Spicy Crispy Lamb Breast

 

 

This was an absolute winner!

I’m quite a fan of lamb breast, a very underused and under rated cut of meat.

I think a lot of people are put off by the appearance (there appears to be very little meat) and they don’t know how to cook it.

I normally roll it with a nice stuffing to soak up the juices and make it go a bit further.

On this occasion I remembered seeing a recipe where the breast was cooked without being rolled so that it went nice and crispy, so I thought I’d give it a go with a nice spicy coating.

‘Ome Made Spicy Crispy Lamb Breast.

We were not disappointed! I used three lamb breasts which did me, Kit and the four hungry Kids and then there was some leftover for lunches.

It does reheat really well and goes even crispier!

The recipe below is for one lamb breast so double it for two or treble for three… There’s nothing like stating the obvious is there, sorry!

Lamb breast needs to be cooked slow to render the fat down and give you tender meat so this was cooked in two stages the first with the marinated meat cooked in a low oven, wrapped in tinfoil. The oven temperature was then turned up and the lamb finished off uncovered.

 

Before you cook the lamb breast you need to remove the thin bit of film that covers the inside of the ribs as it tends to be a bit tough. If your not confident about doing this ask the butcher to do it.

Talking of ribs the breast can be cooked with or without them.

Our Kids love the ribs when they are removed after the meat is cooked!

As far as flavourings you could use any mixture you like. I stuck with cumin, which goes fabulously with lamb, chilli and garlic as the main focus.

Of course you could use a ready bought mixture from the shop such as Ras el Hanout or of course any of the ‘Ome Made seasonings and rubs!  

Spicy Crispy Lamb Breast 

1 Lamb breast

splash of lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic crushed

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

lots of ground black pepper

A little oil of your choosing

Prepare the lamb breast removing the film and any big lumps of fat. lightly score the meat (SEVERRRN!… Sorry!) and any fat to help the marinade penetrate the lamb. Splash a little lemon juice over the lamb and rub in. Put the crushed garlic, spices and seasoning in a bowl and add enough oil to make a paste. Cover the Lamb Breast with the paste and give it a good rub in. leave to marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours if you have the time, however the meat can be cooked straight away and still taste good! When ready to cook wrap the lamb breast in a couple pieces of tin foil and place in a roasting dish. Place in a preheated oven at 145°C/125°C Fan for around 3 hours.

 

After this time the meat should be cooked and tender and the soft fat will have rendered down giving incredibly moist, tasty lamb.

Turn your oven up to 200°C/180°C Fan.

Remove the lamb from the tin foil and place on a wire rack (if possible, will be fine if not) in a roasting pan.

Once the oven has come up to temperature put the meat back in. After 15 minutes turn the meat over and leave for another 10 – 15 minutes or until you have a nice crispy finish to your lamb.

 

Remove from the oven and let rest for 15- 20 minutes before slicing into strips to serve.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We served the crispy strips of lamb breast with some mashed potato and garlicky sautéed cabbage… Winner!

 

 

Crispy Lamb Breast Feature

Portuguese One Pot Chicken.

 

It was a Saturday. Something strange had happened. I fancied something other than curry for tea! Not sure Kit was so impressed with this idea!

However not all was lost…

I still wanted that hit of spice!

We were going to be having curry. We had bought 3 chickens especially. To be honest I think the thought of taking the meat off 3 birds was not appealing to me on this particular day. I think a bout of ‘Can’t be arsed’ had come over me!

As well as three chickens I had also put a load of chickpeas into soak the night before so I had to incorporate those in some way.

I had been making some seasonings a couple days previously and knew that I had some surplus ‘Ome Made Portuguese Rub-a-Dub-Rub. And that was all the inspiration I needed! “One Pot Portuguese Chicken”.

 

 

One Pot Portuguese Chicken

This really is a simple recipe and whilst it’s cooking you can go about and enjoy your day rather than slaving over a hot stove.

You don’t have to use three chickens! The recipe below is for one. You can also use whatever vegetables you fancy.

