Tag Archives: Autumn Recipes

Cottage Pie

Another page in the calendar has flipped over and the clocks have hopped back an hour, so it’s definitely time to dust off the casserole dish and make a hearty cottage pie. If you don’t know what a cottage pie is, it’s basically a shepherd’s pie, but made with beef mince instead of lamb – because for some reason or another, lamb and I just don’t get on.  The beef version is every bit as tasty, in my opinion, and it’s a little bit cheaper to make.

I’m sure most people have an old family recipe for cottage pie, or at least their own way of doing it, but I made one recently and thought I might as well throw my recipe into the ring.

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie


  • 1 large packet beef mince
  • 2 onions
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Knorr beef stock pot
  • salt and pepper
  • a pot of good mashing potatoes, such as Maris Pipers
  • knob butter
  • splash milk or cream
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • a few gratings of nutmeg
  • 200g mature cheddar


  1. In a large frying pan on a high heat, brown off the mince in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan and risking it boiling. Colour = flavour! Reserve each browned batch in a bowl or plate to the side for the meantime.
  2. Finely chop the onions, grate the garlic and chop the carrots into quarter discs, and cook these off over allow to medium heat in the pan, until the onions have started to turn translucent.
  3. Transfer into a large saucepan or casserole pot and add the tomato puree. Cook that out for a couple of minutes, mixing into the vegetables.
  4. Add the mince back into the pot and add the herbs, cinnamon, Worcestershire sauce and stock pot, plus enough water to just cover the mince. Put a lid on the pot and allow to simmer over a low heat, stirring every now and then. If it's getting too dry, add a little more water, but we're not going to add anything to thicken it later, so don't go too mad.
  5. The amount of mashed potato you will need for the top will depend how big your casserole dish is and how deep you like your potato, so it's easiest to work that out by eye. Just start peeling and quartering your potatoes and stop when you think they'll make enough mash. It's not very scientific I'm afraid but it's how I do it!
  6. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender when prodded with a knife. Drain the water out then add the butter, cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and mustard and mash until creamy and lump-free. That can be set aside with the lid on until you're ready to construct the pie.
  7. The mince should be given at least 45 minutes to simmer, but an hour and a half would be better.
  8. When you're ready to construct the pie, preheat the oven to 200c and grab a nice oblong or square oven safe casserole dish. Spread the mince into the bottom then carefully layer the mash on top, smoothing it out gently with a fork.
  9. When it's all nice and smooth, drag a fork through the top in furrows like a ploughed field. This helps to make the pie nice and compacted, but also gives the surface of the mash some texture, which will help it to crisp up in the oven.
  10. Sprinkle the cheese on top and then put back in the oven for at least half an hour, or until the mince is bubbling and the top is turning golden brown.
  11. Serve up with some lovely green vegetables and maybe some Branston pickle!
  12. Enjoy!
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If you liked this British classic, why not try Charles’ Pork and Cider Stew with Sage Dumplings?

Rhubarb Streusel Tart

This rhubarb streusel tart was born out of a desire to recreate a delicious rhubarb cake which was demonstrated at a cookery course I attended years ago, but somewhere along the way a hankering for a good old fashioned crumble took the recipe in a slightly different direction.  I wasn’t sure what the results would be, but it smelled darn good in the oven, and Charles declared it to be an unreserved success, so it was made again as the pudding for supper with a family friend within the week.  The result is not quite a tart, not quite a cake, and not quite a crumble either, but it combines the best parts of each without the fuss of making pastry and gives a result which has so much more structural integrity than a crumble, so it can be served in neat slices and eaten hot or cold.

The turn of summer to autumn is one of my favourite times of the year, so I’m bracing myself for long walks in amber leaves with the dog and the warming, hearty things we can cook up with the best of autumnal produce and a pinch of mixed spice – apples, plums, squash, pumpkins, beetroot – you can’t help but love this time of year.  Charles makes fun of me for being such a big fan of the season, but then he’s not at all big on Halloween, and he doesn’t understand the comfort I find in the stirring of a simmering soup pot.  Soup recipes to follow, of course.

Rhubarb Streusel Tart

Rhubarb Streusel Tart


    For the fruity middle:
  • 500g rhubarb
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • For the thin cakey base:
  • 125g soft butter
  • 40g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • For the crumble topping:
  • 125g butter
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g flaked almonds


  1. Start by chopping up the rhubarb into pieces around 1 cm wide. Toss it into a large bowl and add the brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Now, pour spread the whole lot onto a baking tray and slip it into the oven at 180c for around 30 minutes, or until the rhubarb has cooked right down and the sugar has melted into a caramel.
  2. While the fruit is in the oven, get the base started by creaming together the butter and sugar, adding the egg and then mixing in the flour and ground almonds. Grease the bottom of the springform tin and spread the mixture over its base in a thin layer, as evenly as you can manage. Slide that into the oven and bake for around 15 minutes.
  3. Now you can get the crumble topping on the go. Rub together the butter, flour, cinnamon and ground almonds until they form an uneven crumb, then mix in the flaked almonds. Set aside until the cake it ready to assemble.
  4. When the fruit is ready, carefully mash it all down and allow it to cool slightly.
  5. Remove the cake base from the oven when evenly lightly brown and springy to the touch. Spread the fruit evenly over the cake base.
  6. Finally, you can sprinkle over the crumble topping.
  7. Slide it back into the oven and bake for around half an hour until the crumble topping is starting to brown.
  8. Release from the springform tin once it has cooled somewhat and serve up in slices, cold or warm, with cream, ice cream or custard.
  9. Delicious!
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If you don’t like or can’t source rhubarb, it’ll work just as well with plums, apples, pears, blueberries, or whichever other fruit you can get your hands on, provided it’s made more delicious with heating!  Simply adjust the fruit roasting time accordingly so it doesn’t lose its structure entirely.

If you have a fancy for something more traditional, why not try our Apple and Blueberry Pie recipe?

We’d love to see your recreations, so get onto Twitter, follow us and tweet us! We’d love to hear from you.


Sweet Potato and Pepper Soup

It’s almost autumn! It’s getting colder, there’s infighting about whether the heating should be going on and you might just want something a bit warmer and heartier to eat than a chicken salad. 

Soup time!

I’ve already started off the season with tomato and pepper soup, but you have that recipe already, so here’s some sweet potato and pepper soup. You can add as much spice as you like, or replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock if that’s your preference. 

You will need:

1 onion

1 leek

1 clove garlic 

1 knob ginger 

2 large red or orange peppers (or 3 small ones)

3 carrots

3 large sweet potatoes 

2 litres of chicken stock (I used 2 stock cubes and boiled water)

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp chilli powder 

2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Chopped fresh parsley 

Salt and pepper 

1. Chop the onion and add to a little rapeseed or olive oil in a large soup pot. Grate in the garlic and ginger. 

2. Repeat with the leek, carrots and peppers, and cook out over a medium heat. 

3. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and add in. 

4. Add the stock, making sure the vegetables are covered. If not, add some more water. 

5. Add in the thyme and black pepper.

6. Simmer for around 45 minutes. Add the rest of the spices including a pinch ofsalt then add the chopped parsley. Blitz with a stick blender or food processor. If it’s still quite thick, add some more water and spice and season to taste. 

Easy! And it freezes like a dream. Have a go!