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.

Meaty Mac’n’Cheese with Cathedral City

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Cheese. Cheese. CHEEEEEESE!!!!! Do you know what? I think I should have been born a mouse!  I want you to go on a little journey with me. C’mon, it’s easy, just close your eyes… think of a whole block little bite of mature cheddar cheese from the West Country. Think of closing your mouth as your teeth sink into the cold, delicious, taste bud tingling creaminess…..  Oh! Sorry! I lost myself for a moment there! HAHA!  Back to being serious, because that’s what I am (honest!)

Did you know that over 20% of the country eat cheese at least once every 4 days? 55% of us choose the cheeseboard over dessert (I’d have both, if I’m honest, whilst over 65% of the national always have cheese in their fridges?  No wonder it’s the Nation’s favourite ingredient!

So, what better way when the British summer is just beginning and it’s still cold and rainy outside like the deepest, darkest depths of winter, than to make a hearty meal to serve at the dinner table for all to tuck into, because almost two thirds of us prefer to enjoy a meal around the table with family and friends, and what better ingredient to use than Cathedral City mature cheddar cheese?  I know of not one reason why!

Cathedral City Meaty Mac'n'Cheese

  • 15ml Rapeseed oil
  • 100g Pancetta, cubed
  • 2 Chicken breasts, cubed
  • 200g Macaroni
  • 10ml Plain flour
  • 5ml Dijon mustard
  • 50ml Chicken Stock
  • 300ml Creme Fraiche
  • 200g Cathedral City Mature Cheddar cheese
  • Ground black pepper

Cathedral City Meaty Mac'n'Cheese

  • Heat the oven to 200℃.
  • In a large pan, gently heat the oil.
  • Add the pancetta and the cubed chicken breasts and cook for 5-10 minutes until starting to colour.
  • Whilst you’re browning the meat, bring a large pan of water to the boil.
  • Add the macaroni to the pan of boiling water, stir, reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the flour fairly evenly all over the browned pancetta and chicken and stir to coat thoroughly.
  • Add the mustard and the chicken stock and bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
  • Add the creme fraiche and heat through, but do not boil.
  • Grate the cheese (sneak yourself a bite – go on; you’re working hard and you deserve it!  You must also eat that last little, annoying, bit of cheese that you can’t grate if you value your nails and fingertips.

Cathedral City Meaty Mac'n'Cheese

  • Stir through 150g of the grated cheese until melted.
  • Drain the macaroni and stir this through the pan of pancetta, chicken and creamy cheese sauce.
  • Season with pepper to taste.
  • Have another taste, just to make sure that the grating didn’t interfere with the delicious taste of the cheese! Sprinkle (what’s left) of the cheese over the mac’n’cheese.

Cathedral City Meaty Mac'n'Cheese

  • Place into the oven for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden, crispy and bubbling beautifully.

Cathedral City Meaty Mac'n'Cheese

  • Share with the family if you really must, but make sure they leave you some for a indulgent, tasty snack later!

Cathedral City Meaty Mac'n'Cheese

Most importantly, you must always remember the rules of cooking with cheese;

  • Taste a bit as soon as you open the packet.
  • Taste a bit more as you prepare it at every stage of the recipe… just in case!
  • Only share the finished dish, if you really must.
  • Find Cathedral City on Facebook and find out what kind of cheese lover you are.

So, now I’ve shared my #CheeseRules with you because I truly to #LoveCheese tell me what are yours?  C’mon, enjoy cheese and ‘Welcome to the Club’

The recipe was adjusted to feature and include Cathedral City Mature Cheddar Cheese. I received a voucher to purchase ingredients for this recipe.

Lamb steaks with Friars Farm Middle Eastern Marmalade and Potatoes

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Being based in Northamptonshire, Friars Farm, one of the local producers of jams, chutneys and sauces approached me and asked if I’d like to sample some of their products.  Of course being a foodie, and wanting to support local producers, I said yes and I’m thoroughly glad I did too!  They have a fab range of products; the first of which, their Middle Eastern Marmalade, I’m reviewing here. I also used this in a batch of flapjacks that I made, but for that recipe you’ll have to wait a short while…!
1 Red onion
4 Lamb leg steaks
4 tsp Friars Farm Middle Eastern Marmalade
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Sweet potato, peeled
2 Large potatoes, washed but not peeled
1 Knorr chicken stock pot, dissolved in:
280ml Boiling water
145ml Orange juice
2 tsp Mint sauce concentrate
1 Knorr rich beef gravy pot
100ml Double Cream
1. Heat the oven to 150℃.
2. Lay the lamb leg steaks in a single layer on the bottom of a rectangular dish.
3. Spread 1 teaspoon of the Friars Farm Middle Eastern Marmalade over each of the lamb steaks.
4. Season with ground black pepper.
5. Slice the sweet potatoes on setting 3 of a Oxo Hand Held Mandoline and layer on top of the lamb steaks.
6. Slice the potatoes on setting 3 of the mandoline then layer these over the sweet potato and lamb.
7. Mix the chicken stock, orange juice and mint sauce concentrate together.
8. Gently pour this over the lamb and potatoes.
9. Cover the dish with foil.  I run my finger gently around the inside of the dish after covering it which creates a low point, thereby enabling the evaporated juices to drip back down into the dish and retaining the moisture.

10. Place in the centre of the oven and cook for 3 hours.

11.  When cooked, remove from the oven and gently drain the juices into a saucepan.
12. Re-cover and keep warm whilst you make the gravy.

13. Add the beef gravy pot to the saucepan and quickly bring to the boil, whisking to distribute the gravy pot.
14. Add the double cream and gently heat through.
15. Serve a lamb steak with the potato topping on a bed of peas with the gravy poured on top.

I was given a range of products from Friars Farm to try.  I was under no obligation to develop or publish a recipe using their products.

Sweet Potato Fondant

This can be made easily with either sweet potato or normal potatoes, but I really love the added flavour that sweet potatoes bring to a meal and cooked this way is certainly no exception.  It’s incredibly simple and incredibly tasty too.

15ml Rapeseed Oil (I recommend Farrington’s Mellow Yellow)
50g Butter
1 large Sweet potato (enough for one or two slices per person)
1 Knorr Chicken stock pot, dissolved in
75ml Boiling water
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Peel the sweet potato.
2. Cut in to 2cm (1″) thick rounds.
3. Heat the oil and the butter in a pan until the butter is foaming.
4. Add the sweet potatoes to the pan, flat side down and cook for 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown in colour.
5. Carefully add the stock to the pan (it may spit a little, so be careful).
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until tender and cooked through.
8. Serve with some of the cooking liquid spooned over the top.

To add a decorative element to your plate, why not try cutting the potatoes with a shaped metal cookie cutter?  Hearts and flowers for your loved one, or into a character for your children to make mealtimes interesting whilst still giving them one of their 5 a day.

This is the perfect vegetable accompaniment to so many meals and goes beautifully with my Valentine’s Day menu of Fillet Steak in a Worcestershire Cream Sauce.

Enjoy! x