You will need;

  • One Large Chicken
  • 165g dried chick peas (soaked overnight, boiled for 10 minutes and drained)
  • 4 large potatoes quartered
  • 4 large carrots cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 2 bulbs garlic chopped
  • roughly 120g mushrooms sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ‘Ome Made Portuguese Rub-a-Dub-Rub (or Piri-Piri seasoning or mix up a little paprika, cumin and chilli) mixed with a little oil to make a paste.
  • Roughly 1 1/2 litres chicken Stock (you could use a little less and add a glass of red wine or as we did a splash of Port!)
  • 4 tomatoes chopped
  • Big handful of fresh coriander chopped
  • Seasoning to taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Method

Take a large roasting pan or anything oven proof that all your ingredients will fit in. Put all the ingredients except the chicken, spice mix, stock, tomatoes and coriander in your roasting pan. pour over the stock so that it almost but not quite covers your vegetables.

Rub the spice mixture all over your chicken and place it on top of your vegetables. Cover the whole pan with a couple layers of tin foil and place in a preheated oven at 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3 for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Take out of the oven. Turn the oven up to 220°C/200°C Fan/ Gas Mark 7. Remove the tin foil and stir in the tomato and fresh coriander. Check for seasoning. Place the pan back in the oven for approximately 30 minutes for the chicken skin to crisp and colour a little.

Remove from the oven and let sit for twenty minutes. The chicken will just fall off the bone. Try serving with some steamed rice and some good crusty bread.

Bao saúde

 

 

 

‘Ome Made Falafel

 

Falafel are great… or can be if they’re made right! The thing is you need to put bags of flavour in there. You need serious amounts of garlic, lemon juice, pepper and salt. And then of course there’s the spices. For me it has to be heavy on the cumin, probably my favourite spice and a little paprika and ginger help give an extra zing to the proceedings. A good handful of fresh herbs give the finishing touch.

Falafel are surprisingly easy to make. The main ingredient, chickpeas, are incredibly cheap too!

I like to have Falafel just as they are accompanied by a nice salad, maybe some Tabbouleh and lashings of Tzatziki Oops, I’m beginning to sound like a vegetarian!

Once cooked they can also be warmed in a sauce, a nice rich tomato sauce works well. They’re almost like a vegetarian version of a meatballs.

So here’s a recipe you can follow to make your own. It uses dried chickpeas which have to be soaked overnight. I’m sure if you wanted you could cheat and use tinned, if you do you’ll want about double the amount of dried.

‘Ome Made Falafel

You will need:

  • 500g dried chickpeas
  • 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chilli
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder

Method.

Soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain and rinse the chickpeas then grind to a course pulp in a food processor.

Mix in all the other ingredients using your hands to really work the mixture together.

Form into 4cm balls and place on greaseproof paper on a tray in a single layer.

To cook the Falafel are best deep fried or shallow fried and then finished off in an oven.If deep frying the oil wants to be around 160°C so that they will cook through without the outside getting too well done Take the Falafel out of the oil when they are firmed up and just starting to colour. The Falafel can be par cooked like this and then cooled and refrigerated or frozen. The Falafel can then just be popped into an oven to finish cooking.

Alternatively the Falafel can just be deep or shallow fried.

GnocchiWockyDooDah!

 

Every now and then when we ask the kids what they want for tea they answer with something that strikes fear into me!

Gnocchi is one of them!

They love potato gnocchi and indeed so do I, however, making gnocchi for six hungry people, it’s one of the more… shall we say… time consuming dishes!

However sometimes you just have to and for all the time it takes and mess it causes the end result is always worth it.

Of course you can always cheat and get your gnocchi ready made from the supermarket!

I have to say that I’m not keen on gnocchi when it’s boiled and served in a sauce… it just doesn’t do it for me. However we do love it when it’s gently poached and then fried in butter so it’s nicely caramelised and slightly crispy. It makes an Epic! (Kids description!) side dish when served like this.gnocchi 5

 

I had bought some nice Tuna steaks that had been on special offer and as we don’t have Tuna very often I thought they deserved tuna 1something a bit special. It was decided that we have them with gnocchi and some chick peas tossed in a nice lemon, butter sauce flavoured with just a touch of cumin.

When I make gnocchi I have to say I normally just wing it! I add flour, egg and a touch of baking powder to some mash potato (usually leftovers!) and hope for the best!

 

 

 

 

However here is a recipe for those that don’t want to take the risk!

