I’m not professing to be Gordon Ramsay – heck, I’m not even Fanny Craddock. I can’t cook. I give it a good old British try, but some things just aren’t for me – cooking fancy stuff being one of them. I’ve never made a cake that doesn’t sink in the middle and cupcakes, well, we won’t even go there.
So when people ask me to cook English food, I go to my staples. I can do blinding roast potatoes and a Sunday roast. I can make curry (with the help of Patak’s sauces) and I make a brilliant Shepherd’s Pie (even if I do say so myself). The thing is, and I’ve never told anyone, I cheat when I make Shepherd’s Pie. There it is – it’s out there now.
I don’t use herbs and spices or fancy seasoning in my meat – I use a packet mix. But not even a Coleman’s Shepherd’s Pie packet mix – it’s just a supermarket own brand stew mix! I use half a packet and dissolve it with an Oxo cube. Very un-English (except for the Oxo).
This is how Jamie Oliver would make it right here. And he says it’s simple!
- 1 pound mince
- 1 tin carrots
- 1 small bag of frozen peas
- Half a sachet of Stew Mix
- 1 Oxo cube
- Mashed potato
Brown the meat; mix the Oxo and Stew Mix with 1 litre of hot water. Empty peas and carrots into meat with Oxo and stew mix, cover and simmer until water has reduced.
Meanwhile, make your mashed potatoes. Put the meat in a baking dish and put the spuds over the top – fluff with a fork. Pop in the oven for an hour, or until the top gets crusty and/or brown.
And now I’ve given away one of my biggest secrets, my American friends will not be pestering me to come to dinner so often – but maybe that’s a good thing *smile*