Cottage Pie

Everyone loves a cottage pie. This version uses already cooked meat – it’s perfect for left overs.

For the topping:
1 1/2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
6 tbs. butter
1/4 cup milk

For the filling:
1 tbs. olive oil
few sprigs of parsley, minced
1 large shallot or small onion, minced
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/2 stalk celery, minced
1 small to medium carrot, peeled and minced
1 cup left over cooked meat, cubed
1 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup milk
2 tbs. heavy cream
1 tbs. butter
2 tbs. shredded cheddar (optional)

To make the topping, put the potatoes in a saucepan with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until soft enough to easily mash. Drain and mash with the butter and milk. Set aside.

For the filling, heat the oil in a heavy-based skillet and add the parsley, shallot, garlic, celery and carrot. Cook over a gentle heat until soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Add the meat and a little more oil if necessary. Sprinkle over the flour, stir it for 2-3 minutes, then tip in the tomatoes and bubble over a low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the milk and cream and season well.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Spoon the filling into a baking dish, top with the mash and sprinkle with the cheddar, if using. Bake for 15 minutes.

Serves 4

Ginger and Walnut Carrot Cake

Everyone has a favorite carrot cake recipe. This one, however, is exceptional. Studded with crystallized ginger and walnuts, this is not overly sweet and more reminiscent of an old-fashion, rustic English teatime treat.

Ginger and Walnut Carrot Cake

For the cake:

1 2/3 cup plain flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. light brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
200ml vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup loosely packed carrots, coarsely grated
1 cup walnut pieces, roughly chopped
4 1/2 tbs. crystallized ginger, finely chopped

For the icing:

7 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. corn starch
4 oz. full fat cream cheese, at room temperature

For the decoration:

1/4 cup walnut pieces, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tsp. crystallized ginger

Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line the base of a 8″ springform tin.

Combine the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and fork to mix together.

Beat the sugar, eggs and oil in a large bowl. Stir in the flour mixture. (At this point, the mixture may seem stiff, but the carrots will add moisture.) Fold in the carrots, walnuts and crystallized ginger. Spread in the prepared tin, smooth the top and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

To make the icing, beat the butter with the sugar until creamy. Beat in the corn starch followed by the cream cheese to make a smooth icing. Remove the cooled cake from the tin and place on a serving plate. Spread the icing generously on top and sprinkle with the walnut pieces and crystalized ginger.