Tag Archives: supper

Shepherd’s Pie without a kitchen…..a sure winner!!

Cooking without a kitchen can be quite a challenge, but here’s proof it can be done well.  This Shepherd’s Pie was a winner in my opinion, cooked in the bench top cooker then served piping hot with peas.  A  great supper on a cool Autumn night.

Onions, garlic, chili and rosemary......
Onions, garlic, chili and rosemary……

Start with a drizzle of oil in a non stick pan and saute off some chopped onion, garlic, chili and finely chopped rosemary, season with salt and pepper.

Lean lamb mince is essential to making a shepherd's pie
Lean lamb mince is essential to making a shepherd’s pie

When the onion mix has browned a little, push to the side of the pan and add lean lamb mince and some grated carrot.  Let this cook down and brown a little……the browning of the meat will create more flavour to the dish.  Stir the onion mix in with the lamb and the carrot now.  Add tomato passata, stock, a little more chopped rosemary, a splash of ketchup and stir thoroughly.  Let simmer on very low with a lid.

Shepherd's pie mix simmering quietly
Shepherd’s pie mix simmering quietly
Peeled potatoes soon to become creamy mash potato
Peeled potatoes soon to become creamy mash potato

While the dish is simmering, peel some potatoes and boil until soft in a pot of salted water.  Put in enough water to almost cover the potatoes, but don’t drown them!!  When soft, mash into a creamy texture adding a little milk and butter if that’s what you like.  I’m letting you in on a secret now (which I don’t often do!)  I add a small egg to the mash potato and beat it through thoroughly.  This gives a crustier, browner and plumper looking potato top at the end of the cooking process.

The secrets out!!! Adding an egg to mash potato is magic for a browner, golden crust
The secrets out!!! Adding an egg to mash potato is magic for a browner, golden crust

The meat should be simmering nicely still.  I give mine usually 45 minutes, adding a little stock if the mix becomes dry.  Taste and check if it needs seasoning. When you feel you have cooked it to your liking, remove from the heat and transfer the mix to an oven proof dish.  Set the oven to a high temperature.

Shepherd's Pie mix waiting for his potato friends!
Shepherd’s Pie mix waiting for his potato friends!

OK time to cover the meat mix with the creamy mash potato.  Do this anyway you wish.  My husband Steve likes the fork treatment!! but I prefer swirling with a spoon…..I think it looks pretty! and gives a crustier finish.  Be sure you seal in the edges of the dish to keep the mix from oozing out too much.

Mr. Shepherd's Pie mix is happier now being smothered by his potato friends!
Mr. Shepherd’s Pie mix is happier now being smothered by his potato friends!

Right, now the best bit.  Transfer this dish into the oven, onto a tray so if there are any spills during the cooking, it won’t dirty up the oven.  Lower the heat to medium and cook until a golden brown colour.

Shepherd's Pie without a kitchen.....unreal!!
Shepherd’s Pie without a kitchen…..unreal!!

You little beauty!  My favourite pie dish is ready….not a bad job considering we don’t have a kitchen!  We served this with green peas, and of course a glass of good Aussie red wine.

Gold Coast Cottage Pie!

Well, it’s winter here in Australia, but we’re on the Gold Coast in Queensland and I haven’t needed to put on a coat once!  We’re missing England and our Sundays out  walking on a massive long hike in the countryside, finishing off in a lovely country pub then back to the cottage to light the fire and start cooking a hearty pie for supper.

Jenny Kirwan (me) on The Gallops in Kingsclere, Hampshire.
Jenny Kirwan (me) on The Gallops in Kingsclere, Hampshire.

So, this afternoon, for old time sake, I cooked a cottage pie for this evening, ready to bake in the oven until a golden brown top appears.  We will go to the Mermaid Beach Surf Club late arvo and have a few drinks while listening to some live music, chatting to the lovely John with his funny hat, then head back to the apartment with a yummy cottage pie, oven ready for supper…….unreal!

Gold Coast Cottage Pie
Gold Coast Cottage Pie

So the pie is oven ready…it’s such an easy non fussy recipe…a good recipe for little people to first start cooking with mummy.  Use the best ingredients available and it will be a winner!  We’ll serve it with some steamed broccoli…and a glass of good Aussie red.  Bliss!

