Whilst she does love her finger food, this is a great chance to encourage her how to use a spoon too - and serving with some vegetable spears such as asparagus and baby corn, mean she can dip them in and still have a selection of fun finger foods too.
I only use 200g lean steak mince and 150g red lentils plus all of the vegetables and this makes enough for two cottage pies plus two small ones so this is a very economical meal too as well as being a bit healthier than a traditional cottage pie.
Also with the gravy - if you have all the time in the world to make one from scratch - perfect. Personally I use Bisto, and find no shame in this.
- 200g lean steak mince
- 150g red lentils
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 carrots
- 3 sticks celery
- 3 tbsp frozen peas
- 500ml gravy - made to your preference
- 200g white potatoes (I use Desiree)
- Black pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 30g hard cheese (I use Cheddar)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
Firstly peel and wash the potatoes and put them on to boil and pre-heat the oven to about 180 degrees.
Now finely dice the onion and crush the garlic add to a pan on a low heat with a spritz of cooking spray.
Now peel and chop the carrot and slice the celery and set aside.
Once the onion has begun to soften, add the meat to the pan and move around using a spatula or wooden spoon until it has browned all over.
Once brown, add the carrot, celery and lentils and cook in the juices from the meat for three or four minutes whilst you make up the gravy.
Now pour over half of the gravy and add the frozen peas, dried thyme and a pinch of black pepper at this point too. Try not to be tempted to add salt at this point if possible - the gravy will have a salt content and you and your partner or any other adults sharing the meal can always add salt when eating.
Give a good stir and leave to bubble away for twenty minutes, adding more gravy if it becomes too dry.
Test to see if the potatoes are soft enough to mash with a fork and if so, drain, shake away excess water then return to the pan and place back on the heat for ten seconds giving the pot a good shake to remove any leftover moisture.
Now add the olive oil and mash. Add a pinch of salt here too for seasoning. Once nicely mashed set aside for the moment.
Once the meat has been cooking for twenty minutes, remove from the heat and spoon half into an ovenproof dish. I like to do Bridget's in a separate dish so also use a ramekin for her which is the perfect size and two tablespoons of the meat mixture is sufficient. The remaining meat I put into a plastic dish ready for freezing. (Obviously allow this to completely cool before placing into the freezer to avoid it ruining the rest of the food in the freezer!)
Now spoon on the mashed potato onto both dishes use the back of a spoon to press it down slightly. Once evenly distributed all over, grate over the cheese onto both dishes, and use a fork to crimp to give it that classic look once cooked.
Now leave to stand until you're ready to cook or place into the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes or until nicely golden brown.
Serve with your choice of vegetables.