Last week, I thought I will treat the husband with his favourite meal of all time, sorry.. I meant second favourite. His favourite of all time, the food that is guaranteed to bring him in a better state of mind or to my way of thinking is a good portion of Egg & Bacon. LOL So sorry, I digress. Anyway his second favourite is Shepherd pie/cottage pie.
It was cottage pie that I cooked as I used minced beef. To cook Shepherd pie, the main ingredient would entail the use of minced lamb.
I thought it was fairly easy to do as it was just minced topped with a good dollop of mash. Actually, it was really as easy as that.
It was really delicious too, even if I say so myself. I usually do not like Cottage Pie but this time, I ate as much as the hubby did who declared my effort as the best! Awww… love him!
To make the Cottage Pie, I used the following:
For the Mash Potato:
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1/4 cup milk
Salt & Pepper to taste
Boil the potatoes.
Drain and then mash. (See photo above!)
Add the milk and the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the meaty bits:
3 good size carrots, chopped finely.
1 large onion, chopped finely.
1 red/yellow/green bell pepper, chopped finely.
3 sticks celery, chopped finely.
1 lb minced beef
3 cloves garlic, pulped
3 tbsp Bisto beef gravy granules
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 cup boiling water,
1/2 cup red wine
Heat a fairly large pan.
Add the oil, then the garlic and then the onion.
Add the ground beef. When brown, add the carrot, stir.
Add the celery and the bell pepper. Stir fry some more.
In a pyrex or suitable container, put in the 3 tablespoons of the beef gravy granules. Add a cup of boiling water and stir well so that granules are dissolved thoroughly.
Add this now liquid gravy into the pan of the minced beef.
Bring to the boil.
Now lower down the heat and add the red wine.
Cover the pan and simmer until the liquid has gone down. It takes roughly about 20 minutes or so.
Taste test for saltiness as the gravy granules usually contain enough salt. Just add slightly more salt if required.
Put the meaty concoction in an oven-proof dish.
Top this with the mash potatoes.
With a fork, scour the surface of the mash. Be creative. (I was just too hungry to do more that level the top, LOL)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
In 20-30 minutes, you should have a delicious and filling cottage pie.
This recipe is a lovely Friday night supper which everyone will enjoy.
It is easy and quick to do. Delicious with some steamed green beans.
Fisherman’s Pie Recipe
450g mixed fish such as cod, haddock, salmon
170g cooked prawns, peeled
4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and cut lengthways into quarters
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
110g frozen peas, defrosted
150ml dry white wine
450g mashed potato
175g baby mushrooms, sliced
40g plain flour
125ml double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
Put the fish in a roasting tin and cook in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until opaque and starting to flake. When cool enough to handle, take off the skin, remove any bones and flake the fish into large chunks.
Mix with the eggs, prawns, mushroom, parsley and peas. Put this in a deep oven proof dish.
Heat 30ml of butter in a pan over a medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and gradually add the wine while stirring continuously until thickened. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add this mixture to the fish and give it a quick stir.
Spread the mashed potato on top and dot the butter all over.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and piping hot.
Enjoy with some steamed veggies.
I love apple strudel. Anything with apples and raisins and then baked in a pie is a real winner with me. Delicious, specially drizzled or swimming in warm custard sauce.
Apple strudel is a European specialty. Apparently the original recipe can be found in a Viennese Library.
Below is a recipe from www.theguardian.com
Apple Strudel Recipe
For the pastry:
285g plain flour
1 free-range egg
100g butter, melted
2 tbsp demerara sugar
50g flaked almonds
Icing sugar, to serve
For the filling:
425g russet apples
425g Granny Smith apples
75g currants, soaked for at least a couple of hours in 4 tbsp apple brandy and drained
Grated zest of ½ lemon
50g soft light brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1. To make the pastry, sift the flour on to a clean worksurface and add a pinch of salt, and make a well in the middle. Beat together the egg, water and 1 tsp melted butter and then mix enough of this into the flour to make a soft, sticky dough – add a little at a time so you don’t overdo it, the dough shouldn’t be wet.
2. Now comes the fun bit – repeatedly throw the dough from shoulder height on to the worksurface for 15 minutes until it becomes elastic and loses its stickiness. Wrap it in clingfilm and leave it at room temperature for half an hour while you make the filling.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C, and place a greased baking tray on to the middle shelf. Peel and core the apples, and cut them into chunks. Put these into a large bowl and mix in the rest of the filling ingredients.
4. Clear a large worksurface or table and cover with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper (if it has a strong pattern, that will make your life easier later). Dust lightly with flour, and divide the dough in half. Keep one half wrapped in clingfilm at room temperature while you make the first strudel, then repeat the process with it.
5. Roll out the dough as thinly as possible with a lightly floured pin. When you can’t roll it any more thinly, begin gently stretching it using your whole hands – it will be springy, but keep on going until you can see the pattern of the tea towel (or read some print) through it. Try not to tear it – any small holes can be patched up with excess pastry.
6. Brush the rolled out pastry with butter and sprinkle with half the demerara sugar. Spoon half the filling in a line down one end of the pastry and then, using the tea towel to help you, roll up the pastry into a sausage shape. Repeat with the rest of the pastry and filling.
7. Gently lift both rolls on to the greased baking sheet and curve into a crescent shape. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with flaked almonds, then bake for 30–40 minutes until the pastry is golden and the apples cooked. Dust with icing sugar and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with double cream. Actually I prefer a warm custard sauce to go with my strudel.
125g butter or margarine, softened
125g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
125g self raising flour
1 can halved peaches
1 can halved pears
1 tsp vanilla
Chocolate for piping and decorating
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Beat in the eggs.
Sift the flour.
Cream the butter and the sugar together until pale. Use an electric mixer if one is available.
