I’ve been away from here for a shockingly long time and my excuses are many – I really need to learn multitask. The main reason though is a good one though, I swear, I’ve written a book! (Chances are you’ve come via Instagram and you probably already know that, but just in case…). Yes, a book, a real life cookbook. I’ve wanted to write cookbooks for years now, it really is a lifelong dream come true, and I’m beyond thrilled to say it’ll be released on 9th June this year. It’s called ‘Stirring Slowly – recipes to restore and revive’, and it’s all about comforting, calming cooking – food that will make you feel good from the inside. No faddy diets or overly fussy recipes, just proper home cooking that will reconnect you to the kitchen. You can preoder it on amazon already, or just have a nosey at the (gold foiled!) cover:
I’m sure over the next few months I’ll be including more on Stirring Slowly, cheeky extracts and pictures, behind the scenes stuff, but for now a recipe that could easily have made it into the book. A comforting and warming classic, with a twist.
I’ll often ask Pete if there’s anything he fancies for dinner during the week and this week brought a new dish to our household: the humble cottage pie. By new, I just mean for us, it’s not something that frequents the Hayden dinner table, especially as I tend to opt for lamb (shepherd’s) over beef (cottage). Happy to oblige off I went, adamant I’d make him something incredible (and better than the one he gets from his favourite lunch spot – Fuzzy’s). The result was a classic cottage pie, with a cheesy cauliflower mash on top – a combination of 2 of Pete’s favourite dishes. Serve with a little English mustard and you’re winning.
Ps Exciting times, the website is about to get a make over. Please bear with me while it undergoes some changes.
CAULIFLOWER CHEESE COTTAGE PIE
Serves 4 – 6
2 onions, peeled and trimmed
2 carrots, peeled and trimmed
2 sticks of celery and trimmed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs of thyme
1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
500ml good quality beef stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
500g lean beef mince
1kg Maris Piper potatoes
1 large cauliflower (around 400 – 500g)
125g mature cheddar cheese
English mustard, to serve
Start by making the base. Finely chop the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Place a large saucepan on a medium-low heat and add a good lug of olive oil. Add all the chopped veg, along with the thyme leaves, and saute gently for around 10 – 15 minutes, until soft and sticky.
When the veg is ready add the mince. Turn the heat up a little, and fry for 8-10 minutes until browned all over. Add the tomato puree, stir and fry for a couple of minutes. Stir in the flour for a couple of minutes, until everything is well coated, then add 400ml of the beef stock. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to low so it is just simmering. Season well, and the Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves, then cover with a lid and leave to gently cook for 45 minutes. Stir a couple of times while its cooking and add the extra stock if it gets a little thick.
While the meat is cooking make the mash. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cut the potatoes into 2″ chunks and carefully pop into the boiling water (I like to keep the skin on my spuds as they’re full of nutrients and add a lovely texture, however if you really don’t like them peel the potatoes first). Boil for around 8 minutes. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and add to the pan after 8 minutes, and boil all the veg for 4 more. Drain in a large colander and leave the veg to steam dry over the hot pan, giving it a shake to get rid of all the moisture. Drain out the pan, and return the veg back to it, putting aside a few pieces of cauliflower for the top. Mash the potatoes and cauliflower together with the butter and a generous pinch of salt and pepper, until smooth. Mash in the milk, until smooth, and coarsely grate in 3/4 of the cheese. Mix it all together well. Preheat your oven to 180.
When then meat is ready, taste and tweak the seasoning, and gently ladle it into a large pie dish (or small individual ones. I used two medium sized dishes so we could freeze one for a rainy day). Carefully spoon the mashed veg on top, and spread it out with the back of a spoon so it completely covers the top. I like to use the spoon to roughen up the mash a little and make it more texture. Poke in the extra bits of cauliflower, and finish by coarsely grating over the remaining cheese. Drizzle with a little olive oil, then pop the pie in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Then leave to rest for 5 minutes, before tucking in. Serve with your favourite greens, and a dollop of English mustard.