06 Jan

Cottage Pie Leftovers Recipe

Week 1: Recipe 2

Make Once Eat Twice

Yesterday I made a braised beef with seasonal veg dish and using the leftovers I’ve now made a cottage pie.

I’ll keep it simple, because my recipes have to take little time in the kitchen. The only additional ingredients you will need are about 200g of frozen peas and sweetcorn, plus a small amount of grated cheese.

Shred the remaining beef from the previous meal and stir it into the leftover gravy.

Preheat your fan oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

Spoon the gravy and beef mixture into a large baking dish. Top with the frozen vegetables.

Spoon the leftover mashed potatoes on top of the vegetables and gravy mixture. Sprinkle grated cheese on top of the mashed potatoes.

Cook in the oven for 45 minutes, until all the food is warmed through and serve immediately.

If you want to, this meal is also perfect for freezing so once assembled, cover well and put straight into the freezer where it will keep for up to 1 month. Ensure it is completely defrosted before cooking in the oven.

05 Jan

Braised Beef With Seasonal Veg

Week 1: Recipe 1

Make Once Eat Twice

For the first in the recipe series I’ve gone back to a family favourite. Mam used to make this braised beef dish in a heavy casserole dish with a lid. The homely flavours come thanks to the veg that all comes from a local farm. It doesn’t get more Irish than this.

Ingredients
3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1kg housekeepers cut of beef (note remove any string or elastic before cooking)
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1/2 small turnip (or swede) peeled and chopped
1 litre of vegetable stock (use hot water and 1 vegetable stock cube)
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour

For Serving
Mashed potatoes (make enough for 2 meals)

Method
For the braised flavour you will need to sear the onions and the beef. So first grab your casserole dish, put it on a high heat and fry the onions in a teaspoon of vegetable oil until they turn brown/charred. Remove the onions from the dish and put them on a plate.

With the dish still on high, sear all sides of the beef so that it’s dark brown. Add the onions back to the dish, the rest of the vegetables, and then the stock. Cover the casserole dish and reduce the heat so that the stock is on a slow simmer. Cook for 3-4 hours. Note the stock should reach a maximum of halfway up the piece of beef, it should not be covered in the stock.

Adapted for the slow cooker: Fry the onions and then the beef in a frying pan before putting them into your slow cooker. Add the chopped vegetables, stock, put the lid on top and cook on high for 5-6 hours.

Before serving, remove the beef from the dish/slow cooker. Remember you have to keep half for your second dish tomorrow so it may be easier to cut it in half and cover now before serving dinner.

In a small cup mix 1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour with a splash of cold water until you get a loose paste. With the vegetables and the stock still on the heat, quickly stir this paste into the mixture. It should thicken the mixture to a gravy instantly. Once again, half of this mixture is to be reserved for your second meal.

Serve the beef with the vegetables in gravy with mash on the side. I’ve served ours with buttered cabbage as I got some fresh from the farm yesterday and I love the vibrant colours.

One of the main reasons why I love this recipe so much is because all of the vegetables used here are Irish and in season. It makes it very budget friendly for what is a very frugal time of the year.

Cover the leftover food and chill the food when it reaches room temperature. I’ll have the second recipe for you tomorrow!

25 Sep

Mac & Cheese

Have you ever reached into the fridge and pulled out a carton of milk that is perhaps a day past it’s ‘best before’ date, and even though it smells okay you thought you should just pour it down the sink and be done with it? Providing your milk has been stored inside the fridge, and not on the door of the fridge (which is prone to temperature fluctuations), you are probably okay to cook with it.

The only way that I can combat the temptation to eat convenience food during the week is to plan ahead. There are weeks where I hate the planning and organisation; I really rail against the need to be methodical about what we’re going to eat. Then there are weeks where I have it licked.

Do I have it down to a fine art at this stage? Nope!

What I have learned to do is to cook more than 1 meal at a time. In other words I cook double quantities. A meal for now; a meal for another day. The pay off for cooking a family meal is that at another point in the future, I get a reprieve from cooking, with very little effort. Read More

30 Jan

Batch Cooking

The key to having your meals planned for the week ahead is organisation. That is why I prepare a pile of veg over the weekend and get batch cooking.  Don’t be under any illusions now, I’m no food preparation machine, but it is so easy to lash a dinner together during the week when I’ve put the time in at the weekend.

It goes a bit like this:  Read More

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