Sunday, 24 October 2010

Let's Eat Blog Hop

Hello! If you're new here and you've found me through the hop then welcome! I bet you had a great time at Mel's place, and I hope you'll enjoy reading about one of my favourite meals. If you're a regular visitor then I'm pleased to see you again, and I hope you like this foodie post.

To start with I'm going to take you back to when I was about 13, and being a difficult teenager by declaring myself a vegetarian. I can't remember what prompted this, it might have been that I was copying a friend, it might have been that I'd just re-read Daggie Dogfoot (a pig story by Dick King Smith), and decided I didn't want to be eating the characters I loved. Whatever it was, I was certain I was a vegetarian from then on.

It lasted about a week. My mum had been quite patient about me eating a lot of cheese sandwiches and veggie pizza etc, but then one night she forgot (that's her story and she's sticking with it), and she cooked my favourite meal. I smelt it cooking from my bedroom, and stomped down to the kitchen to rant at her. My wonderful mum didn't pack me off to my bedroom for being ungrateful, like she probably should have, but instead she offered to cook me something different. But it was too late by then. My mouth was watering from the scent of it, and I knew I didn't have the willpower to turn it down. I really admire anyone who is a vegetarian, as I've tried again since then and something always tempts me back to meat eating.

Anyway, here it is, that tempting meal that threw me back into carnivore status:

Sheperds Pie with Baked Beans

Now, firstly I should point out that this meal uses beef mince, not lamb, and so some people might be confused at it being called Sheperds pie instead of Cottage pie. But I've never called it Cottage pie in my life, so I won't start now!


-600g White Potatoes
-250g Beef Mince Meat
-Half of a 420g tin of Baked Beans
-One small white cooking onion (optional)
-Large Knob of Butter
-Dash of Milk
-Olive oil
-Pinch of Salt
-Cracked Black Pepper
-Bisto Gravy (150ml)
-Pinch of Salt
-Worcestershire Sauce


-Large Saucepan
-Frying Pan
-Pyrex Dish (big enough to hold at least 2 pints of water—test with a jug)
-Spatula, masher, & large spoon with no slots (to dish up)
-Slotted Spoon
-Jug for Gravy

To Cook:

Fill a large saucepan with water and put it onto boil (on high heat).

Peel and chop potatoes for mash, put them into the saucepan once it's boiling. Put a frying pan on a medium heat hob. Add a small dollop of oil.

Once the frying pan is hot start cooking the mince, using a spatula to break it up. If you are using an onion you can chop this up and add it when the meat is broken up and starting to take a little colour.

Turn on the oven to 200 degrees C to warm up. Don’t forget to stir the spuds.

Make sure the mince is cooked through. There should be no big lumps and it should all now be grey/brown in colour (ie. Not pink). Take it off the heat and transfer to the pyrex dish. If trying to make it healthy you can drain off the excess fat first.

When the potatoes are done take them off the heat and drain.

Boil the kettle. When boiled mix approx 150ml (a quarter of a pint) of bisto gravy - mix it gently with a fork whilst you pour the kettle so you don’t get lumps, mix faster once you’ve put the kettle down until all the granules disappear.

Mix the baked beans with the mince (and onion if using) in the pyrex dish (if the beans have a lot of sauce drain some off first.)

Mix gravy into beans and mince. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and a glug of worcestershire sauce.

Mash the potatoes with a large knob of butter and a little milk (or olive oil if you prefer). Also a pinch of salt and pepper.

Now add the mash in dollops to the top of the mince mixture. Try to do it evenly otherwise you’ll have more mash at one end and the gravy will ooze out the other.

Press down gently to fill in the holes but leave it uneven on top so that you get crispy bits. Your pie will crisp up better if the mash is right at the top edge of your dish, but don't worry if it's not (mine isn't usually).

