Domestic Goddess my arse!

These are the recipes I'm good at... quick, simple, out of the store-cupboard and onto the plate fare. I never spend more than 30 minutes faffing in the kitchen. So there.

This will be my recipe & homemadey remedy diary.

If you have those 'OMG! It's lunchtime and all I've got is a parsnip and a packet of boil in the bag rice.' moments, then you're a kindred spirit and you know that bad planning is often the mother of great food. So welcome to fast slurpy soups and 'really?' salads made from what's left in the fridge.

Never, ever believe there isn't something wonderful to make from the last 3 ingredients in your kitchen. Unless those ingredients really are fairy liquid, eggshells and dead flies.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A proper cook makes Cottage Pie | Guest Post

 I give you The Cottage Pie Maker and The Cottage Pie Scoffer!
I was up 'That London' last week. Staying at perfect pal's little apartment at the base of the gert big spike. The view of the Shard at the end of the street on leaving her block made my heart soar to the top and fly about with the pigeons -  marvelous thing. 

So Perfect Pal has featured here before, that Pea Swoop didn't just arrive from the planet Pod you know. Well this time I was treated to the most delicious Cottage Pie - I've ever eaten. Now the caveat here is that this pie was helped along with a proper gravy - this pal is a real cook - she makes real gravy. However don't worry too much about that - we can bash out an old favorite just be following her instructions.

Be warned: Miss Kim is not given to convention. I didn't take a picture of the pie - too greedy for it! I do have a pic of me and the excellent woman in question. 

Here's The Recipe/Method/Brilliance of Kim's Perfect Cottage Pie

Good beef mince.  I think, hell, buy at least 500g and just freeze the extra once you’ve cooked it (if there’s extra!)

Onion, garlic, carrot, celery.  If you’re doing it right.  Just onion if not, obvs.  Chop and fry whatever you do use (blitzing in processor gets it nice and fine and saves time).  Use more oil than that!  More than that!  
Then add mince and worry it around for a bit.  Nothing too baroque.  Doesn’t really matter if it’s still a bit pink.  Add some stock – I dunno, less than half a pint but maybe not too much less.  You want to end up with it nice and juicy but not runny.  Cook gently for a while once you’ve bunged in all the other nice flavourings, which are/can be

A scooch of tomato puree, and some herbs - thyme at least.  Fresh parsley if you’re being extra.  And a little bloop of any of the following: lea and perrins, oyster sauce, cinnamon/mixed spice, star anise, one type of booze ie sherry, brandy, red wine, madeira (who am I fucking kidding here) maggi or soy sauce, redcurrant jelly, wing of bat and eye of newt.  You know.  Use your judgement!  None of these is essential, they will just make it taste better than bloody plain mince, right?

Cook your potatoes and mash them.  This is always better done by steaming than boiling but boiling will do, obvs.  Make sure they are drained and dried out enough before mashing – which means letting them sit and steam in a colander for a bit.  Then chuck in a load of stuff like butter and cream.  And some salt, pepper, nutmeg.    Mash innit.  Go hard or go home.  And I know you’re already home but you get the point.  We are not talking simple refuelling here, we are talking mass adoration.  

I don’t need to explain what happens next do I?

Grated cheese on top before cooking.  Yes gruyere or parmesan or both or at least strong good cheddar.  Shouldn’t take long in a nice hot oven (200) if you’ve only just made the mix and the mash.  15 minutes to get it looking right. 

You can also make it up any ole time beforehand and if you cook it from fridge cold it may take 40 minutes to be ready. 

Aaaaaaaaaaand bask.....

Reproduced with kind permission from Kim Farley | Mistress of the Kitchen 
Jan 2014

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