Classic Shepherd’s Pie

Serves: 6

So here is an interesting thing: Cottage Pie’s use ground beef. Shepherd’s Pie’s use ground lamb.

Though for purposes of calories, we went with beef here.

And wow, it is a great pie.

Just a classic, go-to recipe for a Shepherd’s Pie. (Or Cottage Pie)

Or whatever it is.

Ingredients

Meat Filling

2 tbsp olive oil
1 c chopped yellow onion
500gm lean ground beef
2 tsp dried parsley leaves
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 c beef stock
1 c frozen mixed peas and carrots
1/2 c frozen corn kernels

Potato Topping

1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped
8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 c thickened cream
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 c Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Make the Meat Filling

  1. Add the oil to a large skillet and place it over a medium heat; add the onions, stirring occasionally until softened. Add the ground beef (or ground lamb) until it breaks apart.
  2. Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, Salt and pepper and stir well. Cook for 8 mins until the meat is browned.
  3. Add Worcestershire sauce and garlic, stir and cook for 1 min.
  4. Add the flour and the tomato paste, stir until there are no clumps of tomato paste.
  5. Add broth, frozen peas, carrots, frozen corn and bring to a boil then reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally until its thicker in texture.
  6. Set mixture aside and preheat oven to 200c.
  7. Potato topping: boil the potatoes until tender.
  8. Drain and mash or put through a ricer and let the liquid evaporate for about 1 minute.
  9. Add butter, cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir all ingredients together.
  10. Add Parmesan cheese and stir well.
  11. Assemble: pour the meat mixture in a baking dish and spread out evenly to form a layer. Spoon mash potatoes on top of meat in an even layer.
  12. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Crispy North Indian Style Aloo Tikki with Stuffed Green Peas

Serves: 6-8

Aloo tikki is a popular Indian street food snack made with boiled potatoes, aromatic spices and herbs.

These patties are crispy on the outside and soft and aromatic on the inside. The peas stuffing really adds to the dish though often you find recipes that don’t include the peas.

Do not cut this corner.

They are absolutely moorish and your guests will have smiles all over.

Ingredients

Green peas and potatoes

4 to 5 large potatoes
1/2 c frozen baby peas
2.5 c water

For the stuffing

1/4 tsp red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp coriander powder (ground coriander)
1/2 tsp fennel powder (ground fennel seeds)
1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder or ¼ to ½ teaspoon lemon juice
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp finely chopped green chillies
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
2 pinches black salt
Salt as required

For the potato mixture

1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dry mango powder or 1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp black salt
Salt as required
1/4 c bread crumbs or add as required
1/4 c cornstarch (or as required)
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
4 to 5 tbsp oil for frying the tikki or as required

Method

  1. Cook the potatoes and the peas: I cooked mine together with the potatoes boiling under a trivet holding the peas in a metal bowl. This got a bit complicated so I would recommend peeling the potatoes and boiling them in a pot until soft.
  2. Steam the peas in the microwave safe dish until soft. About 4 minutes.
  3. Green pea stuffing: Take the peas in a bowl and mash them to a coarse texture.
  4. To the peas, add red chilli powder or cayenne pepper, coriander powder, fennel powder, dry mango powder, finely chopped ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves, black salt and regular salt as per taste.
  5. Potato mixture: Meanwhile drain the water from the potatoes and let them become warm.
  6. When the potatoes are warm, mash or use a ricer. Let mashed potatoes cool completely.
  7. Add chilli powder, Garam Masala, coriander powder, dry mango powder, black salt and regular salt as per taste.
  8. Next add bread crumbs and cornflour and mix very well.
  9. Stuffing and shaping: Divide the mixture into small or medium shaped patties with a hollow center or cup shaped discs. You can apply some oil on your palms when making the patties or tikki.
  10. Place the green peas filling in the center.
  11. Bring the mashed potato edges on the top and seal them.
  12. Frying: Heat 2 tbsp oil on a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) or frying pan till it is medium hot. Gently place the tikki and begin to pan-fry them
  13. When the base is crispy and golden, gently flip each tikki with a spatula.
  14. Fry the second side till crispy and golden. You can gently flip once or twice more till the aloo tikki are golden and crisp evenly.
  15. Remove and on paper towels. Fry all tikkis this way. Add 2 tbsp more oil when frying the second batch.
  16. Serve with coriander, chutney and yoghurt.
Stuffing the peas into the potato mixture before sealing.