Put it in the oven on the middle or top shelf, and leave to cook for 20-30 mins. You may want to put a baking tray on the shelf underneath, to catch any gravy that oozes out, mine often does. Also, if you want to give the mash extra crispyness on top you could grill it for a couple of mins at the end, but watch closely so it doesn't burn.

Dish it up, and serve with bread and butter, and/or peas and carrots.

Note: This is for 2 greedy people! It will easily serve 3, maybe even four if you're cooking vegetables with it. Or you could save some and re-heat in the microwave the next day. Also: If you want to increase the recipe for more people you can just add more ingredients (eg. 2 x ingredients for 4 people, 3 x ingredients for 6 people etc, but you will need a bigger pyrex dish, or 2 dishes. This will also increase the oven cooking time, if using 2 dishes it will increase by 5-10mins, if using a bigger dish 15-30mins extra. Just keep checking it!

Hope you don't mind that my recipe is quite rustic. I know baked beans aren't to everyone's taste but I love them!

Your next stop along the blog hop trail is Liberty Cottage. Have a great time! If you get lost anywhere along the way, then head back to Amy's for a list of all the blogs taking part. xxx


Rachel Brett said...

This post made me smile Jen, I did the exact same thing when I was 14, Because my friend was a veggie! It lasted about two years and I suddenly fancied a burger! Lol! Great recipe :)

furrypig said...

Yummy that is my sort of comfort food and I always add baked beans and always call it Shepherds pie even if it's a veggie version!! LOL Thanks xxx

Amy said...

Fantastic ... the dish that turned you! ;-)
I use beef mince and call the dish Shepherd's Pie as well, I think this might be on the list to cook this week - my kids love this!

scrappyjacky said...

I can vouch for this recipe being delicious [and we call it Shepherds pie as well!!] it's one I often make....sometimes add some frozen peas into it as well.The mash is delicious with a bit of grated cheese added as well.

Anne said...

I love rustic food. In winter especially it's perfect. I haven't tried this with beans but my husband loves them so I will try this. I loved the way you explained the utensils you'll need. It reminded me of Jamie Oliver starting his 30 mnute meals with all the equipment laid out.

Miriam said...

the ultimate comfort food! minus the beans for me though!

JO SOWERBY said...

yummy looking dinner. i have to say i'd be a terror and not put in the beans cos i dont love those but the rest would be fab. thanx for sharing
Jo xxxx

Anonymous said...

I have never had it with baked beans. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

Sian said...

Brilliant story - I love that photo, I'd recognise that smile anywhere! We love shepherds pie here. Delicious.

Ruth said...

Yum! That recipe takes me straight back to childhood!

Anonymous said...

Shepard's Pie is one of my husband's favorites, but I've never seen a recipe that included baked beans (also a favorite) so he should love this!

alexa said...

Looks lovely - have a DH who adores beans!

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Oh my goodness, this looks really yummy!!! And thanks for sharing your memory that goes with it. I have a friend who is vegan - doesn't eat meat OR dairy products. I could probably go without meat, but I could never give up my cheese!!!

Tracy said...

I dont like baked beans, unless they are in mince so this would be perfect for me!

humel said...

I love that you included a photo of yourself as a child to illustrate the story :-) I was vegetarian for about 12 years - I must tell that story on my blog some time!

The recipe looks great, and now I know what to do with the other packet of Quorn mince I found in my freezer.... xx

humel said...

I should clarify that I'm no longer vegetarian - the Quorn mince is for The Boy, who eats very little meat!

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

FanTastic! will love giving this a go :) thx Jennifer and for visiting FHC earlier - glad you stopped by & for your chat :)

Beverly said...

What a great comfort food and what a wise mother ;)

emhowl said...

I'll be trying this - thank you.

Maria Ontiveros said...

My husband has been a vegetarian for 30 years. He jokes that he cant stop now because his mom will say it was just a phase.

Liberty :) said...

oh dear, I detest baked beans but I'm sure bean lovers everywhere will be pleased with this. I will try it for my husband!

Lea said...

Yummmmy. I love Shepherds Pie!!!

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