 

Ingredients;

 

6 large potatoes peeled and cut into fourGnocchi 1

1 medium egg

3 handfuls plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt and pepper

 

Method;

 

Place the potatoes in a pan and just cover with salted water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for approximately 45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

Drain the potatoes well and put back in the pan, leave for a couple of minutes for the potatoes to dry out a little then mash or put through a potato ricer.

In a large bowl whisk the egg and add the seasoning and a splash of water. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix together until you have a soft dough. If it’s too wet add a little more flour, if it’s too dry add a splash more water.

Divide the dough into four. Take one piece of dough and on a floured board roll into a long sausage shape. Use a blunt knife to cut the dough making  little pillow shapes. place the dough pieces on a floured tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Once all the dough has been used up, place the tray with the cut dough on it in the fridge for ten minutes or so to firm up.

gnocchi 2

To cook the gnocchi bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Carefully drop the gnocchi in and bring back to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for a couple minutes or until the gnocchi floats on the surface of the water.gnocchi 3

 

 

 

Once cooked the gnocchi can be drained and either tossed in a sauce or coated in a little oil to either serve later (just drop into boiling water to warm up or heat in a sauce) or be fried. To fry the gnocchi melt some butter in a frying pan and when sizzling drop in the gnocchi, keep turning until the gnocchi are nicely coloured and golden.

gnocchi 4

We had our gnocchi this time with a nice seared tuna steak and a simple sauce consisting of a little onion and garlic sautéed in butter with chicken stock, a splash of white wine, zest and juice of a lemon, cooked chick peas, ground cumin and finished with yet more butter!

chickpea in lemon butter1

 

 

 

 

 

 

A simple salad of chunky tomato, cucumber and onion drizzled with a little vinegar and a pinch of sugar and seasoning is all that was needed for a superb tasting, Mediterranean style dish.

 

tuna & gnocchi 1

Get Sconed!

 We don’t do many desserts or puddings in the ‘Ome Made home but one of the things that always goes down well when we do is a nice scone (pronounced “scon”… of course!).

 scones blog

Scones are so easy to make and with a little jam of your choosing and a big fat dollop of clotted or whipped cream they have to be one of my favourite treats. I could eat them forever and a day, which is probably why we don’t have them too often!

Before I give you my recipe, lets just get something straight, OK? It’s jam spread on the scone and then your dollop of cream on the jam. Any other way is just wrong… got it!

This is a basic recipe for scones. You could add a handful of sultanas or glace cherries if you want. If you want to make your scones with buttermilk just use the same amount as you would milk.

scones 3

You will need;

450g (1lb) self-raising flour

2 rounded teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

75g (3oz) butter

50g (2oz) caster sugar

2 medium eggs

About 225 ml (8 fl oz) milk & a splash of lemon juice (optional)

Method

Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and give a light mix.

Roughly dice the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Lightly mix in the sugar (now is the time to add any fruit if you are doing).

Beat the eggs in a measuring jug add the milk to make the volume up to 300ml mix together with a splash of lemon juice if you have it.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and gradually add your milk and egg mixture, bringing the whole lot together until you have a slightly sticky dough (if it’s too sticky add a little more flour).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and give a quick knead.

Split the dough in half and roll one lot out to a thickness of about 2cm. Cut out the scones with whatever shaped/size cutter you want and place (turn over so the bottom of the scone becomes the top) on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the second lot of dough. Bring any leftover dough back together, roll out and cut again.

Using a dry pastry brush, brush off any excess flour on the tops of your scones and then egg wash them.

 

Place the scones in a preheated oven at 220°C/gas mark 7 for 10 – 15 minutes.

Once cooked remove from the oven and baking tray onto a wire rack to cool.

Eat as fresh as possible and freeze any leftover (yeah right!) for another time.

 scones 1

Cup of Chai?

We started drinking Chai a good year ago now. Not proper Indian Chai but the well known brand, tea bag variety.

Recently however the well known brand that we used decided to re-brand their packaging, putting less tea bags in and charging more. Meaning our bag of Chai cost more than twice as much!

Now we like Chai but paying 25p a bag seemed a bit much! Sod it I thought I’ll make my own!

D’ya know what? It’s dead easy. The only downside is you have to strain the tea before drinking but to be fair thats not that much of a hardship!

chai 3

You can also customise your blend to your own taste.

