Sunday, July 13, 2014

After the Fast Is Over .....


We are coming up to the "three weeks" in the Jewish religion and this period is marked both at the beginning and the end with a fast. 
Because  the end of the  fast of Tammuz marks the anniversary of my fathers death, I have taken on board to make a meal in his honor to "break the fast" 

Everyone, every family family has their own customs when it comes to an after fast meal, some people like to have a large heavy  meal and others are happy with a cup of tea and a slice of cake. My grandfather use to always break his fast with herring and crackers..I am not sure what that did for his digestive system .

Personally I feel the meal needs to be light, nutritious and replace the fluids the body is missing.

This year I am breaking the fast with six women from a local "Midreshet",( women's religious collage )  and have combined their customs to design  
delicious nutritious menu.* recipes are below  message me for other recipes.


*Orange Soup 
*Home made organic  honey spelt bread

Mixed green seed and nut salad.
Home made humus  ( for Protein )
Home made green tahini ( for calcium and magnesium )
Roasted mixed pepper salad.

Spiced apple cake fresh melon and grape platter 
Tea.



Orange soup, with roasted pumpkin seed and almond  milk topping.
should be called orange vegetable soup,
 for 6-10 people  you need 
1 butternut squash
2 large sweet potatoes
2  red skin potatoes
1/2 kilo pumpkin
4 carrots
2 sweet potatoes
3 cloves garlic
1/2 inch fresh ginger 

1 stick cinnamon
1 leek
2 onions
2 bay leaves
1/2 tea spoon ground black pepper 
3/4 tea spoon ground sea salt
Cold water  to just cover vegetables
1 cup almond / hemp or soya milk 
1 cup chopped parsley
Topping
1 cup Almond  milk

1/2 cup sunflower seeds or sliced almonds  , dry roasted.

Peel  &  Cut all the vegetables up into equal  sizes portions , wash and place in a thick bottom pan,
add the ginger, bay leaf , garlic, cinnamon stick salt and pepper, parsley 
Just cover the vegetables with water place a lid on the pot and cook on a fast simmer for 20-25 minutes.
add 1 cup of the almond milk, , adjust the seasoning to taste remove the cinnamon and bay leaf and blend in a blender  .

Serve with a teaspoon of  of toasted seeds and a swirl of almond milk.




Honey Spelt Bread.
There is nothing quite like the small and taste of home made bread,  
Spelt is is a species of wheat cultivated from the earliest record times . Spelt was an important staple in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times; It is one of the biblical seven species. Oven people intolerant to modern wheat can eat spelt, it is lower in gluten but not gluten free therefore it is not suitable for people with coeliac disease.

Spelt contains about 57.9 percent carbohydrates (excluding 9.2 percent fibre), 17.0 percent protein and 3.0 percent fat, as well as dietary minerals and vitamins. It is sometimes easier to digest after a fast.


This recipe makes 2 small loaves

500 grms/  1.lb 2 oz / 3. 1/2  cups organic spelt flour sifted 
10 grms / 3 tea spoons  fine quality sea salt
10 grms/2 tsp  fresh or dried yeast
3 table spoons organic honey 
300 mls/ 10.5 fluid oz water
1 table spoon apple sauce.

dissolve the yeast with  1/4 the water  ( hand hot) and one table spoon of the honey, stir cover  and set aside till it is foaming. ( around 5-6 minutes).

Place the flour, salt, in a bowl make a well  add the yeast mixture, apple sauce, honey and water, mix well pulling together and kneed , or place in a mixer with a dough hook and mix for 10 minutes.
Spelt takes longer to absorbed  water so don't worry if it is damp.
Tun on to a lightly floured table and kneed further 5 minutes.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl   cover with a clean towel and leave to rise for 40-80 minutes.

Knock the dough down, take out of the bowl and on a clean surface divide into even portions. Place on a baking tray, at this stage you may sprinkle the top with seeds.

Cover with cling film and a cloth and prove again for another hour.

Preheat your oven to 230c 450 f gas 8 
put a pot or baking tray water in the bottom of the oven to create a bakers steam effect.

Place your loves in the oven.
After 10 minutes  reduce the oven to 210c 410f Gas 6.
Bake for a further 20-35  minutes.
To check if the loaf is done, remove it from the oven, tap lightly  on its base, if you hear a hollow sound the bread is done.

