Sunday, 31 January 2010


So here it is, my new food blog. As a food editor I spend my days thinking about food, and my evenings and weekends cooking and eating it. In summer 2009, I started a blog about ingredients (pinchofrosemary.
) and got overexcited about gorgeous photos of food and experimenting with recipes. 
And then I got pregnant and began to see food in a different way – it become a bit more functional. I wanted it to comfort me, fill me up, and nourish me and the Rosebud. And do it very, very quickly. For the first few weeks I was torn between a need to give my growing baby a good supply of nutrients and a mad desire to eat anything. So I’ve spent the past few months eating and thinking about this blog. And now with the bright lights of maternity leave in sight, I’ve done it.

So my first recipe fits the bill of function over fanciness: the cottage pie. Yes, she’s not the prettiest of dishes but she ticks all the comfort/nutrient/filling boxes. I usually freestyle it, so the results range from straight A to B- depending on my mood and what ingredients are at the front of my packed cupboards.

Here is my pregnancy version of cottage pie – not too dissimilar to your classic British dish but with several Brucie Bonuses – I’ve added haricot beans to the beef mince for a double protein whammy, good for building your baby’s cells and tissues, and the topping is a vitamin-packed mash of three root veg.

Cottage pie with winter mash topping
A protein-packed comfort dish. Make two and freeze one for another time when you'd rather sit on the sofa than be in the kitchen. Serve with kale, spring greens or spinach for a cheeky iron boost. 
Serves 4 adults 
1-2 onions, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
500g beef mince
1/2 tbsp plain flour
300ml beef stock
2-3tsp HP Sauce
1-2 tsp Ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 x 410g tin haricot beans
Big handful frozen peas

2 sweet potatoes
3 parsnips
5 carrots
1/2 large swede

1. Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan/Gas 5. Fry the onion in oil until softened. Add the mince and cook until browned. Sprinkle over the plain flour and stir until mixed in.

2. In a mixing jug, dissolve a stock cube in boiling water. Add flavourings such as HP Sauce, Ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to the stock and stir well. Pour over the mince. Bring the mixture to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the haricot beans, season then cook on a low heat for 20-30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, peel the topping vegetables into evenly sized pieces. Put in large pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the veg are cooked through. Drain then mash with butter. Season well.

4. Add the peas to the beef mixture then pour into an ovenproof dish. Mine is a heart-shaped Le Creuset dish. Spoon the mash on top and spread out with a fork. Cook for 20-25 minutes until golden on top.