My husband’s flight was cancelled last night. He should have been home but, instead, he was in a soulless hotel, waiting for the fog to clear, so he could make his way back home. So I thought a cottage pie would be perfect for dinner tonight. To welcome him home, to nourish and to comfort. As Cathy Bramley writes in her serial novel, Appleby Farm, “It is like a big hug. Right there on the plate.”
Recipe for Cottage Pie
- Take 500g of beef mince* and brown it in a large, heavy based pan with a glug of oil (I used a hob and oven proof pan so I could brown the meat and vegetables then place it in the oven once the mash was on top – saves on washing up!).
- Dice one onion, one clove of garlic, one leek, one carrot and one pepper (or vegetables of your choice). Add to the pan and fry off for a few minutes.
- Pour over one tin of chopped tomatoes, two tins of water, one beef stock cube, a few teaspoons tomato puree, a hefty glug of Worcestershire sauce and a teaspoon of marmite. Season.
- Simmer until thickened, about 20 – 30 minutes.
- In the meantime peel about 1.5kgs of potatoes and place on to boil.
- Once they are soft, drain, add a healthy knob of butter and mash.
- Scoop onto the top of the beef mixture, spread out, add a few dots of butter and place into a high oven to brown.
- Serve. And there you have it. A hug on a plate.
* You could also use lamb mince and make a shepherd’s pie.