Serve, with dips, soup salad. Spelt bread freezes remarkably well


What ever your family tradition is to break your fast,  with a hearty soup and home made bread you can not go far wrong.

I wish you an easy fast, and for those of my followers in Israel, please stay safe.





Friday, June 27, 2014

The Ultimate Step to Step Guide to Simple Delicious Nutritious Home Made Hummus...




The First time I ate Hummus  I was 12 years old, and my late father took me to a Greek restaurant in Brighton.
The owner, a friend of my father’s brought to the table, warm pitta bread along with a plate of freshly made  hummus;  as I bit into this creamy garlicky mixture on warmed bread  I knew I was hooked.

 After receiving the  chefs own recipe, ( hastily scribbled down on the back of a paper napkin ) I made hummus from scratch for the first time a week later, I have continued to make it for the past 51 years  on a very regular basis.

History
Hummus has been around the southern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine for time immemorial, different cultures claim it as their own. The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus bi tahini are recorded in cookbooks published in Cairo in the 13th century .

Nutritional Value 

Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6.[16] The chickpeas are a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds.

Daily Diet 
 Although Hummus is part of the daily diet in Israel,  so many  Israelis are flabbergasted to find out, not only do I make my own Hummus, (opposed to buying one of the numerous  brands of the chemically enhanced  pots readily available  in every corner shop and supermarket across the land,) but I have been making it nearly all my life...
 "You have Hummus in England?" they say.
"Yes, Hummus is universal  you find it all over Europe, The USA, Australia, & possibly even Asia; home made hummus is very good for you." I reply.   



It’s so easy, quick and nutritious . Below is the recipe I have been using for  half a century , this quantity  makes one of the pots  as illustrated in the picture.

"Once you have discovered how simple this  is  to make you will not buy store bought Hummus ever again!"


 How to make Hummus - 

 You need chick peas either 1 lb. of dried chick peas, soaked overnight .in cold water then cooked .
Or 2 x 16 oz cans of chick peas.
4-5 cloves garlic
2 table spoons tahini paste
1 table spoon ice cold water
2 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tea spoon good quality sea salt
The juice of one lemon
Paprika and zatar, and extra virgin olive oil for serving.

If you are using dried Chick peas   soak them over night in cold water, you will hear popping noises as they expand, don’t worry this is normal.
Change water, and bring to the boil in fresh water and then simmer for around an hour till the chick peas are soft.
Strain and rinse under cold water  then you are set to go.


Hint, soak and cook double quantities of chick peas and then freeze them in batches so you can use them as needed. They defrost in around an hour.


Take you chick peas, either cooked or canned, drain them and place them in a food processor, ( I sometimes when using canned chick peas and making a small quantity use a hand blender)
Add the tahini, olive oil, water, lemon juice, garlic and salt.Blend till smooth. (how smooth is personal taste I like mine to have a medium smooth texture, some like it like paste)


I like mine a medium sooth texture 
Taste, add more salt as needed.
Blend till smooth. (how smooth is personal taste I like mine a medium sooth texture some like it like paste)
Taste, add more salt as needed.
Put in an airtight container in the fridge and chill for 2 hours before serving.

Serving Suggestions

To serve place on a flat dish, add zatar and paprika and olive oil


 Serve with warmed flat bread, salad.
Keeps sealed in the fridge 2-3 days.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Gluten & Dairy Free Shavuot To One And All!


Being gluten and dairy free can be challenging most of the year but when it comes to the annual cheesecake fest of Shavuot it is torture.
 In my youth I use to love cheesecake, the baked New York type, the type my Grandpa use to buy at Grozinskies Bakeries in Petticoat lane along with light and fluffy cheese Danish, the type my aunt Helen made for every family simcha.
But an allergy to dairy and wheat put paid for that.


So as my friends tuck in to pasta in a cream and mushroom sauce, spanakopita, or eggplant Parmigiana, and with my energy level surly depleted I have devised a quick easy, healthy delicious almost “creamy” Shavuot menu for the gluten and dairy intolerant and their guests everywhere.




Zucchini and Dill soup a light summer soup that can even be eaten iced.
Gluten free, Tuna Mushroom and Leek Lasagna with cashew nut “cheese”
Salad Verde with spinach and walnuts
Lemon Tofu New York style “Cheeze” cake.
With fresh fruit

Also I am making humus, avocado dip &   gluten free guefilte fish made with fresh carp and almond flour, as my contribution to tomorrows lunch.
I have chosen three elements to share with you if you want other recipes please let me know.






