Tag Archives: Beef Mince

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?

Beef Kofta Feast

I may have told you this before, but there is nothing I love more than some sort of delicious meat served up with a dip or chutney, flatbreads and salad.  I don’t know if it’s the spice or the contrast in textures or the DIY element, but this mini feast has given me some of my very favourite ‘a little bit of what you fancy’ suppers.  These lovely little beef koftas are packed with flavour, and if you cook them just right they’re be deliciously juicey too. A great light alternative to a burger or a kebab, as well as being something a little different to make with that packet of beef mince.  You could even make mini versions to serve up with a dip at a party, if you were of a mind.

Beef Kofta Recipes

You will need (to make 4 koftas to fee 2 greedy souls)

500g beef mince

1/2 onion

clove garlic

2cm piece ginger

1/2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp tomato ketchup

black pepper

1/2 tsp dried parsley

dash Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp ground cumin

medium pot Greek yoghurt

1 tbsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

dash lemon juice

pinch salt

salad vegetables of your choice

flatbreads or pitta – I used wholemeal pitta, which keep really well in the freezer

Wooden or metal skewers
Make Takeaway at Home

1 Chop the onion and grate the garlic and ginger.
Recipe Ideas using Beef Mince

2. Add the olive oil to a small saucepan over a medium heat.  Once it’s warm, throw in the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until translucent – don’t give it too much heat as you don’t want it to burn.  Set aside and allow to cool when ready.

Healthy Kebab 3. Bring the mince out to room temperature around half an hour before you want to use it if possible so it isn’t too fridge chilly.  Try to use good quality mince  – it’ll be less fatty, taste better, and be better for you – and a little goes quite a long way with all the accompaniments you’ll add in. Preheat the oven to 180c.

Light Dinner Ideas

4. Add the cooled onion-garlic-ginger mixture to your mince I a large bowl, then add the ketchup, mustard, parsley, 1 tsp cumin, pepper and Wprcestershire sauce.

How to Make Beef Koftas

5. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty here -just make sure they’re nice and clean in the first place.  Mix everything together well with your hands and you’ll be left with this lovely beefy mixture.

Barbecue Recipe Ideas

6.Now, grab your skewers!  I use wooden ones, so I make sure to soak them in water beforehand so that they won’t catch in the oven. Grab a quarter of the mixture and form it into a sort of thick sausage shape in your hand. Place the skewer in the middle then close your hand around the meat, squeezing it tightly onto the skewer.

Midweek Meal Recipes

7. Repeat with the remaining mince mixture and set the koftas out on a foil lined baking tray and stick them in the oven. They should take around 20 minutes, but check after 15 and turn over.

Supper Ideas to eat with Salad

8. Now put together a lovely, fresh, crunchy vibrant salad which will give a nice contrast to that meat, yoghurt and bread.

Recipes using Greek Yoghurt

9. Get your little pot of yoghurt ready.  You have two options here: do things properly and set out a lovely dip bowl for your yoghurt, or just mix it up in the yoghurt pot – which is what this scruffy girl went with (less washing up!). Epic spiced Yoghurt Dip

10. Chuck in the spices, salt and lemon juice, and mix, mix, mix.

Currid Yoghurt Dip Recipe

11. Remove the koftas from the oven when they’re ready to serve up.

How to Make Beef Koftas

12. Toast your pittas (a toaster works just fine) and serve everything up with plenty of napkins!

Tasty Healthy Meal Ideas

13. Enjoy your messy feast!