There are few things I love more than old cookery books. I’m talking about ones from the 70s and 80s when food was garishly coloured and anything from beyond these shores was still exotic. So when I found myself with a packet of minced beef and no plan, what was I to do but reach for the Mighty Mince Cookbook!
(Don’t you love my stripy chopping board?!)
The dates in the front of the book show a last pressing of 1984, so we can reasonably assume it had been hanging around my mum and dad’s house since around then. There are huge sections on different types of burgers and meatloaves, but I didn’t feel that either of those hit the spot, so what did I go with..?
So obviously I’m incapable of following a recipe to the letter, but I did take some inspiration from this one.
Elements I took from the recipe:
Mushrooms – to be honest these would probably have gone in anyway, but I’ve often argued with friends about whether mushrooms have a place in a cottage pie, so I’m pleased to see them in a recipe.
Doing so much of the cooking in the pan – I normally sweat the onions and brown the meat and then chuck it all in the oven for ages, but giving it a good old simmer on the hob speeded up the process no end.
Eggs in the mash – no idea what this was about, but I went with it (although I got bored of whisking, so the whites weren’t quite a peaky as the should have been) and I ended up
with mash that had an element of dumpling about it. Now I like mash and I like dumplings, so really this neither a good or a bad thing, don’t think I’ll bother in future though.
Changes I made:
Worcestershire sauce – I can’t be the only person who simply doesn’t have this in the cupboard as a matter of course? So I chucked in a few herbs instead and all was right with the world.
Beef stock – I kind of did this, but I’m lazy so gravy granules and extra water to make up the liquid. I know that’s not great, but it was yum so I’m happy.
Veg – Again I’m lazy, so any excuse to throw everything in the same dish and save on cooking sides. A few peas went in there, and I had some kale lying around so a bit of that went in too. But no carrots, never carrots.
Cheese – you’ll see that the top of the pie is a bit lumpy, the only cheese I had in the house was feta. Obviously that isn’t really fit for purpose, but I crumbled some on top anyway and I ended up really enjoying the tangy bite it brought.
I got two dinners and two lunches out of this pie and I enjoyed every one of them, so all in all a massive success.
Now lets look at some pictures…