Zucchini and Dill soup one of the easiest soups on the planet!
Serves 12.
2.5 kilos fresh zucchini
2 red potatoes
2 medium onions
2 table spoons gluten , MSG, additive free organic soup powder
2 cups fresh chopped dill.
1 cup almond or soya milk
3 cloves garlic
½ tea spoon fresh ground black pepper and
½ tea spoon organic sea salt
2 bay leaves.
Wash and rough chop the zucchini; peel and rough chop the onions and potato, place in a pot that has a good tight lid.
Add the garlic, soup powder, bay leaves and half the dill. Just cover with water, and cook together for 25-30 minutes till all the vegetables are tender.
Turn off let it sit for 10 minutes than add the seasoning, the almond milk and blend, add the rest of the dill blend quickly warm and serve with some dill on top and a swirl of almond or soya yoghurt ( optional)
Freezes very well.

Cashew Cheese
2 cups raw cashews soaked in filtered water for 2 – 4 hours (soaking is optional)
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup filtered or mineral water as needed
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼   cup nutritional yeast
4 cloves fresh garlic minced
1 tsp organic sea salt

Place the cashews, 1/2 of the water, 1/2 of the lemon juice, garlic and sea salt in the food processor and pulse until roughly blended.
Gradually add in more lemon juice, garlic and salt to taste. Add the nutritional yeas and blend again season to taste.
You can add chives, basil, parsley or chili depending on the flavors you like. Use as you would a soft cheese.
Refrigerate.

Vegan   Lemon Tofu Cheese Cake.
Tofu and Soya should be used in moderation especially if you have any kind of thyroid problems, I allow myself one slice of this over the holiday, and anyhow it’s so yummy there is never much more.

Makes    10-12 servings.
1 pack of gluten free graham crackers or marie or any other gluten free biscuit that is crunchy, ginger are great.
1 cup   organic honey or maple syrup
½ teaspoon dried ginger
8 oz.  (670 grams) organic firm tofu
2 cups plain   coconut, almond, or soya yogurt
2 table spoons 90 ml almond, coco nut or soya milk
1 tea spoon good organic vanilla
2 table spoons rice or Almond flour
The zest of 2 lemons
The juice of two lemons

Topping

Fresh fruit of choice berries or peaches are best  , coconut or almond or soya yogurt or nondairy cream  (optional)

Preheat your oven to 170.
Line a cake tin or a pan with baking paper
Put the biscuits in a food processor and blend till crumbs, add ½ of the honey and the ginger mix well, then flatten down in to your cake tin and bake for 5-8 minutes to set.
Take out and cool down.
Place the tofu, lemon juice, yogurt, milk, rice flour, vanilla in the food processor and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the honey and blend again add the lemon zest and blend quickly just to mix it in.
Pour the mixture into your baking tray.
Bake for 20 minutes on 170   then turn the  oven down to 150, cook for 15 more minutes, take it out and let it cool
Place in the fridge and let it chill for at least 3 hours.

Cut up your soft fruit or berries, pour the almond/soya yogurt or non-dairy cream over the top decorate with the fresh fruit and serve. If there is any left it lasts 2-3 days refrigerated. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Little Kugel Goes A long Long way!

 Back in 1993 when I moved to Manchester UK, a Rabbi  approached me asking "Do you like cooking?" 

On hearing my answer was affirmative,also knowing that I was new to the town and not employed he enlisted my help, as he directed me to the Chabad Yeshiva, saying "they need kugle for the boys." 

Arriving  in the kitchen, stumbling over sacks of potatoes, onions, bottles of oil, and trays of eggs, I met and almost instantly clicked with another lady also new to the town who had been roped in.

I am not sure for how many hours we pealed, grated, mixed,potatoes and onions, all be it with the aid of machinery , but by the time the whole building smelt of trays and trays of freshly baked  kugle,  joint  Shabbat plans were made & a firm friendship was cemented. ( Kugle can do that!) 

My friend now lives in Israel, and when people ask how we meet we always say "making potato kugle!" 

