What I ate… Cottage pie

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I love a nice warming portion of cottage pie. Proper comfort food and doesn’t take too long to make.

Serves 4 humans or 2 gannets.


500g steak mince
1 onion
1 large carrot
2 cloves garlic
1 squeeze tomato purée
600g potatoes
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Hard cheese
Oil for frying
200ml water
30g butter
Splash of milk


Peel and chop your potatoes and place them in a pan of boiling water.

Chop the garlic, carrot and onion finely and bung in a saucepan with a bit of oil on a low heat until softened.

Push the softened vegetables to the side of the pan and add the mince bit by bit. Increase the heat a little until mince starts to brown.

Add the flour, tomato purée, salt, pepper and cumin (I know but trust me) to the pan and stir it in. Everything will start to get a little sticky and hard to stir so now is the time to add the water. Keep stirring until there there are no weird lumps. Put a lid on the saucepan and leave to bubble away on a low heat.

Want to bulk this up? Add a handful of lentils or porridge oats if you are feeling thrifty or chopped bacon if you’re not. By the end of the procedure nobody will notice the lentils or oats as they take on the flavour of the meat.

Once the potatoes are boiled, drain them and mash them with butter and a bit of milk.

Decant your mince and veg mix into an ovenproof bowl and spread out evenly. Top with the mashed potato, ensuring that you prioritise covering the entirety of the surface of the dish before then going back and covering any thin areas.

Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Thanks to Christmas overbuying I happen to have a fridge full of a  variety of cheese so I’ve gone for a nice mix of mature Cheddar and Double Gloucester.

Shove the dish in the oven at gas mark 6/200C/400F for 20 minutes while you work out what veg you’re having. I plumped for peas because it had been a very long day and I couldn’t be bothered faffing with more veg prep.

I enjoyed mine with Bisto gravy made from the pea water. Watch out for the cheese though – it’s roughly the same temperature as lava!

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