Last night I finally used the ramekins I bought from an ebay seller back in 2003. I remember it was my first ebay auction experience and I got them for a song, so it was a great day, but they have been sitting up in the very top most shelf of the cupboard since we moved into the house, and in a box in storage before that. If I was following along with that Oprah Clutter Clearing guy I would had to have thrown those ramekins to the wind because I hadn’t used them in the last 12 months, so sometimes it pays to hoard. They were absolutely perfect for making our scheduled (weekly menu plan in action) Shepherd’s Pie all the more exciting. All I had to serve along with the pie was frozen peas so we made them look (according to Amelia) “more Japanese” and less completely pathetic by serving them in Japanese tea cups.
My Twitter people already know this, but Amelia poked at the meat under the potato crust and said “so, this bit in the middle is the shepherd?”.
Anyway, it’s super easy and super yum and pretty cheap and can be baked in a big baking dish or individual ramekins. It’s real Nanna food and we love it!
500g minced beef (definitely not shepherd, and try to avoid the diet stuff if you can)
1 medium onion finely chopped
Olive oil or butter for frying
Handful of fresh marjoram leaves (chopped)
Handful of fresh parsley leaves (chopped)
1/3 cup of tomato sauce (ketchup or something of better quality if you have it)
Tablespoon of bonox (or a stock cube or even some vegemite)
Lug of woustershire sauce
Tablespoon of gravox (I have NO idea what an international equivalent to this stuff is. It’s like a gravy mix powder with cornflour in it. Basically I use it for a bit of extra taste and to thicken the mixture)
Mashed potato (your favourite way)
While you are cooking this I recommend wearing your most slumpy tracksuit, comfiest slippers and a scrunchie in your hair.
Gently fry the onion over a medium heat in a big skillet until it is soft and transparent. Add meat and brown it while breaking it into small lumps with a wooden spoon. Add herbs, tomato sauce, bonox (or stockcube) and a generous lug of woustershire sauce and a generous grinding of black pepper. Let it simmer for 30 minutes and add gravox to thicken in the last minute.
Make your mashed potato (basically? 4-5 big potatoes, peeled, chopped, boiled until soft, drained and then mash and mix in 50g butter, pepper, and enough warm milk to make it the right consistency – but if you want a good recipe try Delia’s).
Put the cooked meat in a nice chunky baking dish or ramekins, and cover with a generous layer of mash. Sprinkle grated cheese on the top.
Cook in an oven at 200°c (aprox 400°f) for 10 minutes until the cheese has melted. I actually gave it a quick grill on the top at the end to brown it up.
Served with steamed vegetables (or a tea cup of peas!). This is my mum’s classic recipe. We grew up on this stuff. Last night I made double the mince recipe and have frozen half for another day. Bonza.