Cottage Pie

img_4217

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.

Review – Patak Chicken Tikka Masala

img_3744

In a hurry?  No time to cook from scratch? Need a quick and tasty dinner cooked straight from the freezer?  Yes, sometimes we all do!

Although I’m not normally one to buy ready meals, sometimes we all have to make sure dinner is on the table quickly if we’re in a rush, and the other night was no exception. As I was late in from work, and rushing to get out the door again, it called for me to have a ‘quick on draw’ dinner.  Luckily, Patak’s had sent me one of their new range of frozen Chicken Tikka Masala ready meals to review so I could get this out of the freezer, into the microwave and on the table in a matter of only 10 minutes, which was hardly time to get changed and ready to go out again!

Patak's Chicken Tikka Masala ready meal

The packaging says it’s medium strength, however I personally think it was quite mild. The chicken was lean and stayed succulent in a generous portion of sauce and the pilau rice stayed in individual grains and not a gloopy lump of stodge. The smell was so tantalising that my husband appeared and miraculously managed to have a fork in his hand to dig in and share my dinner; the cheeky boy!

Patak's Chicken Tikka Masala ready meal

As the mother of a son at Uni, I think this would also make a perfect freezer filler for him during study time when the books are calling and there is less time for him to cook his own curry from scratch.

At 550 Calories per pack, it’s possibly a little higher than I would normally eat, however the saturated fat at 3.4g made it a less of a guilt and more of a pleasure and much more of reasonable calorific intake than a take away curry would.  I’d certainly buy a couple of these as quick stand by dinners for my freezer.

Patak's Chicken Tikka Masala ready meal

Thanks to Patak’s PR company for arranging to send me a sample to review.

 

Jersey Royal Potato and Vegetable Curry

image

One of the recipes I’m sharing with you using the deliciously nutty and seasonal Jersey Royal Potatoes in collaboration with Asda is for a vegetable curry. Inspired from a recipe my husband found online, he’s adapted and cooked this one for me (as I’m currently recovering from having knee surgery a couple of days ago, and therefore not able to stand for periods of time). Thanks Will x

The ingredients aren’t set in stone for this one; add or remove ingredients that you do or don’t like. (I personally don’t like mushrooms, but he does, so they went in and I picked them out of my dinner). The Mange Tout came from our garden, the French beans were reduced in price in our local supermarket as they had to be sold on the day, as was the courgette. All other ingredients we had at home as staples in our cupboards/fridge.  It looks like a lot of ingredients, I know!

  • 30ml Sunflower oil
  • 2.5ml Black Mustard seeds
  • 2.5ml Cumin seeds
  • 2.5ml Fennel seeds
  • 2.5ml Fenugreek seeds
  • 3 Cardamon pods
  • 1 medium Red onion, chopped
  • 1 large White onion, chopped
  • 3 sticks Celery, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2.5cm fresh Ginger, grated
  • 5 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 5ml Salt
  • Medium sweet potato, cubed
  • 10-12 Jersey Royals, cubed
  • 5ml Chilli powder
  • 5ml Turmeric
  • 5ml Cumin
  • 5ml ground Coriander
  • 1 whole Chilli, finely chopped
  • handful of French Beans, sliced in half horizontally
  • 8-10 Mange Tout, sliced in half horizontally
  • 1 cup frozen Peas
  • 1 medium Courgette, diced
  • 50g button Mushrooms, halved
  • Can coconut milk
  • Fresh coriander, chopped.
  1. Prepare all your vegetables as above.  You can keep the following together in bowls as they’ll be added to the curry together in batches:
  • Red and white onions.
  • Celery and carrots.
  • Sweet potato and Jersey Royals.
  • French beans and mange tout.
  • Peas and courgettes.
  • Mushrooms.

(This is how my husband preps his ingredients to cook – I have to leave the kitchen; it’s all too much organisation for me!)

Jersey Royals with Asda

2. In a large saucepan/frying pan with a lid, heat the oil and add your mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and cardamon pods.  Cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse the oil.  The seeds may start to pop as they cook, don’t worry, this is normal.

3. Add the celery and the carrots, stir to coat evenly in the spiced oil and cook on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the ginger, garlic and salt and coat evenly.  Cook gently for 4-5 minutes.

5. Add the sweet potato and the Jersey Royals, stir thoroughly and cook for 2-3 minutes.  If the vegetables start to stick to the pan, add a splash of water to loosen the mixture.

6. Add the chilli powder, turmeric, cumin powder and coriander powder, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.

7. Add the fresh chilli and stir thoroughly.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.

8. Add the French beans, mange tout and stir.  Place the lid on the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

9. Add the frozen peas and diced courgettes.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Jersey Royals with Asda

10. Stir in the mushrooms.  Place the lid on the pan and cook for 5 minutes.

11. Add the coconut milk, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, put the lid on and simmer for 10-12 minutes until the vegetables are all cooked.

Jersey Royals with Asda

12. Finally stir through the chopped coriander and serve with boiled rice.

Jersey Royals with Asda

He cooked this on his little camping stove in the garden to tease the neighbours I think with the delicious smells, but we didn’t invite them to share the meal with us! HAHA!

This recipe is cooked in collaboration with Asda and Jersey Royals to highlight the versatility and great flavour of Jersey Royal potatoes.

National Sandwich Week with the Central Co-Operative

image

Having previously managed the payroll for a very large food manufacture of about 100,000 sandwiches a day many years ago, the invitation from the Central England Co-Operative to create a great sandwich combination using tasty ingredients that could be found in your local store to celebrate National Sandwich week was was right up my street!

As the weather has been very changeable recently, including snow, hailstones, ice, wind and sunshine (and all in one day too!) I decided on a combination of a hot, toasted, sandwich and a lovely salad to go with it. I bought a variety of ingredients including a pack of sandwich thins, Mozzarella cheese, tomato pesto, mixed salad leaves, beautifully sweet Piccolo tomatoes, sweet baby peppers and some delicious mixed root vegetable crips to make my lunch.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
After preparing a really quick salad using the leaves, peppers and tomatoes, I simply tipped some of the root vegetable crisps into a small bowl and set about preparing my toasted sandwich.

Drain the Mozzarella and slice about 5mm thick.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
The Sandwich Thins are pre-sliced so it’s very quick and simple to separate the two halves.  Place a couple of generous teaspoons of the tomato pesto on one side of the bread.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Spread the pesto over the bread into a relatively even layer.  Repeat with the other sandwiches as required.  I made two for lunch today; one each for my husband and myself.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Tear the mozzarella slices into strips and cover the pesto.  I’ve left a small gap around the edges to stop the cheese oozing out (and being wasted) on to my sandwich press. Top with the other half of the Sandwich thin.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Preheat your sandwich maker (I have an Antony Worrall Thompson for Breville flat sandwich press that I’ve had for many years).

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Place your sandwich onto the sandwich maker and close the lid.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Toast for a few minutes until the top is nicely browned and the mozzarella has started to melt.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Slice diagonally using a sharp knife.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Serve with a helping of salad and some of the root vegetable crisps.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Tasty (the sandwich that is!)

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative

I was sent a voucher from the Central England Co-Operative to buy my ingredients to participate in the creation for National Sandwich Week.