Elizabeth David’s Onion Tart with Green Pea Sauce

Serves: 6

To mark the first day out of Sydney’s lockdown, we did a lengthy, Provincial French lunch.

Nat’s parents came over armed with Champagne and a cracking French red: and our great mate and builder, a man who finishes off all my half-arsed projects and kindly looks after the dogs when we are away.

(Only costs a case of beer or two for that service!)

There was a lot of talk about how I had butchered our big teak outdoor table with a belt sander, or the time I blew something else up.

Acknowledgement, I am not handy.

So I needed to prove that I had at least one passing skill (with laughter in the background about the time I broke a wheelbarrow or the time I installed a swimming pool upside down).

This tart was a wonderful starter and put the needle back in my court. Subtle, simple, elegant, the onions sweated for hours and hours.

Your guests will know a special afternoon is on the menu.

Maybe the addition of gruyere or bacon lardons would have added to it, though its simplicity is all you need to make the point.

The green pea sauce is a wonderful addition.

Even our mate conceded it made up for the poor table sanding job.

Note: I used store bought shortcrust pastry which worked fine. Also, I softened the onion as slowly as possible – 4+ hours – and I know that this makes such a difference if you have the time.

Ingredients

210gm plain flour
Pinch of salt
125gm unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten
60gm butter, plus extra for greasing
1kg onions, thinly sliced
Sat and freshly ground pepper
6 egg yolks
300ml cream

Green Pea Sauce

20gm butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
500gm baby (frozen) peas
1 1/2 c chicken stock

Method

  1. To make their pastry, save the flour and salt. Chop the unsalted butter through the flour. Make a well in the centre and add 20 – 30mls of cold water and the egg.
  2. Carefully bring in the flour mixture from the outside until the dough comes roughly together. Push the dough outwards with the palm of your hand too roughly blend the butter – you should be able to see large streaks of butter in the dough. Shape into two discs and wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the regular butter over a low heat. Add the onion to the butter. Stir until well combined.
  4. Cover and cook, stirring often, for 30 minutes or until soft and golden. (As per the absolutely genius Boathouse Snapper Pie, cooking the onions longer and slower is where the best tastes come from, though leave that to you.) Season and set aside to cool.
  5. Whist the egg yolks and cream in a bowl. Add the cooled onions and stir until combined.
  6. Heat your oven to 200c.
  7. Grease six 12cm fluted tart tins with removable bases or one 24cm flan tin.
  8. Roll the pastry out and line the prepared tins, trimming any excess. Place tins onto a baking tray, line each with baking paper, fill with baking beans all the way to the top and blind bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove the baking beans and paper, then return tunas to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes until the base is golden.
  10. Remove from the oven, turn the oven to 180c, fill the tart shell(s) with the onion mix and return to the oven.
  11. Cook for 25-35 minutes until golden on top and set. Remove from the oven.
  12. Meanwhile, to make the pea sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until soft.
  13. Add the peas and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 – 2 minutes or until the peas are just tender. Strain the peas, reserving the liquid.
  14. Put the peas and one cup of the reserved liquid into a food process and process until smooth, adding more liquid if required.

Iceberg’s pea salad recipe

Serves: 4

We have had some just excellent, long lunches at Icebergs which at its best, is much more than a must-try Eastern Suburbs joint for the well heeled.

If you have ever been, you will know the famous pea salad. This is legit the recipe.

We didn’t have enough time to drain the ricotta salata so we crumbed it on top; at Icebergs, it is shaved and the effect is just great.

