Saturday, 28 September 2013

Cottage pie

The other day in the grocery store, the Culinary Consultant pointed out to me that the butter brand I usually use had a campaign where you got a enamel pie dish with two packs of butter for a rather reasonable price. I thought the traditional blue lined white enamel dish was rather cute, and I needed butter anyways so I thought it was a good deal. In addition I think it was the Culinary Consultant's way of pointing out to me that I should cook more pies. The dish came with a recipe for Cottage pie. I'm quite set in my cooking ways, and I cook the food I am used to, which basically is what my Mum used to cook for us when we were kids. Obviously I have added a lot of things to it, but my comfort food is what my mum used to cook for me. I have tried to get a bit into cooking English dishes as well, as I know that's what my Culinary Consultant grew up with and what he likes most. I have practiced Sunday roasts, roast veg and roast chicken has become a staple in our diet.
Today I thought I might as well continue my journey into the world of English food. I decided to give the Cottage pie a try, as we had a big bag of delicious potatoes from the Culinary Consultant's dad's own allotment which needed using up. And obviously, I wanted to use my new, cute pie dish. 
Cottage pie (serves 4):
butter or olive oil for cooking
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 large carrot
1 stick of celery
400 g beef mince
small glass of red wine
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (I substituted by dried thyme)
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp tomato puree (I substituted with tomato ketchup)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp plain flour
250 ml beef stock
40 g butter (30 g + 10 g separated)
750 g floury potatoes (eg. Maris Piper)
2 tbsp milk
The howto:
Peel and roughly chop the potatoes. Heat up water in a large saucepan, and cook until tender in salted water. Meanwhile, chop onion and garlic, and roughly chop the carrot and celery. Heat oil or butter in a deep pan or casserole dish and cook onion and garlic on medium heat until soft, about 5 min. Add the carrot and celery, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so. Turn up the heat and add the mince, break it up with a fork and cook until browned. Add the red wine and thyme, and cook until most of the wine has evaporated. At this point, also pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C. Add the bay leaf, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, flour and beef stock to the mince and cook for about 20 minutes.  If too much of the liquid evaporates, add more beef stock (or as I did, red wine. More red wine can never hurt, right?). When the potatoes have cooked, mash them together with the milk and 30 g butter. Transfer the mince into an oven proof dish, and cover with the mash. Fluff the mash with a fork, and dot the remaining 10 g of butter over the top. Cook for about 30 minutes until the top of the pie is golden.
The verdict:
I didn't expect to like the Cottage pie as much as I did. It was really tasty, although I did end up pouring in about a quarter of a bottle of red wine in there. I don't think I have ever had Cottage pie before, so I wasn't quite sure if it ended up tasting right, but the Culinary Consultant assured me that it turned out as expected. It was a really hearty minced meat stew with a delicious gravy, topped by the fluffy potatoes which are lovely and crisp on the top.
If you want to watch your carbs, you can replace some of the potatoes with other root veg, such as swede or carrot. Or you can even make the mash entirely out of cauliflower.
Card of the day:
Today's card is the recent birthday card I made for my Mum. I stamped the Stampin Up Swallowtail stamp and heat embossed with Papermania Copper embossing powder. The background is Tim Holtz embossed with a Spellbinders Garden Delight folder. I then used Tim Holtz distress markers (Aged Mahogany, Worn Lipstick, Victorian Velvet, Spun Sugar and Bundled Sage) to colour the butterfly.I fussycut the butterfly with scissors. The sentiment is from the Tim Holtz Grunge Cirque stamp set. I coloured the stamp using Tim Holtz distress markers Worn Lipstick, Bundled Sage and Aged Mahogany. I used a Hobbycraft border punch to create the heart borders and inked with Spun Sugar Distress ink. I used the same ink on the doily. For finishing touches, I added pink organza ribbon and green bakers twine, green rhinestones for the sentiment and finally some Ranger Ice Stickles in Coffee Ice on the butterfly. I really love the swallowtail stamp, expect to see some more of it shortly.

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