Rob is sick. Not quite sick enough for Harry to make his move in an attempt to take Rob's place in the pecking order but sick enough for him to bully Rob mercilessly yesterday, stealing his food and lying on top of him. Dogs can sense weakness and will take advantage of it.
Today Rob feels a little better and instead of the Toblerone, crisps and wine gum fest of yesterday he has demanded sustenance. Pie. Cottage pie with gravy. Mmmmmm comfort of the highest level, creamy mashed potato covering savoury oniony, carroty minced beef.
I love pie made from left over Sunday roast using all the left over veg to make a sort of bubble and squeak topping but this version is the one my mum wouldn't approve of. It has Bisto in it. My Mum thinks the devil and all his minions make Bisto along with microwaves, frozen burgers and fast food restaurants - she may well be right but it tastes good in this.
Rob's Cottage Pie
2 Carrots diced
2 Stalks celery diced
1 Large onion diced
1 Clove garlic minced
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Lb Mince beef - organic rare breed if you can it will taste better
1 Slosh Madeira - optional
1-2 Tbs mushroom ketchup
1 Tbs anchovy essence
1 Beef stock cube
1 Glass red wine
1.5 Pints hot water
2 heaped tsp bisto powder
Salt and pepper to taste
About 1Kg potato - maris piper or some other fluffy potato
2-3 Heaped tbs creme fraiche
Large blob butter
Peel and put the spuds on to boil in salted water that just covers them. I start checking after about 20 mins if they are large chunks and you are looking for a knife to slide in easily but you already know that...
Heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan, pop in all the veg bits and cook for about 10 mins until softish. Turn up the heat and add the mince bodging it around to break it up and brown it all. Once it is brown slosh in some Madeira if you are using it if not add the mushroom ketchup, anchovy essence, stock cube, red wine and hot water. Cook all this together for half an hour then mix the bisto with some cold water and then add to the mince mix stirring all the time to prevent lumps. Let it bubble away for another 10 mins taste and season if you think it needs it. Mash up your spuds with the creme fraiche and butter and taste to check seasoning.
I then sieve some of the gravy off the meat and pop it into the dish you want to cook it in, top with mashed spuds and cook in the oven until brown and bubbling. You could have peas with this but I think for comfort it is easier to shovel in without.