Ingredients

Salad
1 cup farro
1½ cups cooked peas
5 leaves basil, chopped
5 leaves mint, chopped
1 shallot, finely diced
½ Lebanese cucumber, diced
½ stick celery, diced
25ml vinaigrette (see ingredients below)
Salt and pepper to taste

Vinaigrette

25ml lemon juice
35ml sherry vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¾ tsp salt
200ml extra-virgin olive oil
Ricotta salata (salted ricotta) to serve (this is hard to find. We mixed a tub of ricotta with salt and let it drain over a fine mesh sieve sprinkling with salt. It takes at least 2 days for the liquid to drain away – see here)

Method

  1. Cook the farro in plenty of lightly salted water for 20–30 minutes or as per the packet instructions. Drain and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. To make the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt and lemon juice and then the oil. Do not emulsify.
  3. Combine the herbs, peas, farro, cucumber, celery, shallot seasoning and 25ml vinaigrette. Place the dressed salad in bowl, coat with a fine grating of salted ricotta and serve. Store excess vinaigrette in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Neil Perry’s Beef Chuck and Pea Pies

Serves: 4

Some nights simply call for a pie.

A few months back on a freezing Saturday, we agreed that we were heading for one of those nights.

And given that the finest pairing to a pie are peas, it was going to be hard to look past this pie from Neil Perry.

It is a pretty down-the-line pie recipe though that is kind of the point for “must have pie” nights. Beef that is falling apart, a cracking gravy and then those peas.

(Plus a proper mash where we diced in a raw eschallot – trust me, it’s brilliant.)

Open a bottle of red, put on a movie and boom, there’s pie night done!

Ingredients

1.25kg beef chuck, diced and cut into 3cm cubes, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp plain flour
80ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
200ml red wine
200ml veal or chicken stock
150gm frozen green baby peas, defrosted
1 handful mint leaves, chopped
1 – 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 egg yolk, lightly whisked with 1 tbsp water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160c. Toss the seasoned beef with the flour until evenly coated.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan over a high heat. Add beef in batches and cook for about five minutes per batch until well browned, then remove. Add more oil to the pan if it dries out.
  3. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Add the tomato paste and 1 tbsp flour and cook for a minute or so. Add the red wine and stock and stir until the mixture boils.
  5. Return the beef to the pan, cover the pan with foil and cook in the oven for at least two hours or until tender. Stir through the peas and mint. Allow to cool, then chill in the fridge until cold. (“Warm filling will ruin the pastry.”)
  6. When the beef filling is ready, heat the oven to 180c. Divide the pie filling among pie dishes and top each with a piece of pastry large enough to hand over the edge of each dish.
  7. Press the pastry down firmly around the edges of the dish and brush evenly with the egg yolk. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, until puffed and golden.

Martha Stewart’s Pea Salad

Serves: 4

We had an amazing Bill Granger Pea Salad last week and inspired, I was looking up pea salads we could serve this week along with some spicy lamb meatballs we we’re having for dinner.

This recipe came up a lot.

I used Parmesan rather than Cheddar and I cooked and then refreshed the peas rather then letting them de-thaw in the salad in the fridge for 4 hours… something you are most welcome to do if you wish.

The reason I’ve typed it up of course is that is a fantastic salad.

So much so that the next day, I did a double batch for a BBQ pool party and everyone loved it. Even kids.

Get onto this!

(Note: we cook our greens in the microwave; a dash of water in a microwave dish and you have crunchy, crisp greens without the need to boil or broil… In typing up this recipe, I haven’t prescribed how to cook the peas and however you do it, enjoy.)

Ingredients

1/4 cup (low fat) egg mayonnaise
1/4 cup (low fat) sour cream
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
500gm frozen baby peas
1/4 cup, packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
60gm, Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
120gm smoked bacon

Method

  1. Cook the bacon in a large frypan over a medium heat until browned and becoming crispy: around 10 minutes. Drain well on paper towel and then julienne.
  2. Cook the peas until warmed through; refresh in cold water.
  3. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream and vinegar in a large bowl; season generously with salt and pepper. Fold in the peas, onion and parsley.
  4. Refrigerate until needed and gently fold in the Parmesan and bacon just before serving.

Braised Peas with Cos Lettuce and Mint

Serves: 4 – 6

This classic French dish is from Karen Martini and swaps out iceberg lettuce for cos.

It makes the lettuce a bit more a feature and the result is just awesome.

