Saturday, 17 March 2012

English Cottage Pie Recipe

Hi chefs

You know everyone loves a good cottage pie and I'm no exception. I haven't actually prepared one before and because my girlfriend has only tried it once, so I thought that it's time to see what recipes are out there. The only cottage pie I have seen being made was that of my Nan's. I can only just about remember it. As it goes, it's probably also the first cottage pie I have ever tried and I have to say it was very simple and tasty. But I knew that there might be a bit more to add to a cottage pie recipe. So I went to my go to cookery site, the BBC Good Food website and searched for cottage pies. Quite a few different types of cottage pies and alternative pies turned up, but I choose this one, because I liked the look of it and there were a few more ingredients in there that interested me. This is not to say that I won't be posting my Nan's cottage pie as her recipe is the perfect meal, if you don't have much time on your hands, but if you have a spare couple of hours then this recipe is definetly worth it. It turned out very tasty indeed.

What you need (serves 4-6 people):
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 1/4 mince beef
2 onions finely chopped
3 carrots chopped
2 celery sticks chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp tomato puree
large glass red wine optional
850ml beef stock
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
a few sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves

for the mash:
1.8kg potatoes
225ml milk
25g butter
200g strong mature cheddar, grated

What to do:
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in large frying pan, then fry the mince until it's brown. You will probably have to do this in two batches. Now put the rest of the oil into the pan, add the vegetable and cook on a low heat for about 20mins or until soft. Then add the garlic, tomato purée and flour, turn up the heat and cook for a few minutes. Now you have to add the browned mince and wine (if using), turn up the heat and reduce for a few minutes. Add the stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs, bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 45 mins. By then the gravy should be quite thick. If there is a lot of liquid remaining increase the heat a little to reduce it. You need to remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.

While all this is going on, you should get the mash ready. Everyone has their own way of making mash. If you don't, then boil the potatoes in slightly salted water until tender. Once cooked drain well and let them steam for a couple of minutes. Add the butter and milk and use a masher and mash well. Then add 3 quatres of the cheese and mix before you season with some salt and pepper.

Now heat the oven to 220c/200c fan/gas mark 7. Spoon the beef mix into 2 oven proof dishes and pipe or spoon over the mash. Then cover with the remaining cheese. Put into the oven and bake for 25-30 mins or until golden. There you go a very tasty recipe for a cottage pie. Both me and my girlfriend really liked this recipe and will definitely be using it again. Hope you enjoy it to.

Happy cooking and enjoy!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Cambodian marinated beef with a black pepper and lime dipping sauce

Hello chefs 

It's time for another rant, but in this case not so much as there is not that much background to this dish apart from the fact that I really liked the sound and look of it. It is from a book called "Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey". Thinking about it, it's very rare for me to try a recipe from a cook book, if there is no complimenting pictures to show how good the meal can turn out because there is nothing better than finding a recipe with an accompanying picture that instantly makes my mouth water and this recipe did exactly that. In fact, in this book there are plenty of recipes that make you want to start cooking there and then and that is maybe the reason why I wanted it as soon as I saw it. If you read the post "The reason I cook", then you will know that my first influences were from the Eastern part of the world and to have a book with 150 different recipes from that part of the world from over 7 different countries made this a must have for me.

What you need:
700g rump or sirloin beef steak

For the marinade:
1 medium hot red chilli, roughly chopped
15g garlic, roughly chopped
25g peeled ginger, roughly chopped
juice of half a lime
1 tbsp palm sugar
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce 
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp of oil

For the dipping sauce:
juice of half a lime
2tsp ground black pepper

What to do:
First of all you will need to trim the beef off all fat and cut into 2.5-3cm pieces. Put all the ingredients for the marinade into a food processor and blend together until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the beef, leave to marinade for 20 minutes.
To make the dipping sauce is very easy indeed: All you need to do is mix the lime juice and pepper with quarter of a tsp of salt and that's it. Now it's time to cook the beef. Being an Eastern dish, you guessed it, you need a wok or a large deep frying pan. Heat half the oil over a high heat, take half the beef and fry for 3 mins or until nicely browned on the outside - the beef will be rare, if you want well done beef then cook for 6-8 mins. Now put the beef onto a warm plate, then repeat with the remaining oil and beef. If you buy this book or happen to own it, then you will notice that I am not serving it like the recipe as I think it would be more like a starter. So I just served it with a large portion of coriander rice and put a drizzle of the dipping sauce over it. 

This is the first recipe that I have prepared and cooked from this book and it was delicious. I would definitely recommend "Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey" to anyone as there are lots of recipes in this book to get your taste buds going.

Happy cooking and enjoy.