Like most people, we spend a lot of our lives rushing around. Between busy jobs, loving families and fabulous friends it often feels like we don’t stop, but Sunday tends to be a day about just the two of us. Whether we are doing jobs in the house or at the allotment or just chilling on the sofa watching trash TV, we always spend the day together, soothing our souls ready for the week ahead. This has become the sunday ritual in the MK household.
And the most important part of this ritual is Sunday evening…..
No matter what we’re doing, at seven o’clock everything else stops, Planet Rock goes on the radio for ‘Amps Off’ (two hours of heavenly acoustic pieces from musicians who normally rock out at more significant decibels) and I cook.
Mr MK usually pops himself down in front of the TV or potters around finishing off the last few weekend jobs and I unwind in the kitchen cooking something slow, delicious and full of flavour.
Usually I cook a sunday roast of some description, but every now and again another home favourite will make a guest appearance. This weekend it was cottage pie.
If I do say so myself, it was fantastic – a lovely rich, thyme-y flavour, this is comfort food at its best and sets us up perfectly for the return to real life on Monday morning.
Vegan Cottage Pie
For the potato topping:
- 800 grams potatoes – peeled and cubed
- 100 ml almond milk
- 50 grams Vitalite (you can use the vegan spread of your choice but I find that vitalite has a decadent rich flavour)
- 1.5 teaspoons garlic granules
- Sea salt
- A generous measure of course black pepper
For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion – peeled and roughly diced
- 2 – 4 cloves of garlic – peeled and finely chopped
- 4 large carrots – peeled and roughly diced
- 200 ml vegetable stock (*see ‘My Hints’ below)
- 100 ml red wine
- 200 grams frozen peas
- 200 grams soya mince (I use Sainsbury’s ‘Love Soy’)
- 200 grams pre-soaked green lentils – drained
- 1 generous tablespoon of thyme (if you are patient use fresh, if not use dried like me)
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- Pinch Sea Salt Flakes
- Another measure of course ground black pepper
- Place the (peeled and cubed) potatoes into a pan of water, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and then simmer for approximately twenty minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
- Once soft, drain the water from the potatoes then place them back in the pan, add the butter, almond milk, garlic granules and season well with the salt and pepper. Mash thoroughly (this makes a very creamy mash so don’t be alarmed if it looks like there is a lot of liquid at first, the potatoes will soak up much of the liquid and become soft and light, they will also dry further in the oven later).
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan then add the onions, fry for four to five minutes until the onions are soft.
- Add the garlic and carrots to the pan and fry for a further two minutes.
- Add the stock, mince, thyme and chilli flakes and simmer for ten minutes stirring occasionally.
- Add the lentils and peas and simmer for just two minutes more. Season with the salt and pepper.
- Pour the filling into an oven proof dish (I used an eleven inch by seven inch rectangular dish) and spread the mashed potato over the top. Decorate the potato using the prongs of a fork.
- Place into the oven for twenty minutes or until the potato topping has developed a light crust.