Gradually add the flour and the eggs into the butter and sugar mix. Also add the vanilla essence.
Add a little milk if the batter is too stodgy or thick.
Put the sponge batter into a baking tin. Level using a spatula.
Arrange the pears and peaches on top of the batter (see above photo) and bake fro 25-30 minutes. Insert a clean knife into the batter. If the knife comes out clean, it is cooked.
Let is cool and drizzle with chocolate.
Serve with cream or ice-cream!
Chicken & Mushroom Pie
2 tbsp olive oil
8 chicken boneless chicken thighs
8 rashers streaky bacon, cut into large pieces
250g button mushrooms, quartered
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
400ml chicken stock
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
freshly ground white pepper
small handful fresh parsley, chopped
500g ready-made short-crust pastry (they are so useful)
1 free-range egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade or Gas mark 7.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper then add the chicken to the pan and fry until the chicken begins to turn golden in all sides.
- Take out the chicken from the pan onto a plate. Add the bacon into the pan and cook until brown.
- Add the mushrooms and continue to fry until golden.
- Add the onion and garlic and fry for another 2-3 minutes or until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside with the chicken and mushrooms.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly until it has formed a thick smooth paste.
- Mix the milk and stock together in a jug, then add the nutmeg, white pepper and salt, to taste. Pour the liquid slowly into the flour mixture, whisking all the time until smooth. Simmer over a gentle heat, stirring constantly, for about five minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- Stir in the chopped parsley and pour the sauce over the chicken and mushroom mixture. Mix well, then spoon into a pie dish and leave until completely cool.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is the thickness of a pound coin. Brush the edges of the pie dish with beaten egg, lay the pastry on top, press down the edges and trim. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and cut some leaf shapes out of the left-over pastry to decorate the top of the pie.
- Make two or three slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape and then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden-brown on top.
Treacle Tart Recipe a la Mary Berry
For the pastry
250g/9oz plain flour
130g/4½oz butter, plus extra for greasing
For the filling
400g/14oz golden syrup
150g/5½oz fine fresh white breadcrumbs
2 lemons, zest and juice
1 free-range egg, beaten, to use as egg wash
First make the short crust pastry: measure the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (alternatively, this can be done in a food processor).
Add about three tablespoons of cold water and mix to a firm dough, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and put a heavy baking tray in the oven to heat up. Grease a deep 18cm/7in loose-bottomed fluted flan tin with butter.
Remove about 150g/5½oz of pastry from the main ball and set aside for the lattice top.
Roll the rest of the pastry out thinly on a lightly floured work surface and line the prepared flan tin with the pastry.
Prick the base with a fork, to stop the base rising up during baking.
Place the reserved pastry for the lattice top on cling film and roll out thinly. Egg wash the pastry and set aside to chill in the fridge (the cling film makes it easier to move about). Do not cut into strips at this stage. Do not egg wash the strips once they are on the tart as it will drip into the treacle mixture.
To make the filling, heat the syrup gently in a large pan but do not boil.
Once melted, add the breadcrumbs, lemon juice and zest to the syrup. (You can add less lemon if you would prefer less citrus taste.) If the mixture looks runny, add a few more breadcrumbs.
Pour the syrup mixture into the lined tin and level the surface.
Remove the reserved pastry from the fridge and cut into long strips, 1cm/½in wide. Make sure they are all longer than the edges of the tart tin.
Egg wash the edge of the pastry in the tin, and start to make the woven laying lattice pattern over the mixture, leave the strips hanging over the edge of the tin.
Once the lattice is in place, use the tin edge to cut off the strips by pressing down with your hands, creating a neat finish.
Bake on the pre-heated baking tray in the hot oven for about 10 minutes until the pastry has started to colour, and then reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/Gas 4. If at this stage the lattice seems to be getting too dark brown, cover the tart with tin foil.
Bake for a further 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden-brown and the filling set.
Remove the tart from the oven and leave to firm up in the tin.
Serve warm with cream or custard or cold with ice-cream.
The one that I really look forward to on Christmas day is the dessert. This is really the time of year that you can have as many desserts as you like without feeling guilty about the calories, that comes the next day… 😉
We really went the full hog this year. I made a lot and overshopped. I still have some in the cupboard and fridge really to be made but that can wait for the Media Noche, New Year celebration.
Below are just some of the delicious dessert on our Christmas table.
Dessert Christmas Table
With the leche flan, I am very pleased to say that I am getting better at making them. I had a bit of a disaster with making the caramel topping. I did not expect that it would take so long. So I started again my making it with a cup of sugar and cooked it dry until it turned brown and then dark brown and caramelly. That was a good result. The other pan with a cup of sugar with a cup of water did turn caramelly but it was just to late for my leche flan. I set it aside as I thought I might make more leche flan as it is much sought after in our family.
Peter was very happy with the end result of the Leche flan and so did I.
By the way, when I went back to the other caramel, it was rock solid and I had to throw it away and the milk pan it was cooked in.
Eton Mess was gorgeous, it was creamy and crunchy. It was made of lashing of cream with broken meringue pieces.
I am very proud of this gelatin a la Filipino. It really tasted gorgeous. Peter has said that I had to make it again for him. We loved it. It was a jelly but has a more bite to it. We made it with sliced fresh strawberries and strawberry jelly powder. We added the evaporated milk and it turned out perfect.
An English Christmas table is not complete without something from Marks and Spencer. We therefore had this delicious and sumptuous Black Forest gateaux. My grandson loved his first taste but had to surrender when he got into a piece of cherry. Apparently, the cherries are abomination to the creamy concoction. hahaha
We had a really yummy and most of all Happy Christmas. The family, despite flu and cold, managed to have a joyous celebration of Christmas and I think that was due to the food on the table.