In the kitchen: Cottage pie

Cottage pie-2 When it’s cold outside and the fire’s blazing (in my case a heater), some winter cottage pie is just the thing to warm you up from the inside. Sure, I could have lovingly piped my potato in neat swirls but with hungry mouths to feed (mine and my fiance’s) I had no time to be that fancy. With no pastry crust it’s so simple to make and great for freezing too. And you can throw in whatever veges you have languishing in the fridge. Simple? Tick. Easy to make? Tick. Delicious? Tick tick tick. Ingredients: For the filling 3 tbsp olive oil 1¼kg beef mince 2 onions, chopped Veges of choice – I used 3 carrots, 3 celery stalks 2 garlic cloves, chopped 3 tbsp plain flour 1 tbsp tomato purée large glass red wine 800ml beef stock 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce thyme sprigs 2 bay leaves For the mash 1.8kg potatoes 225ml milk 25g butter 200g grated cheddar Method: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan and brown the mince in batches. Heat up the rest of the oil, add the vegetables and cook on a gentle heat until soft, approx 20 mins. Add the garlic, flour and tomato purée, then increase the heat and cook for a few mins. Add the beef back to the pan and add the wine – boil to reduce it a little – then add the stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered until the gravy is thick – about for 45 mins or so. Season well, then discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks. Make the mash while the filling is simmering. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the milk, butter, and three-quarters of the cheese, then season with salt and pepper. Spoon meat into two ovenproof dishes. Spoon (like me!) or pipe on the mash to cover the filling. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Heat the oven to 220C and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden delicious. Alyssa X

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