Cottage Pie

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The summer is at an end, the nights are drawing in and it’s getting darker slightly earlier each evening.  You can see the leaves turning their amazing hues of yellow, gold and red almost in front of your eyes, and there’s a distinct nip in the air to be felt.  Shortly we’ll be putting our clocks back and that will signify the real start of the dark nights ahead until the promise of spring joins us once more.

At this time of year, what better meal to enjoy then a hearty Cottage Pie?  Good quality, lean minced beef. Thick and delicious gravy enrobing the meat, topped off with a delightful, buttery soft mashed potato.  It’s not a pretty dish for the eyes to behold, but it sure is a tasty one! Am I making you hungry yet?

Cottage pie with Albert Bartlett potatoes

I used 5% lean Angus Steak mince from Lidl and British grown Albert Bartlett potatoes (which I love for their taste and light, fluffy texture when cooked.  Both of which have the Red Tractor mark of quality.  To enjoy a meal as tasty as this, you’ll need:

  • 15ml Rapeseed oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 500g Lean minced beef
  • 1 Knorr onion gravy pot
  • 200ml Boiling water
  • 50ml Red wine
  • 10ml Worcester sauce
  • 10ml Dried parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to season
  • 4 Large Adrian Bartlett Potatoes, peeled & cut into 2-3cm pieces
  • 100g Butter, cubed
    1. Heat your oven to 200℃.
    2. Gently heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion until soft, but not browned.
    3. Add the mince and cook until browned.
    4. Mix the stock pot with the boiling water, red wine and Worcester sauce, then add this to the mince along with the parsley.
    5. Bring to the boil and season to taste.
    6. Turn the heat down low and simmer, stirring occasionally, whilst you cook your potatoes.

Cottage pie with Albert Bartlett potatoes

  1. Add your potatoes to a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook until soft.
  2. Drain the potatoes, add the cubed butter, season and mash them really well (no lumps are welcome in this recipe!).
  3. Pour the minced beef in to an ovenproof dish, then scoop the potatoes on top.
  4. Spread out the potatoes to an even layer and rough the surface with a fork to allow parts of the potato topping to brown more than others.
  5. Place the cottage pie in the oven and cook for 20 minutes until the top is a rich golden brown, and the gravy is just oozing up between the potatoes and the dish.

Cottage pie with Albert Bartlett potatoes

  1. Remove from the oven and serve with generous amounts of vegetables.

Cottage pie with Albert Bartlett potatoes

Don’t forget, that when dinner tastes this good, it’s perfectly OK to go back for seconds.

This recipe was not sponsored or endorsed by either Lidl UK or by Adrian Bartlett potatoes.

Ragley Hall Game Fair with debbie&andrew’s Sausages

The third Ragley Hall Game Fair runs from 29th – 31st July in Alcester, Warwickshire. Here you’ll find a whole weekend of family fun to enjoy with over 900 exhibits including falconry, country crafts, guns, fishing, country fashion, food and drink and which is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors to the event, you’re sure to enjoy an amazing day (or two) out.  Ragley Hall has a long lineage which dates back to 1680 and is one of the Midland’s most magnificent houses with an estate covering an area of 6,500 acres.

This year debbie&andrew’s will be cooking up their tasty wheat, gluten and dairy free sausages where you can sample their newest of recipes from Sweet Chilli or Curried Chicken and Mango sausages to their original 97% Harrogate pork sausages.   You’ll also have the chance to enter competitions and find out about their ‘bangers&cash’ micro sponsorship scheme, offering up to £1,000 to any community fundraisers that bring ‘A Real Taste of the Country’ to life!

The newest sausages in their range: Sweet Chilli has a spicy hint of heat delivered by chipotle chillies and juicy red bell peppers, perfectly balanced with a drop of blossom honey and a sprinkling of demerara sugar, whilst the Curried Chicken and Mango Sausage was the creation of a debbie&andrew’s fan and was selected from over 2,000 entries in the #MakeMySausage challenge to make a sausage from your favourite food.   Clearly the Coronation Chicken based recipe was a clear favourite! A blend of chicken breast, with a slight hint of curry and bits of sweet mango is the perfect combination (and I can personally vouch for it tasting really rather nice, too!)

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They have a huge range of flavours and products now available, and all their pork is Food Standard Assured ‘Red Tractor’. You can find further details on their site {HERE}.  Their sausages are currently available through Amazon Fresh, Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Tesco and are priced between £2.00 and £3.50.

