I was asked to select a recipe from the Netmums Website, cook it and blog about it for British Food Week. I was really rather overexcited as I became a member of Netmums not long after we arrived in the UK five and a half years ago. It's a great resource for parents, not just Mums, with loads of great articles imparting advice and wisdom to those who seek it.
Anyway, on with the cooking! The recipe I chose was Shepherds Pie because it is one of my favourite standby recipes and one I know my family, and others, will devour without complaint.
Here's the Netmums version of Shepherds Pie:
500g lean minced beef or lamb
1 chopped onion
4 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g tin of tomatoes
1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp mixed herbs
Place the meat in a large frying pan and heat gently, stirring frequently, until the meat begins to brown. Drain off any fat that comes out of the meat (if you do this down your sink ensure that you have the hot tap on a the same time to avoid the solidifying fat clogging up your sink drain).
Add the onions carrots and garlic and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil.
Add the Worcestershire sauce and herbs cover the pan and simmer gently for 25 mins giving it the occasional stir.
Meanwhile cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender, then drain and mash, mixing in the butter.
Turn the meat into an ovenproof dish. Add on the mashed potato and smooth over.
Cook in a preheated oven at 200C for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown.
Add a tin of baked beans to the mixture if you've got extra people staying for supper; it also adds a nice flavour. Use parsnips or mushrooms instead of the carrots. For a vegetarian option, use Quorn or veggie mince and vegetarian Worcester sauce. Don't cook the mince first though - add with the stock and tomatoes. For a tasty, crispy topping add a little grated cheese over the mash potato for the last 10 mins of cooking time.
Here's how I got on:
I made this recipe for a friends family at her house and put then put it in the fridge for her to bake when she and her family got home. She has recently had a baby and they went off to visit relatives for the day. I cleaned her house from top to bottom and left her a nice dinner in the fridge, on the condition she took a photo of it before they ate it.
I browned the mince and then sweated off the vegetables. I then followed the rest of the recipe to prepare the mince mixture. I had to leave out the tomatoes as her husband has a great aversion to them, so I just used a little more stock instead.
Once the mince was ready I spooned it into a pyrex dish.
Then I topped the mince mixture with mashed potato.
I put it in her fridge and she baked it in the oven when they got home. Here's her photo of the finished Sheperds Pie before they dished it up and ate it all.
She reported back that it was really tasty and there were no leftovers at all because they all had seconds. A great result!
Do check out the huge variety of recipes on the Netmums site, there are some others I'm going to try out as well. Happy cooking!