely been graced with my presence. So with head and heart still slightly in England I needed a little comfort, what better than the classic Cottage Pie then?
I adapted this recipe from the original on the BBC Good Food website as that one makes a massive pie that’s enough for 10 people. We had enough for a portion each for 2 days with this one, so that was a bonus as it meant I could give the kitchen another swerve last night, I was exhausted after all that mashed potato piping don’t you know!
1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
500 – 600g minced beef
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped quite small
1 1/2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 TBSP plain flour
1 TBSP tomato puree
425 ml beef stock
2 TBSP worcestershire sauce
2 bay leave
For the topping
900g potatoes, cubed
110 ml milk
nice knob of butter
100g strong cheddar cheese, grated
1. Heat half the oil in a large sauce pan, add the mince and brown. Once browned remove the mince and set aside (I also skimmed off any excess fat at this point)
2. Add the rest of the oil to the same pan and put on a gentle heat, add the vegetables but leave out the garlic for now and cook for around 20 minutes until the veg are softened.
3. Add the garlic, tomato paste and flour. Turn up the heat slightly and cook for another couple of minutes stirring through.
4. Put the beef back into the pan along with the stock, worcestershire sauce and the bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 45 minutes (the gravy should be thick and coat the meat, if it’s still to thin after 30 mins, turn up the heat to reduce the sauce more) When the sauce is cooked season well, remove the bay leaves and throw.
5. In the meantime make the mashed potato topping. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. When cooked drain and allow to steam-dry for a few mins.
6. Mash the potatoes together with the milk, butter and 3/4 of the grated cheese, then season with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
7. Spoon the meat into an ovenproof dish. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
8. Heat your oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the top is gold
9. Enjoy!! Served with some of your favourite veggies!
We positively woofed this down and both said afterwards that we felt all wintery and cozy despite the outside temperature and humidity. It’s definitely on the keeper list so I thought it would be nice to share with you, whether you’re homesick or really are in the bleak mid winter this recipe hits the spot!
Peace and love
Ginger and Cream XOXO