Followers of my blog will know that I now reside in Israel, where the climate suits lighter food,  in fact until recently, I had almost relegated the rib sticking, body warming Shabbat potato essential,  to my unhealthy heavy recipes of the past, however after making the Yeshuve Rabbi a kugle I have been repeatedly  requested not only to make potato kugle but to share my kugle secrets!


Kugle is an Ashkenazi thing, there are almost as many recipes and myths  as Ashkenazi people on this planet, however there are some outlying rules that apply that will help you find your Kugle heaven. 


  • Kugle should be golden and crispy on top, with a moist inside.
  • Prepare the kugle quickly so that the potatoes do not go brown or black.
  • The longer and slower you cook kugle the better the result you can't hurry a good kugle.
  • A good kugle will not need flour as the potatoes produce starch to hold it together. 
  • Make kugle in batches, they freeze really well.
  • Serve kugle piping hot not lukewarm.
  • Remember to season your kugle well as potatoes tend to soak up the seasoning and can be bland.
  • This is not a low calorie dish!!! 

For 36 generous portions you need

15-20 ( around  2 Kilo)  red skinned potatoes 
5 large white onions
7 large eggs
2- 3 table spoons  vegetable oil 
3 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 175 C /350 F degrees I use spray oil and line my baking tins, you need the tin or dish to be quite deep, this quantity makes one  large square and two  loaf tins.
  2. Peel the potatoes and put them in cold water to prevent them discoloring.
  3. Peel the onion
  4. Crack the eggs and beat them with the oil and the seasoning, put the oil and egg mix in a big bowl.
  5. Grate the potatoes, I use a food processor on a small grater setting,place in the bowl with egg and oil mixture. 
  6. Grate the onions, and add to potato mixture. 
  7. Mix well.
  8. Share the mixture between the pans, making sure you equally share the liquid between the pans.
  9. Place in the oven, cook for 45  minutes  to 1 hour  until golden brown  then turn the heat down to 125, and cook for  at least another 90 minute on a low light to ensure the perfect  moist  gooey  inside.( I often turn my oven right down too 100 and cook slowly over 3 hours )
Enjoy ..be careful this can be addictive.





Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Good Morning Good Morning Good morning

Shakshouka My favorite indulgence 
It has been reported the best way to eat is  according to the old British idiom, breakfast like a king ( large) lunch like a prince (medium ) dinner like a pauper ( small, light) .
There is no doubt that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; although by many it is often skipped. It has been proven that children who skip breakfast do not do as well at school as those that have a nutritionally balanced start to the day.
When one thinks of a British breakfast one thinks of a heavy fat induced heart attack on a plate British fry up eggs sunny side up, with all the trimmings, even the   kosher version omitting the bacon, and pork sausages   adding kosher chicken sausages, baked beans, fried mushrooms, tomatoes and sliced fried potatoes, followed by toast and orange marmalade is a force to be reckoned with.
In Israel, breakfast is a major social event mainly at the weekends, but the breakfast is served by coffee houses all day; omelet, scrambled or fried eggs, Israeli salad, dips, cheese, bread a hot and cold drink is so gargantuan one often sees two or more people sharing a breakfast,  at lunchtime in a coffee house or restaurant. My favorite Israeli breakfast is Shakshouka, a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin served piping hot…I am really not allowed tomatoes or chili however every two – three months I give in to the craving eat the eggs leave the sauce, and quench my thirst for this unique middle eastern delight.
Breakfast for me has always been savory, eggs, kippers, kedgeree  and smoked haddock, among my favorites; however since my first visit to Baltimore back in the 1990's I discovered and fell in love with the cornbread or breakfast Muffin.

Muffins always intrigued and frightened me as they seemed complex for a breakfast food, most of the early recipes I came across included butter milk & butter, but now I am a firm convert to the breakfast muffin, fresh and just warm from the oven; they really don’t take that long to throw together, and while they are cooking one can be doing other things; or you can even make a batch in advance and keep them in the freezer, take out and defrost as needed.

Breakfast Muffins
This Morning I Made These Banana And Apple Spelt Breakfast Muffins, for a women's learning group that meets next door to my home every Wednesday morning; although I don’t attend as Wednesdays are a full day for me, I have taken on myself to provide a breakfast treat (either vegan cinnamon and honey oatmeal, buckwheat pancakes filled with fruit compote or breakfast muffins.)

