Cottage Pie

One of the first meals my husband ever cooked for me was Cottage Pie and it (or Shepherds Pie if lamb mince is available) is still a firm favourite in our house.  Over the years we have tried out a few different recipes but the one I favour most is that of Gary Rhodes in New British Classics, which forms the basis for the recipe below.  I don’t feel the need to add wine – I like the mince to be savoury but not too rich.  I serve my pies in small pudding bowls and it is a great one-pot dish with no need for anything else, unless of course you wish to add more veg. [Read more…]

BBQ Greek Lamb


This is a wonderful greek-inspired marinade that I tried out at a family barbecue a long time ago and have been using ever since.  I wanted something that would serve many, in addition to offering burgers etc, so I opted for a butterflied leg of lamb as it is easy to carve, contains plenty of fat to keep the meat moist on the bbq and it goes a long way.  The only thing to do then was make a marinade that would both add flavour and tenderise the meat.   The marinade, which I leave on the lamb overnight, is very simple and gives the meat a fabulous spicy flavour and a wonderful charred crust.  A great way to serve this is as a kebab – thin slices in pitta bread with salad and a mint and yoghurt sauce or aioli.  You can also use a boned fillet (top of the leg) and halve the marinade quantities if you want a smaller amount of meat. [Read more…]

Lamb Shanks

The last few days (okay, years) have been freezing here in the west of Ireland and yesterday, with the wind howling outside and rain pelting at the windows, I felt like we were still stuck in the depths of winter.  When the weather is like that it I always seek comfort in something hearty for dinner – there is nothing like knowing you have a big pot of stew on the hob or casserole in the oven to make you feel a little bit more cosy.  I tend to cook stews the day before for three reasons – firstly because they generally taste better when all of the ingredients have spent the night mingling together; secondly stews take hours of cooking and after a days work you don’t need to wait that long for dinner; and lastly letting the stew cool down allows any fat to solidify on the surface which makes it much easier to remove before heating up – greasy stew is not nice.   I had 4 rather large shanks – a bit bigger than I prefer but I won’t grumble about the butchers generosity – and they just about fit in my 28cm casserole.  I don’t ever flour the meat before browning – meat has to be browned on a high heat quickly (and without overloading the pan to avoid it steaming) and I find the flour burns and leaves a bitter black residue in the oil, so I tend to add it after the onions have been cooked and flavoured by all of the meaty bits left in the bottom of the pot. [Read more…]