It is rich and warm and a wonderful accompaniment: roast chicken or lamb or some chargrilled steaks we served with a herb butter and a onion rings.

It just shows how well peas and lettuce and work.

If you can make the effort, make the effort. It will dial up any meal into a memorable one.

Ingredients

80gm unsalted butter
1 large garlic clove< sliced
2 ½ cups frozen peas
2 baby cos lettuces, trimmed and cut into 1cm pieces
5 sprigs mint, leaves torn
1 tbsp sea salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp castor sugar

Method

  1. Melt half the butter in a very large frying pan over and medium heat and cook the garlic for 2 minutes. Add the peas, lettuce and ¼ cup hot water, simmer and stir for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mint, salt, sugar and remaining butter and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the sauce is glossy and syrupy.

Italian Coleslaw

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Just wonderful; creamy thanks to the parmesan; hot thanks to the chilli oil.

Italian Coleslaw

Serves: 4 – 6

This is a really sophisticated little number I pulled from Gourmet Traveller.

It speaks of the thinly sliced, super-fresh vegetables and herbs you throw in and with the parmesan, chilli oil and some seasoning, wow.

We had it with a glazed pork chop and some braised beans it was wonderful; it is hot, fresh, soaked up the rest of the plate and stood its own as a side. The next lunch served with a rare BBQed eye fillet and some hand-cut chips, it got even better.

Slaw is always good and this is a wonderful version of it.

Ingredients

180gm peas (de-thawed peas are fine or if using podded peas, start with 500gm )
¼ white cabbage, thinly sliced
Fennel bulb, thinly sliced
½ Spanish Onion, thinly sliced
3 radishes, thinly sliced
½ cup each (loosely packed) basil, mint and flat-leaf parsley, coarsely torn
¼ cup (firmly packed) watercress sprigs
1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed
40gm parmesan, finely grated
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp chilli oil
2 tbsp lemon juice

Method

  1. If using podded peas, blanch peas in boiling salted water until tender (1 – 2 minutes), fresh and drain. If using frozen, de-thaw completely.
  2. Combine in a large bowl with cabbage, fennel, onion, radish, herbs, watercress, capers and parmesan and toss to combine.
  3. Just before serving, add oils and juice, season to taste and toss lightly to combine.

Braised Peas and Bacon

Serves: 4

I served this simple Jill Dupleix braise last night with an even simpler Veal Pillard: preheat your grill to hot, brush veal schnitzels in olive oil and season, grill for 1 minute and serve with a dollop of horseradish and juice from a chargrilled lemon half.

What a success!

The flavours married wonderfully, especially for a cold cold night.

Cook this once and this will become a side you do over and over again.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
3 rashers streaky bacon, diced
2 leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
100ml white wine
150ml chicken stock
200gm frozen baby peas
1 tbsp mint leaves
1 tbsp butter
Sea salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a pan, cook the bacon over a medium heat until crisp. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil over a low heat and add the leeks, spring onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the wine and bring to the boil. Add the stock and peas and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Return the bacon to the pan with the mint, butter, sea salt and pepper, heat through and serve.

Pea, Snowpea, Almond and Feta Salad

Serves: 4

What a great salad!

190 calories a serve, really colourful and bursting with flavour.

This is a real win.

From Toby and Georgia Puttock’s book The Chef gets Healthy, this is a great salad. I mean, who doesn’t love peas – and snowpeas – and with the toasted almonds and some feta?!

Try it and you’ll understand why!

(Slightly adapted to our steam/microwave lives.)

Ingredients

150gm snowpeas, ends trimmed
150gm frozen (baby) peas
½ red onion, thinly sliced
50gm reduced fat feta
30gm flaked almonds, toasted
Handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
1 ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Handful of rocket or watercress

Method

  1. Blanch – steam, boil, microwave –the snowpeas and peas until bright green and tender crisp; drain and refresh with cold water. Drain again.
  2. Put the snowpeas, peas, onion, feta, almonds, basil, olive oil and vinegar in a large bowl and toss to combine, Season and carefully toss through the rocket or watercress.
  3. Enjoy.