 The whole process including preparation and cooking took less than 30 minutes this morning. Apparently they were delicious.

You can alter the recipe and make them gluten free, by using gluten free flour and omitting the oatmeal unless you can get gluten free oatmeal instead of the spelt flour; but today I only had spelt to hand.
The quantity below makes 26-30 muffins depending on size I make smaller ones as the women prefer that.

You Need
2 Cups Spelt or Gluten free flour
1/2 cup organic honey
1 tea spoon non-aluminum baking powder
1/2 cup apple sauce
3 over ripe bananas mashed I keep mine in the freezer to use in smoothies and baking
2 large organic eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon good vanilla essence
The zest of a large orange
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup raisins optional
1/2 cup coconut oil melted
1/2 cup   almond or rice milk
3/4 cup organic quick cook oatmeal
1/2 tea spoon sea salt

Pre heat your oven   to 180c 350F Gas mark 4.
Line your muffin tins with paper case. (I do this the night before!)
Put all the ingredients into a large bowl, and mix well by hand for 2-3 minutes, making sure all the banana has mixed in well. You don’t need a machine this is very easy by hand!
Using an ice cream scoop to ensure uniformity of size, scoop one scoop into each paper case.
Place in the oven for 15-18 minutes, remove from the tin and let cool down a little, serve with your favorite beverage.

Ideal for school lunchboxes, for the busy person on the go.. a meal in a muffin not a bad way to start your day!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chili What No Carne? (Vegan Chili)

Still cooking chili in the pot
I have been trying for a long time to perfect a Chili without the meat for my vegetarian and vegan friends, and have finally got there. No meat or meat substitute, no gluten was used in this recipe;  I made yesterday and served it today to 14 very fussy Israeli female  students for lunch;  I  said what is any leftover let me know I can make it into a soup freeze it and you can have it next week…

I will have to make something else next week.

The students declared it tasted like meat, it had the texture of Chili con carne and it hit the spot on a blustery day.
It was served with rice seasoned with bay leaf  and  flax seeds, and a baby leaf and bean sprout salad in a light lemon garlic and honey dressing …a great success .
The whole secret is in the textures and seasoning
.
So here is my Vegan Chili no carne serve 14 portions.

3/4 kilo mixed dried beans I used a mixture of kidney beans, black eye beans, white kidney beans, black beans, and chick peas, soaked overnight then cooked for an hour until Al dente http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_dente. 
(Yes you can use canned beans but you wont have the texture.)

2 large onions chopped finely
1 leek chopped finely
1 inch fresh ginger grated
6 cloves garlic crushed
1 red chili de-seeded and chopped Finley
3 bay leaves
1 desert spoon paprika
1 desert spoon cumin
1 desert spoon dried coriander
1/2 desert spoon dried cardamom
1 desert spoon organic coco powder
1 table spoon date syrup
1 liter good vegetable stock plus 2 teaspoons marmite
2 table spoon Tomato paste
1 head celery Finley chopped
8 -10 carrots Finley diced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tea spoon hot paprika
2 cups frozen sweet corn
1 cup fresh chopped coriander.
1 table spoon organic sunflower oil
1 can tomatoes or 4 fresh tomatoes chopped
1/2 tea spoon non ionized salt
1 teaspoon rough chopped black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon

Heat the oil in a thick bottom pan, add the onion, garlic & ginger, stir, add the leek, and cook off for 2-3 minutes on a medium heat.

Add your aromatics, (carrots, and celery,) cook 4-5 minutes  then add the bay leaf, the chopped chili, and all the dry spices but not the smoked paprika stir in .
Add your tomato paste, tomatoes, coco, and the vegetable stock mix.

Add your cooked beans, date syrup, and salt and pepper,  your smoked paprika  and lemon juice mix well.

Reduce the heat and cook on a low to medium heat till the flavors are absorbed  35-40 minutes stirring occasionally.

Now add your sweet corn and fresh coriander, cook for a further ten minutes.

At this stage turn off and let the flavors come through.

 I always make chili the day before I am going to eat it. 
So this was made yesterday then reheated over a very low flame for 30 minutes.

The chili had a delicate barbecue flavor as if it had been cooked over an open fire , the celery added a bite and the black beans and coco give  a meaty flavor.
I made enough for 14-16 and twelve students devoured it very quickly…
You could serve this with guacamole and taco shells for a complete meal. Enjoy a vegan Mexican treat! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Is It A Sheppard's Or A Cottage Pie? That Is The Question!