I roughly ground some cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamoms which I then add to some loose black tea in a teapot and let infuse for 5 minutes. That’s it done, all you have to do is strain the Chai as you pour it out and add milk and sugar to taste.

If I had had any to hand I would have added a little dried ginger (not ground though as that would be too powdery).

If you want to give it a go here are the amounts I used;

4 sticks of cinnamon, 6 star anise, 8 cloves and 5 cardamom pods

Pulse the above in a coffee or spice grinder so they are roughly ground, you don’t want a fine powder.

Chai 2

Use roughly 1/4 teaspoon of this mixture with one teaspoon of tea per mug of Chai.

At some point I will have a go at brewing a proper Indian Masala Chai. For this the whole spices are simmered in the water with the tea before milk and probably a little too much sugar is added.

Here is how Rick Stein recommends doing it in his excellent book Rick Stein’s India.

Ingredients;

1 black cardamom pod, bruised with a rolling pin

15 green cardamom pods, bruised with a rolling pin

6 cloves

4 black peppercorns

8cm piece of cinnamon stick, broken in 1/2

500ml water

4 tsp black tea leaves (equivalent to about two bags if using bags)

2tsp sugar, plus extra to taste

200ml milk

Method

Put the spices into a saucepan with the water. Bring back to the boil, add the tea and turn down the heat to low and simmer for 7 minutes. Stir in the sugar and milk, bring back to a simmer for 3 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer and serve, adding more sugar to taste.

You could try making the delicious Indian sweet Jalebi to go with your Chai. Mr Stein has a recipe from the same book the above recipe is from.

Right… think I’ll go and make myself a nice cup of Chai!

Cheers!

Have Your Cake & Eat It… Just not until Christmas!

Last year I posted a blog on Stir Up Sunday with a recipe for Christmas Pudding. Click on this link ‘Christmas Pudding’ if you want to see it.

This Year I’m giving a recipe for Christmas Cake. You may think it’s a bit early but this cake tastes better for a bit of maturing. Put it this way. Last year we made two cakes. We started the second in the Summer holidays it was superb and still lovely and moist (something to do with the alcohol content me thinks!). In fact this year I’m wondering whether to do extra so we have a cake for next Christmas too!

Crimbo Cake 1

This recipe will give a large 10″ cake and a smaller one. Or you could try two 8″ size tins. It depends on what sort of depth you want on your cake.

You can use whatever dried fruit you like in your cake. I put mainly vine fruits in mine with a little currants and angelica. If you want to push the boat out a few dried Morello  cherries and cranberries make a luxurious addition.

 

Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake

 

800g Mixed dried fruit

300g nibbed almonds

200g glace cherries

100g crystalized ginger (roughly chopped)crimbo cake 2

 

Soak the above in 350ml of port, 350ml brandy and 1 bottle of Kreik overnight (or whatever alcohol you like)

 

4 medium eggs beaten

zest and juice of 2 oranges

200g melted butter

2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a good grating of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of all spice (pimento)

200g Muscavado sugar

2 tablespoons of black treacle

300g self raising flour

 

crimbo cake 3

 

Method

Once your fruit has had it’s alcoholic bath simply put all the ingredients in a very big basin and give a very thorough mix.

Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 4.

Grease and line your baking tins/moulds.

Fill your tins leaving at least 3cm gap from the top.

Bake in the oven for 2 hours 20 minutes to 2 hours 40 minutes.

If the top is browning a bit too quickly loosely cover with a little baking parchment.

Too check if the cake is done pierce the centre with a bamboo skewer. The cake is done when the skewer comes out virtually clean.

Leave the cakes to cool in the tin then take out.

Pierce the bottom of the cake with a skewer. Now you can feed your cake with whatever spirit you like! I find Brandy works the best but Whiskey also gives a great result. Simply spoon some alcohol over the cake and let it soak in. This can be repeated every 2 to 3 weeks or every week as it nears Christmas. Once the cake has had it’s first feed, wrap in greaseproof/baking paper then tin foil and then cling film. We keep ours in a cool box in a cool place.

We don’t ice our cake as we tend to enjoy it with a nice slab of vintage Cheddar and glass of wine, Port or Madeira but of course you can cover it with marzipan and icing of your choice or try glazing with some warmed apricot jam and decorating with nuts or glace fruit.

The only hard part I find about making this cake? Waiting until Christmas to eat it!

