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vegetables | cottage pie

Serves 4 with vegetables

Between us, this is affectionately known as old knacker's pie rather than shepherd's pie or cottage pie. It stems from a long joke about a gardener who is the male equivalent of Julie Walter's fabulous character of Mrs. Overall. Don't ask! Late nights of cooking made us tired and ridiculous! And after a while there are only so many ways you can phrase a recipe title to make it sounds gorgeous! The great thing about this dish is that you can make a base mixture and cook in separate dishes if necessary, adding extra bits for different people.

Wheat free, dairy free, nut free, meat free version...




  1. Heat the oven to 170°C
  2. Heat the oil in a big pan, add the onion and sauté until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes, then add the celery and sauté the mixture for about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots and stir in well. Sauté for another few minutes
  5. Add the mushrooms and sweat mixture for 10 minutes.
  6. Cover with water and wine, add herbs and stock.
  7. Simmer until the carrots are cooked.
  8. Add the tin of tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer until reduced to a thick mixture.
  9. Whilst the mixture is reducing boil the potatoes.
  10. When cooked, mash well and add the milk to make the mixture creamy. Don't hesitate to add more or less milk depending on the potatoes you are using, if you think it needs it. Stir in the yoghurt and chives.
  11. In a dish, pour in the tomato mixture, then spoon the potato mixture on top to cover the surface. By all means pipe the potatoes if you are feeling particularly fancy! I tend to just randomly attack it with a fork - you know the way you try and peak the icing on a Christmas cake when you've given up trying to do anything more artistic!
  12. Put in the oven for 20 minutes or so to crisp the potatoes and until you can see that the tomato mixture is bubbling - it generally has a habit of escaping at the sides so you should be able to tell quite easily!

Maybe serve with...

This is great with peas!

For those able to eat dairy ...

I tend to bake these in individual dishes so that people who can eat dairy can have grated cheese on top or maybe a knob of butter, which gives the dish a lovely crispy golden brown finish. Cows milk and butter could be used instead of the rice milk when making the mashed potatoes if everyone can eat it.

For those able to eat meat ...

This is a really hearty dish in its own right, but you could add minced meat and beef stock and remove some of the vegetables (and vegetable stock) if everyone ate meat. Have a look at the flat roof cottage pie for a completely meat version.

If you have carrots leftover, try the spicy beanburgers. If you have celery and carrots leftover, you could make Scarlett's secret sauce or carrot and coriander soup

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