We all have family favorites and comfort foods; one of my all-time favorites is Sheppard's/ Cottage pie. This takes me back to my childhood; it is easily digestible and warming from the inside out.
Actually traditionally Sheppard's pie is made using minced lamb, and cottage pie typically was made with a crust of mashed potato at the bottom, the layer of minced beef in between and a layer of mashed potato on top. It was the dish of rural farmers in Britain first recorded in 1791 when potatoes were considered edible crop.

In my childhood there were many different varieties of this quintessentially British nursery food; my paternal grandmother made it the traditional way with lamb, in thick onion gravy, my maternal grandmother used minced beef, topped with a thick layer of ultra-creamy mashed potatoes. My mother added carrots, and one aunt baked beans to their basic meat mixture,  while another aunt would top the mashed potato with grated cheddar cheese and crushed potato crisps for that extra fat and calorie value! Looking back I can't say whose version I preferred but as this is nearest to my mother's I guess with hindsite that speaks volumes.

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that there almost as many versions of Sheppard's pie as people making it and it boils down to personal choice. Last week my friend presented me with Sheppard's pie with a mashed cauliflower topping It was really wonderful especially for those watching their carb intake.

HERE IS MY VERSION OF A RICH AND HEALTHY FAT REDUCED COULD BE A COTTAGE OR A  SHEPPARD'S PIE.

4-6 people   You need
3/4 of a kilo (750 grams) good quality Minced beef
1 leek cleaned and chopped finely
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 bay leaves
3 carrots peeled and diced
2 stalks celery peeled and diced
1 tea spoon cacao
1 large onion chopped finely
1 dessert spoon organic   sugar free tomato ketchup
1 pint of good stock, preferably chicken of beef, or vegetable with a teaspoon of marmite
1 teaspoon thyme leaves (dried)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Non ionized sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh  ground black pepper.
1 teaspoon coconut oil melted.

Heat the coconut oil in a thick bottom pot, and add the onion and garlic, then the carrots leeks and celery, bay leaf place a lid on the pot cook on a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes so all the aromatic flavors come through.
Add the meat, thyme and mix well, cook on a low heat till the meat is browned, then add your cacao and cinnamon these both bring out the flavor of the beef. 
Add your stock, and your organic   tomato ketchup or paste season to taste. Reduce to a low heat, and simmer for about 40 minutes, 30 with the lid and the last 10 minutes without to reduce the stock down.

For the topping you need.
2 kilos sweet potato
1 large red skin potato
1/4 cup almond or Coconut milk its best with coconut milk
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Freshly ground black pepper  sea salt to taste.
Peel and chop all the potatoes, place them in a large pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes till soft,
Drain all the water, season well, add the coconut oil and mash well, then add the coconut milk to the potato mixture and mix.
Set aside to cool,
At this stage you can assemble the pie or wait till both the meat and the potato mixture have cooled a bit to make for easier to handle.

To Assemble The Cottage/ Sheppard's Pie.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5

Choose your dish wisely.. I use a deep Pyrex, so that one can see the division of the pie at the table, but my mother use to use a deep oval metal pie dish…I just know that once a family adopts a certain recipe and dish it becomes the family favorite.
Your meat mixture should be juicy but not runny, ( and certainly not dry) so you can take off any excess fluid and set it aside to serve as gravy .
Place the meat mixture in the dish spread evenly.
Top with the sweet potato making sure you spread the potatoes to the very edge therefore sealing in all the meat juices.
Take a fork and ruffle the top.
Ruffle the top  with a  fork to create peaks

(At this stage you can freeze the pie up to a month,  defrost totally  then continue  as below.)

Bake for 25-30 minutes till the top goes golden and the meat mixture is bubbling at the edges.
I always let mine stand for 5-6 minutes before serving so the layers settle.

Serve on its own, or with a variety of vegetables. (I like cauliflower cabbage or swede!)


I am a real lover of Shepherds /Cottage pie, the name is of no importance to me; one bite takes me back to winter suppers of my childhood, there is no right or wrong way to make it, but I hope you enjoy my simple version that I guarantee will warm you up from within while enveloping you in a feeling of tranquility and comfort of times gone by.