Recipe: Cottage Pie

Hurrah, it’s getting colder and it’s pie time, yes yes yes!!! As an alternative to Sunday roast I love a good old Cottage Pie, rich, meaty and covered in bubbling cheese. Served with my Yorkshire puddings this goes down a treat and makes enough for leftover snap to take to work. This recipe is for 2 so just add more ingredients if you have more mouths to feed.

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You will need:

  • 250g lean Minced Beef
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Rich Beef Stock cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • good glug of Hendersons Relish
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tablespoon Bisto Beef Gravy Granuals
  • 5 Potatoes
  • Butter and Milk for Mash Potato
  • Salt and Pepper to season
  • 150g Mature Cheddar, grated

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Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
  2. Finely dice the onion and carrots and fry over a medium heat for 5 mins until the onions start to turn translucent, turn up the heat and add the mince to the pan.
  3. While the meat is cooking, peel and chop the potatoes and start to boil to make the mash.
  4. Once the mince is cooked, add the stock cubes, herdersons, salt, pepper and water to the pan, turn down the heat and simmer. Add the gravy granuals to the pan and turn off he heat, mix until the liquid starts to thicken and transfer to an oven proof dish. (I know it’s a bit of a cheat move but it’s just an easy way to thicken the gravy and add more meaty flavour, forgive me?)
  5. After 10-  15 minutes of boiling the potatoes should be soft enough to drain and mash, then cream in the milk and butter and season.
  6. Top the meat mix with the mash flatten down, then sprinkle over cheese (of which I like to use a lot) and bake for 30 mins until the cheese is golden and the pie is bubbling. Mmmmmm.
  7. Serve with veg and Yorkshire puddings. Enjoy!!

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Beef Stifado

Another one of my Greek favourites the Beef Stifado made using a spice mix that I picked up on my holiday in Cyprus, fear not though see mix breakdown below which you can add the spices separately yourself. This recipe uses one of my favourite meat cuts of the moment beef shin, which you should be able to pick up at your butchers, it’s one of those forgotten cuts but slow cooked is succulent and just melts in the mouth. Easy to prepare and as it uses a slow cooker you can do the preparation the night before and allow to cook throughout the day while you work meaning it’s ready for you when you get home.

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You will need:

  • Beef Shin (as much or as little as you like)
  • 1 Jar of tomato based pasta sauce (eg. Bolognese, this is me cheating so you could substitute for chopped tomatoes and herbs)
  • 1 large glass of Red Wine
  • 2 tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Beef Stock Cube/ Stock Melt
  • 3 tablespoons Stifado Spice mix (which contains basil, onion, cinnamon, bay leaf, juniper and chilli)
  • 2 Onions- Sliced
  • 4 Whole cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Tomatoes- Chopped
  • 200ml water
  • Salt & Pepper

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Method:

  1. In a preheated oven at 180 degrees, season and roast you beef shin for 45- 50 mins until it has browned.
  2. Let the beef cool and add it with the rest of the ingredients with your slow cooker and slow cook for 8-10 hours.
  3. and… Enjoy! It’s literally as easy as that.

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I enjoyed my Stifado with roast potatoes and sprinkled on some freshly chopped mint how I would in Greece but would be good with roasted vegetables or rice. I even cooked up the leftovers with some pasta which was delicious.

Recipe: Quick and Easy Caramel Sauce

Even the thought of making Caramel Sauce used to scare the pants off me but this recipe is a simple, speedy solution and a perfect accompaniment to any dessert.

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You will need:

  • 100g Butter
  • 100g Muscovado Sugar
  • 250ml Double Cream
  • Pinch of Salt

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and bring the mix to the boil stirring frequently so the sauce doesn’t burn.
  2. Turn down the heat and continue on a steady boil for 5 mins or until the sauce thickens to a caramel like consistency. (I know this will be tricky as the sauce looks soo good but refrain from sticking your fingers into the sauce, it will burn!!).
  3. Turn off the heat and leave to cool for 5 mins and enjoy with your favourite dessert or drizzled over cupcakes or ice cream.

Try this: Cool and use as a centre for Caramel filled Cupcakes. Make your usual cupcake mix and add 1 tea spoon into the case, add a teaspoon of the caramel (as it has cooled it should be thick enough to hold itself) and top off with another spoon of cupcake mix. Bake as you usually would, add your touch with decorations and enjoy. Perfect!!