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Some waffle…not actual waffles, but actual mash and mince….and a nice tomato sauce

tomatoes close 2_SM

So it’s been a few weeks of no recipes. It’s not like I’ve not been eating or anything. I’ve been on a budget so I guess I’ve not really been eating anything that exciting that I feel is worth putting up.

Most of the stuff I’ve been eating I’ve already put up on here so I feel like I’m pretty well covered for food on a budget. I’ve realised that while a lot of the stuff I’ve been eating recently are recipes I’ve put up before they have been a bit different and I’ve used them in different ways.

There’s a few little things I’m doing differently and a few good little tips and techniques that I could tell you about. Plus it gets me back into the writing thing which I’ve been a bit slack with recently. I’m hoping this kick starts the writing/cooking/recipes thing again. I’ve been lacking some creativity recently and I think that’s impacted my cooking and my writing. So here we go.

First thing. Mash potato. I’ve been making lots of mince beef recipes in the last few weeks as it’s great to cook on a budget and I can turn a very simple mince and vege mixture into a load of different recipes. With most of these I’ve been having mash. I’ve been trying to keep away from mash potato as it is having a negative impact on my waist line. Problem is I saw this cool way to make it recently so it’s made it almost impossible to not eat now.

Pretty much, grab some good organic potatoes, cook until tender then grab a sieve and one bit at a time using a wooden spoon push the potato through the sieve. You end up with a really smooth fluffy mash. Add milk, salt, pepper and a load of good butter. Mix well over a low heat and there you go. Best mash ever! I think thats how posh places make their mash so it’s not exactly a massive revelation but it is tasty tho!

So for the mince stuff. I just get some;

Free Range Organic Beef Mince 500 grams – 1kg depending on how much you want to make

Red and Green Peppers (Capsicums)
peas – frozen
Beef Stock
Lee and Perrins Worchestershire Sauce

I use a nice big cast iron pan I can put in the oven. Pop the oven on to about 160°C

1. Roughly Chop everything. Now fry off the onions and carrots in some olive oil. Once soft put in a bowl to one side. Bring pan back up to heat then add some olive oil and add the mince in batches. Season each batch with salt and pepper. Once each batch is cooked add to the bowl of carrots and onions. Once all the batches are cooked put all this back in the pan. Now add the red and green pepper, cook for a few mins then add the mushrooms and cook for a few more mins. Add 1 table spoons of flour per 500 grams of mince.

2. stir well and cook off for a few mins making sure it doesn’t stick too much. Now add the beef stock and a good few splashed of lee and perrins worchestershire sauce. Stir well and add some mixed herbs or some thyme. Bring to the boil then pop in the oven. If you are cooking this in a pan that you can’t put in the oven then once it’s boiling, turn down to a gentle simmer.

3. You want to leave this in the oven for about 2 hours. If it’s on the hob then about 1 hour should be ok. After this time get your peas and add them to the pan and stir well and turn the heat up a bit. Cook until the peas are cooked. You should have a nice thick gravy like sauce covering the mixture. if it’s too thick then add some more stock. If it’s too thin then keep simmering until it has thickened up.

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4. This one does take a bit of time but because we are cooking quite a large batch we can turn this into a few different things during the week which all take a fraction of the time to cook.


Now the variations we can cook.

Day 1 – turn this into a cottage pie. Grab a 2 inch deep oven dish pop the mixture in there and make some of the mash. Pop this on top and sprinkle some cheese and pop in the oven for 30 mins. Serve with vege of your choice.

Day 2 – Bolognese. Spoon some of the mixture into a pan. Add a tin of good quality italian tomatoes and cook down for about 25-30 mins. Serve with pasta of choice.

Day 3 – Tasty Pies. Get some puff pastry you can get in frozen sheets. Add some of the mixture with some cheese. Fold up and crease on all sides, add an egg wash and pop in oven for 20 mins. Serve with new potatoes and salad

You can just keep going really. You can make a chilli, curried beef samosas, tacos, lasagna and the list goes on! You get the idea. It’s a good way to save a bit of time in the week and still manage to eat some nice healthy home cooked food.

washing tomatoes_SM

If you want to make the bolognese a bit tastier then make my easy tomato sauce to use instead of the tin of tomatoes.

All you need is;

Cherry tomatoes
balsamic vinegar
brown sugar
extra virgin olive oil

Add the oil to a hot pan. Add 2 cloves of garlic, whole. Cook this off for 2 mins then add the cheery tomatoes whole. Add a tablespoon of balsamic and a teaspoon of the sugar. season with salt and paper, give a stir and pop the lid on.

Give it  5 mins on high then take the lid off and stir a bit and turn down to a medium heat. Let this reduce for as long as you can really 20-30 mins is good.

once done you can either pass through a sieve or mush up with a fork or masher. Use this a simple pasta sauce with pasta and basil or add to you leftover mince mixture to make your bolognaise.

Sorry for the lack of new photos. Apparently my lack or creativity also extends to the ability for me to take a decent photo.

There we go. Few little recipes to be going on with. I’m hoping to have a pizza weekend so watch this space! xx

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