Sunday Rituals (oh and vegan cottage pie)

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

Serves Four

A welcome Sunday night appearance from a real British classic

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
For the potato topping:
  1. 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.
  2.  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).
For the filling
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan then add the onions, fry for four to five minutes until the onions are soft.
  2. Add the garlic and carrots to the pan and fry for a further two minutes.
  3. Add the stock, mince, thyme and chilli flakes and simmer for ten minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the lentils and peas and simmer for just two minutes more. Season with the salt and pepper.
Bringing it all together:
  1. 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.
  2. Place into the oven for twenty minutes or until the potato topping has developed a light crust.

Serving Suggestions: 
We enjoy this cottage pie with a simple accompaniment of undressed baby-leaf spinach and a large dollop of sweet chilli sauce.
A good glass of red wine rounds off the meal perfectly.
My Hints
Vegetable Stock – you can make your own vegetable stock, but let’s face it, not everyone has the time to do so or the space to store/freeze this once prepared. Mr MK is a big fan of vegetable bouillon but my preference is for trusty vegetable OXO cubes. The packaging recommends using 1 cube for every 190ml of water, however, I prefer a much richer flavour, for this recipe for example I used 4 cubes for the stock.

4 thoughts on “Sunday Rituals (oh and vegan cottage pie)

  1. This looks wonderful! Do you have a recommendation for an almond milk substitute? We can’t use it in our house. I’m wondering if this recipe would lose any special flavor without it. :/

    • Hi Susan, thanks for your comment. There’s no special magic to the almond milk – in fact you would probably find that you would get a richer flavour from soya milk than you would with the almond milk. I’m always careful with the brand of soya milk that I choose as I find some of them are too sweet and have a strong vanilla flavour – great for having with cereal for breakfast, but not so nice for savoury peppery mashed potato!

  2. That is something I can sink my teeth into. I am a huge fan of vegetable bouillon. I use it in everything to add flavor to my dishes, since I don’t eat meat. Thanks for the post.

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