I love this cottage pie but I’d forgotten to make it for a while. I seem to forget about comfort food over the summer (unless chocolate counts as a comfort food, in which case I have plenty of it.) This meal is easy to make and my kids eat it.. well, they eat the mince and mashed potatoes and set the rest on my plate The measurements for this are so rough because I tend to just throw stuff in a pan and hope for the best and with this it worked 🙂
Serves 2 adults, 2 kids or 2 hungry people
For the meat:
250g beef mince
2 cloves of garlic
2 small carrots
2 sticks of celery
Beef stock to cover
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Shake of salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ketchup
1 tbsp red wine
For the potatoes:
1 tbsp butter
A splash of milk
A shake of salt
For the topping – grated cheddar cheese
Fry the mince on its own in a pan. Chop an onion, garlic, celery sticks and peel and chop carrots. (Cut the vegetables up small so they cook quicker.) Add to the pan and continue to cook on a medium heat.
When the onions are clear and the veg looks like it is softening, cover the meat with boiling water. I crumble in 1/2 a beef stock cup after doing this and mix it in. Add the wine, Worcester sauce, ketchup, salt, pepper and thyme. Reduce heat and let simmer until carrots and celery are soft. At the end, add in a couple of tbsps of cornflour mixed well with COLD water. (Do this in a cup first.) Stir continuously until sauce has thickened. Turn heat off.
In the meantime, peel potatoes and chop into chunks (so they cook more evenly and quickly.) Put in boiled water with salt and cook on medium heat for about 20 mins. Take potatoes off heat when they are just starting to break apart. Drain and mash with butter and milk. (Sometimes I use an electric mixer to make them extra smooth and creamy.)
Fill an oven dish with the meat mixture. Use a spatula to spread the mashed potatoes on top. Cover generously with grated cheddar. Put in the oven at 180c for 15 minutes to crisp up the cheese. Let it cook until it is browned on top and the sauce is visibly bubbling underneath.
I never use the term “super” but for the sake of sibilance, I’m using it today. So if you think I’ve had a personality transplant, fear not. I made this soup today and it worked out pretty well. It was one of those days where you’re down to three items in the fridge and you either have to improvise or go outside. I chose the former. I usually come up with recipes I like when that happens; maybe I should use that as an excuse to avoid the dreaded weekly food shop and accompanying trolley tantrums.
5 small sweet potatoes (fewer if using larger sized ones)
1 litre chicken stock
1/2 tsp lazy ginger/ small piece grated ginger (it gives warmth without overpowering the soup)
Pinch of salt
Small handful of Coriander
Peel and chip sweet potatoes into fine slices/cubes. Add boiled water and salt, (and ginger if using fresh) bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer to stop sweet potato froth 🙂 Crumble in a chicken stock cube. Cook for 15-20 mins. (Add ginger at this stage if using from a jar.) Add coriander. Blend using a hand blender. Taste to make sure it’s ok before giving it to people and stuff.
A lot of people seem to buy jars of pre-made pizza sauce, which admittedly is probably less effort, but probably costs more and doesn’t taste as good. This sauce is so easy to make and goes particularly well with this pizza dough recipe: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pizza-dough-recipe-1921714
This is the best pizza dough recipe I have found. It tastes as good as takeaway pizza and you can let the dough rise in the fridge overnight if you want to make it the day before. It also freezes really well.
Here is the recipe for sauce (I am hoping all of these measurements are accurate since I typically just throw things at a pot.)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oil
Throw all ingredients in a pot (apart from the oil) and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes until all the flavours have combined.
Take it off the heat and stir in the oil, transfer to a blender and puree as smoothly as you like. I usually do mine in a smoothie maker and it comes out really smooth and a very vibrant colour, but you can use a blender, hand blender or if you have neither, just mash it really well 🙂 This usually makes enough sauce to top three 10 inch pizzas. (You can double the recipe to make a larger quantity.) The sauce also freezes well (just drain off any excess liquid when it defrosts before putting it on the pizza.)
For a really quick pizza use this on pittas, grilled muffins, bagels or make pizza toast for kids 🙂