 

RECIPE…..(serves 2 as a main meal, this is a very lean recipe with only 3oz beef each (160 gms all up) but you can use more if you wish):

INGREDIENTS:

1 onion diced
garlic cloves diced
half a large carrot grated
6oz  lean beef mince (160 gms)
freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
Tomato Passata
1/2 teaspoon of good old Vegemite
2 small red chillies (we are spicy creatures)
1 dollop of tomato sauce (ketchup…for sweetness value)
Sea salt and cracked pepper
2 good mashing potatoes
veg or olive oil
GET COOKING………..

Start with peeling potaoes and boiling them until tender/soft.  Mash with a little milk, salt, pepper and stir in some chopped parsley.  Set aside.  (you can start the rest of the recipe while the potatoes are boiling.)

Fry off onions in some oil on medium to high heat, non stick or heavy based pan is best then add carrot and saute until a little colour appears.  Remove from pan and start browning off the minced beef.  Add chillies and garlic and season with salt and pepper, stir for another minute.  Return onion and carrot to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes on medium heat.  Add tomato passata and Vegemite and stir very well so Vegemite has completely dissolved.  Add a dollop of tomato sauce and some of the chopped parsley.  Turn down the heat to low, cover pan and simmer for 15 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally.

MAKE THE PIE UP…..

Put meat sauce into a baking dish and cover with the mash potato.  Cook on a medium heat until golden brown and serve with some steamed greens.  This is also a lovely summer dish served with a crisp green salad and a sharp dressing!

Gold coast Cottage Pie
Gold coast Cottage Pie

 

The Pineapple Pub, Brimptom Common, Berkshire.

With our supper already sorted for this evening (Steve has made a Beef Rendang with rice and flat breads!) and after all our jobs done, we were looking forward to a couple of quiet drinks down at our local pub, the Pineapple, at Brimpton Common.

Hanging baskets adorn the front of the Pineapple Pub, Brimpton Common.
Hanging baskets adorn the front of the Pineapple Pub, Brimpton Common.

We had both been to the gym earlier that morning so there wasn’t any guilt about a beverage or two.  We were extremely delighted that Robin Redbreast joined us while we were there.  He loves the beer  garden at the Pineapple.  We must remember to take a few little bits of bread for him next time we visit!

Robin Redbreast joined us for a drink at the Pineapple Pub, Brimpton Common.
Robin Redbreast joined us for a drink at the Pineapple Pub, Brimpton Common.

So, it was very relaxing, sipping on a Stowford Press Cider in the lovely beer garden with Robin and Steve who ejoyed his pint of London Pride.

Jenny Kirwan (me!) enjoying my Stowford Press Cider in the beer garden at the Pineapple, Brimptom Common.
Jenny Kirwan (me!) enjoying my Stowford Press Cider in the beer garden at the Pineapple, Brimptom Common.

Chicken, Spinach, Ricotta and Goats Cheese Cannelloni!

Ready for the oven....Chicken, Spinach, riccotta,goats cheese Cannolloni
Ready for the oven....Chicken, Spinach, ricotta,goats cheese Cannelloni

It’s Saturday morning and I have walked the dogs,  been to the gym (got saturated by a heavy down pour on the way back!!)  walked to the local shops with Steve, read the papers and have done a bit of house work.  The weather is crap…..typical English weather…..wet with occasional sunny intervals and a slight chill to the air.  This is meant to be Summertime!!!!! 

So, I’m preparing Cannelloni for supper tonight.  It will be a well deserved treat.  It’s my own recipe, made with wholewheat Lasagna sheets (‘cos we’re healthy!) and works very well with all the other flavours in the dish. 

I feel like a relaxing quite night so, Saturday night at home in the cottage will be just that….supper in front of a lovely fire with some decent  TV, wonderful.  We’ll walk down to the Pineapple Pub for a drink before hand (raincoat will be a must!) This is rural Hampshire, not much excitement here at the weekend unless you’re invited to a party.  That could be a different story!

  The recipe is quite yummy……..serve with a crisp green salad or on its own with a lovely glass of red wine.   I will post the recipe soon………

  

Ready!...Chicken, spinach, ricotta and goats cheese Cannelloni...you little beauty!
Ready!...Chicken, spinach, ricotta and goats cheese Cannelloni...you little beauty!