I wish I could have my cake and eat it now!

crimbo cake 4

 

 

 

Things That Go ‘Pump’ In The Night!

It’s that time of year again! It seems like the Kids have only just gone back to school and then the next thing you know Halloween is here!

 

Jack Pumpkin Blog

 

We normally let the kids stay up a bit later on Halloween. They don’t go out trick or treating but they love it when other children come knocking on our door.

We have our own bag of tricks and treats to give out… we have a bag full of sweet things but lurking within are a few unpleasant surprises that I have made. In the past we have had chocolate coated sprouts, last year it was chocolate coated Fishermans Friends! This year… Ahhh, that would be telling!

Kit will have used her artistic skills to make them all masks. A task which needs a lot of patience! For those that haven’t got as much may want to head over to The Amazon Halloween Store

I’m sure we will have to have a pumpkin carved out. I can’t wait until the kids are old enough to do it themselves!

We tend not to cook something special for Halloween. If anything we’ll have some jacket potatoes and fillings. Easy to prepare and fuss free. Although we quite often have baked beans with them.

Now there’s nothing wrong with the tinned variety but you just can’t beat ‘Ome Made!

It’s really quite easy to make your own baked beans and of course it’s loads cheaper. You really can customize your recipe.

Here’s a recipe that I’ve used many times. I used to make these when I was working at a Bar opposite the Sheffield Crucible and Lyceum. There was one gentleman that used to come in especially to have beans on toast (even though it wasn’t on the menu!) because they were so good!

 

 

sausage mash n baked bean volcano

 

 ‘Ome Made Baked Beans

500g dried Haricot beans (soaked overnight in cold water).

800g of chopped tomatoes (tinned or fresh)

140g tomato puree.

250ml of water.

2 teaspoon of veg bouillon.

3 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon of chilli powder.

2 teaspoons of paprika.

2 teaspoons of dried basil.

2 teaspoons of dried oregano.

2 teaspoons of dried parsley.

3 teaspoons of sugar.

Seasoning.

Method

Drain and rinse the beans. Place the beans in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for ten minutes. Turn down the heat and simmer for another twenty minutes.

Drain the beans and then put in a casserole dish or oven proof pan along with all the other ingredients. There should be enough liquid to cover the beans, if not add a little more water. Put a lid on the pan and place in an oven preheated to 160°C (140°C if fan assisted). The beans should be ready after 6 hours but could happily left for 8.

This basic recipe could easily be customized to your own liking. You could try adding some fried onion, bacon, a bit of diced pork or even sausages. A little diced carrot and/or celery gives your beans a bit more depth.

If your really brave you could make your own curried beans… just don’t blame me for the after effects!

Things really could go ‘Pump’ in the night!

 

Ghost Mask Blog

Tabouleh For School… eh!

 

Last term at school I got roped into going into MissT’s class to talk about healthy food, where our food comes from and do a demonstration. So I cooked pizza from scratch and the children all made their own. It was great fun for the kids… and me! Although I think the cleaners are still finding bits of pizza dough in the carpet!

 

Pizza 'Ome Made

 

This term I got asked if I could give Dj’s class a simple recipe because they were working on following instructions. So the idea was that they would make something and then write down what went in it and how they did it.

I emailed the class teacher, Miss H, a recipe for Tobouleh as I though it was a simple recipe and it didn’t involve too much cooking… the thought of Dj and hot things just scares me!

The thing is, after they had made the Tabouleh at school I ended up with Kids and parents asking me for the recipe. So I thought I may as well put it on the blog because to be fair it is a great recipe. It’s healthy, a little goes a long way, it’s not time consuming and it’s great for Kids and adults pack-up.

Now this isn’t exactly how they made it at school. For one thing you use bulgar wheat in Tabouleh. At school they used couscous which is fine, it works well but I do recommend trying it with the cracked bulgar wheat. I prefer it so much more and it is a little more healthier.

Unfortunately I have no picture of the finished result. I will put one in at a later stage.

