Thursday, 17 June 2010

Post Holiday Blues

It's been awhile since I posted anything - a jet set lifestyle leaves a girl with little time to blog about her eating adventures :) True, I have been traveling - a much needed break to Istanbul at the end of May with sister and mum and two weeks later it was back home to KL for the wedding of a very dear friend. But trust me, it's all been un-glamourous slogging at the office in between trips trying to make a decent penny to pay off my credit card bill.

Two lovely holidays and I should be raring to go, bursting with energy as I sit nine hours at my desk, five days a week. Instead I find myself bemoaning the injustice of another British summer washout. I look out the window at work and it's absolutely miserable - clouded over with that light drizzle that goes on for hours (yet as I write this today, the sun is out and shinning brightly but I'm stuck indoor with a sore throat whilst feeling hot and cold all at once).

So put the salad orders on hold and keep the stodge coming. I made cottage pie ... well, sort of anyway. The basic elements were there - mince beef and potato. Ahh ... so this is what deconstructed food is all about. In my case I was merely being lazy but I think it tasted pretty darn good.

Deconstructed Cottage Pie - Weekday Dinner

Deconstructed Cottage Pie*

Mince beef (about 250g)
Jersey Royal potatoes (or any baby potatoes of your choice)
1 Red onion (diced)
4 Garlic (minced)
1 large Courgette (diced)
Peas (about 50g)
Milk (about 1 wine glassful)
Red wine (about 1/2 a glass)
Tomato purée (a generous tablespoonful or two)
Chipotle chili jam (a good heaping tablespoonful)
Olive oil (2 generous glugs)
A handful of grated Chedder (or any other good melting cheese)
  • Heat your oven to about 170-180 °C. Wash and boil the potatoes until tender (you should be able to push a knife into a potato quite easily). Drain the spuds and let it stand for a minute or two. Transfer to an oiled baking tray. Using the back of a fork, crush each potato (or just slightly flatten each spud - no need for prettiness). Pour over the 1st glug of olive oil, season and put the tray into the middle shelve in the oven. It should take about 20 minutes ot until the potatoes are golden brown and the edges are crisp.
  • Heat a large pan with the 2nd generous glug of olive oil. When the pan is decently hot, add the mince and breaking up any large chucks. Let the meat brown (I find draining the meat once or twice of the juices that come out during the browning process helps it cook faster - there is so much moisture in pre-packaged meat).
  • Once the meat is nut brown (or thereabouts), add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook for a few minute or until the aromatics are released from the onion and garlic. Mix the tomato purée in and let the meat cook for another minute or two.
  • Pour in the wine. Let the alcohol evaporate before adding the milk, chipotle chili jam, peas and courgette. Season and mix. Cover the pan with a lid and let contents simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • The meat is done when the veg is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Serve with the potatoes and topped with some grated chedder. I put my bowl back into the still oven for a minute or two to let the cheese melt.
*As with most of my recipes (if you can call them that as I tend to make things up as I go along) I don't usually keep track of measurements. I'm a staunch beliver in personal taste - little more of this or none of that at all, it's all up to you. Everything I write is just a guide. Your tastebuds will lead you.

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