If you can’t get to the show, you don’t have to miss out on the sizzle!  Simply enter my competition to win 1 of 5 sizzling sausage supper kits, worth £25.00.  This includes a recipe book with debbie&andrew’s favourite sausage recipes, a cool bag and free sausage vouchers.  With the recipe book in hand and debbie&andrew’s delicious Perfect Pork, Perfect Cumberland or Harrogate 97% Pork sausages in the fridge, you’re sure to sail through the summer BBQ season!   To enter simply email the answer to the question below, along with your name and delivery address, to dandacompetition@freycob.co.uk by midnight on Friday 29th July 2016. 

What do debbie&andrew’s promise?

  1. A Real Taste of the Country
  2. A Real Taste of the Countryside
  3. A Real Taste of a Country Kitchen

For more information on debbie&andrew’s as well as information on their charity products, visit their website www.debbieandandrews.co.uk

Good luck!

This competition is sponsored by debbie&andrew’s and the prize is provided by them directly.  Winners will be drawn at random from all correct answers received prior to midnight on Friday 29th July 2016 and will be contacted by email within 3 business days.  Failure to respond to the winning email by midnight on Friday 5th August will result in forfeiture of the competition prize and will result in the prize being awarded to an alternative winning entry.

 

Elderflower Cordial

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Such a simple drink to make, using only 5 ingredients.  Elderflowers are synonymous with the start of the British summer and are in season for such a short spell of time, that it’s a shame to waste those fragrant blossoms when making cordial from them is such a simple thing to do.

Elderflower Cordial

You need to pick the elderflowers on a warm, dry day, allowing any dew to evaporate before picking. Make sure that you only pick heads that have just opened and are still the beautiful creamy colour, without any of the flowers starting to turn brown. Find a nice country lane or hedgerow, away from busy traffic routs that could taint and the delicate blossoms with chemicals.

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 2kg granulated sugar
  • 2 Lemons
  • 20 Elderflower heads
  • 85g Citric acid
  1. Pick the heads and very gently shake any bugs free from them.
  2. In a large saucepan, add the water and the sugar.  Gently heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Using a potato peeler, pare the lemon zest from the lemons and slice the lemons into ½cm thick rounds.

Elderflower Cordial

4. In a large bowl, add some cold, clean water and gently swish the elderflower heads to remove any remaining insects.  VERY GENTLY shake the excess water off them.

5. Snip the elderflowers from the stalks (to leave too much stalk on them can leave a bitter taste).

Elderflower Cordial

6. Bring the water and sugar syrup to a boil and turn off the heat.

7. To the sugar syrup, add the elderflower heads, lemon zest, lemon rounds and citric acid.  Stir well.

8. Place the lid onto the saucepan and leave, covered and undisturbed, for 24 hours.

9. Line a colander with two layers of muslin and drain the cordial through into a clean bowl.

10. Squeeze the muslin to extract all of that delicious cordial. Discard the lemons and elderflowers.

11. Pour the cordial into clean, sterilised Kilner bottles.

Elderflower Cordial

This will keep for up to about 6 weeks in the fridge.  You can also freeze the cordial in ice cube trays/bags for use later.

To sterilise the bottles, you can either wash them and dry them, upside down in a warm oven, or wash them through your dishwasher cycle.

Jersey Royals are in season

Jersey Royals are a delicious, nutty flavoured, little new potato, grown exclusively on the beautiful British island of Jersey, just off the west coast of France. They’re naturally fertilised with Vraic (seaweed) that is washed up on the shores from the tidal flows and have been grown on Jersey for over 130 years.  The majority of these tasty little morsels are still hand lifted from the ground by the island’s 20 major farmers. They’re high in vitamin C and fibre as well as containing less calories than both pasta and rice. They have less fat than cous cous and they’re gluten free too. Their slow releasing carbohydrates make them perfect for a low GI diet; keeping your fuller for longer thereby keeping hunger at bay.

In order for potatoes to be sold as Jersey Royals, they must be grown on the island and they have been awarded EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), thereby ensuring their provenance and integrity.  Jersey grows, harvests and exports between 30-40,000 tonnes per year, and at the peak season in May, can export up to 1,500 tonnes per day!  That’s a whole lot of potatoes!!!!

Jersey Royals with Asda

So, what can you do with Jersey Royals then?  Well, they’re absolutely perfect for boiling, steaming or roasting in their skins. Having cold with a salad, enrobed in creamy garlic infused mayonnaise, sprinkled gently with freshly chopped chives. Alternatively, why not make a delicious vegetable curry with them?

I’ve got two recipes to share with you, both featuring delicious Jersey Royals, and both of which are completely different to each other.  See my posts for a tasty Jersey Royal and Vegetable Curry or a delicious roast leg of lamb steaks with oven roasted Jersey Royals.

This and my recipe posts were sponsored by Asda & Jersey Royals for which I was provided with a gift voucher to purchase ingredients to make my meals.