 

Tabouleh

500g Cracked Bulgar wheat

5 tablespoons oil (olive, sunflower or rapeseed)

1 medium red onion finely diced

2 cloves of garlic chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon of dried mint

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (or more or less to suit your taste)

1 teaspoon salt

Good grind of black pepper

1 red pepper diced

A handful of frozen peas

600ml of hot stock (vegetable or chicken)

Juice of 1 lemon or a tablespoon of fresh

Some chopped fresh herbage if you have any (coriander or parsley work well)

Method

Gently heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and add the onion and garlic stir for a minute and then add the spices, dried mint and stir again. Add the red pepper, peas and seasoning to the pan and stir in. Now add the bulgar wheat and stir through to coat with the spices. Add the stock so that it is just above the level of the bulgar wheat. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid or tinfoil and turn off the heat. After twenty minutes the bulgar wheat should have absorbed all the water and be ready. Before you serve it add the lemon juice and fresh herbs. It can be eaten straight away or left to cool and refrigerated to eat another time. It also freezes well if frozen in plastic containers.

So there you go! Easy. If the Kids of St T of C year 3 can follow it then you parents should have no problems!

Let me know how you get on!

Shepherds Pie… No really… Just Shepherds Pie!

Sometimes, not very often but sometimes we have a meal which is quite simple and not spicy. Well, not that spicy!

 

Shepherds pie 6

 

Shepherds pie is one of those dishes. We don’t have it that often at all, so when we do it’s a real treat.

It’s one of those really comforting foods. Perfect for when the weather turns a bit cooler… like it did… in August!

Oh and it has to be lamb. None of this using minced beef and passing it off as shepherds pie, that’s Cottage Pie!

This recipe is a very basic recipe for Shepherds Pie. Proper Shepherds Pie. Like your Mum used to make but better! Not curried Keema Shepherds pie. Not Clapshot Pie and not Shepherds pie where you’ve ponced about slow roasting a leg of lamb, used the juices to make the gravy and with anchovies in etc. Plain and simple Shepherds Pie.

This recipe will give six to eight portions so you could halve it if you don’t want to make so much. Or why not get some foil containers so you can do some individual portions which can be put in the freezer for another day.

Shepherds Pie

1.2 Kilo minced lamb

2 medium onions diced

4 cloves garlic finely chopped

4 medium sized carrots dicedShepherds pie 1

Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

1 tablespoon soy sauce (dark)

2 tablespoon plain flour

2 litre of hot stock (chicken or beef)

For the mash

2.5 Kilo potatoes (I find red are good for mash, or Maris Piper)

1 large egg

25 gram butter

1 tablespoon milk

Seasoning

To make the filling heat a little oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and add the onion, garlic and carrot. Fry for a couple of minutes until the onion is translucent and beginning to colour.Shepherds pie 2 Add the minced beef, stir to break it up add the seasoning and spices and fry until the meat has browned. Add the soy sauce and stir. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Put back on the heat and add the stock a little at a time stirring all the time until the mixture comes to a simmer. This now needs to cook for at least 45 minutes. Don’t worry if it looks a lot of liquid. You strain the meat to go in your pie dish so you are left with a lovely gravy to accompany your meal.

Shepherds pie 3

To make the mash. Peel the potatoes and 1/2 or 1/4 them depending on size. The bigger the size the fluffier your mash will be. Put in a pan and just cover with cold, salted water then put on to boil. Once up to the boil your potatoes should take 30 – 45 minutes to cook. Once cooked drain and put back in the pan. Give the potatoes a quick blast of heat from the hob and then leave them until the steam reduces to nearly nothing at which point you potatoes should be nice and dry. Throw in the butter and then mash your potatoes once broken up add the milk, beaten egg and seasoning and mash until smooth. Don’t overdo the potatoes otherwise you will end up with something resembling wall paper paste!

Shepherds pie 4

Now to assemble the finished dish. Strain the filling from the gravy using a slotted spoon, small sieve or colander into a deep baking dish or two. Reserve the leftover sauce to use as a flavour filled gravy to go with your pie. Don’t leave it next to the sink though or your better half may think you don’t want it and throw it down it! Once you have strained all the meat and veg into your dish carefully place the mash potato on top of the meat and gently spread out with the back of a spoon. Use a fork to put some ridges in the topping and if you want put a little sliced tomato on top.

Shepherds Pie 5

To cook put in a pre-heated oven at 190°C or 170°C for fan assisted for around 50 minutes or until the topping is nicely browned.

Serve with the reserved gravy and whatever veg you fancy (peas go great!)

Shepherds pie 7