Shepherd’s Pie Napoletana

Shepherd's Pie Napoletana

 

The traditional shepherd’s pie can be quite bland and my basic Shepherd’s Pie recipe has extra seasonings to liven it up. This one brings a touch of Italian using a Napoletana sauce and with grated Parmesan on the top.

 

Shepherd's Pie Napoletana
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 450g/1 lb minced lamb/ground lamb
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig (or a large pinch of dried)
  • 225ml/8 fl oz red wine
  • 500g/17 fl oz Napoletana pasta sauce (or similar)
  • 900g/2 lb potatoes (floury)
  • 50g/2 oz butter
  • 50g/2 oz Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated


  1. Method
  2. Brown the lamb in a large pan over a medium heat, stirring frequently to break up any lumps, about 7 minutes. It should be really well browned. Then remove from the pan and set aside.

  3. Add the onion to the pan with the rosemary and cook until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. There should be enough fat left from browning the meat not to require adding any oil.

  4. Return the lamb to the pan and stir in the wine. Loosen any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan, then leave the wine to bubble gently until roughly half of it has evaporated. Stir in the pasta sauce, then simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into large chunks. Put in a pan of water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes until tender. Drain and return to the hot pan to dry off any excess moisture. Mash with the butter and half the Parmesan.

  6. Preheat the grill to high.

  7. Spoon the meat sauce into a medium-sized ovenproof dish. Top with the potatoes, no need to smooth the surface, then sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

  8. Brown under the grill for about 3 minutes.

  9. Serve with seasonal vegetables.

  10. Tip
  11. The dish can be prepared ahead of time up to the grill stage. Cover the dish then refrigerate for up to two days. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and cook the pie for 25–30 minutes until heated through and golden on top.

 

Pork and Cheese Crumble

Pork and Cheese Crumble

 

Tasty pork, baked on a bed of tomatoes and onions, and topped with a crispy, cheesy crumble. This is a quick dish to prepare. Just serve with seasonal vegetables.

 

Pork and Cheese Crumble
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour

  • Ingredients
  • 4 pork chops or
  • 450g/1lb pork tenderloin
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 × 400g/1 × 28 fl oz cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 50g/2 oz cheese, grated
  • 4 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs

  • Equipment
  • An ovenproof dish with lid


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

  3. Remove any bone and excess fat from chops. If using tenderloin, cut into four equal pieces (see note).

  4. Melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet over a medium heat, add the meat, and cook for about 4 minutes until they are golden brown on both sides.

  5. Meanwhile, spread the onions in the bottom of the ovenproof dish. Cover with the tomatoes, season and add the sugar. Place the pork on top of the tomatoes.

  6. Mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese and sprinkle over the meat.

  7. Cover and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes.

  8. Serve with seasonal vegetables.

  9. Note
  10. Chops or tenderloin work in this recipe. We tend to prefer the tenderloin so I have added it as an option. To give four equal pieces, I slice it in two and then slice each piece in half horizontally to give four thinner pieces of meat.

 

Mini Ciabatta Pizzas

Mini Ciabatta Pizzas

 

These mini ciabatta pizzas are made with ciabatta halves topped with tomatoes, cheese, bacon and onion, cooked in olive oil and garlic. Perfect for a light snack.

 

Mini Ciabatta Pizzas
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 bacon rashers, cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 ciabattas, halved horizontally
  • 1 × 400g/½ × 28 fl oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 110g/4 oz cheese, grated


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

  3. Fry the bacon in 1 tablespoon olive oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes until crispy. Set aside.

  4. Lower the heat and fry the onion in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Set aside.

  5. Meanwhile, put the four ciabatta halves in the oven, cut-side down, for 5 minutes to crisp the outer sides.

  6. Top the cut side of the ciabatta halves equally with the tomatoes. Sprinkle over the cheese then top with the bacon and onion mixture.

  7. Cook the ciabatta pizza in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted, or cook under a medium-heat grill for 2–3 minutes, taking care not to burn the onions.

 

Fisherman’s Pie with Broccoli and Sweet Potato

Fisherman's Pie with Broccoli and Sweet Potato

 

This fish pie is made with mouthwatering chunks of salmon and prawns/shrimp with broccoli in a cheesy sauce topped with sweet potato sprinkled with cheese.

 

Fisherman's Pie with Broccoli and Sweet Potato
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes

  • Equipment
  • A 1.2 litre/2 pint shallow ovenproof dish

  • Ingredients
  • 1kg/2 lb 4 oz sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 300ml/10 fl oz milk
  • 25g/1 oz flour
  • 25g/1 oz butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 170g/6 oz small broccoli florets
  • 170g/6 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 700g/1½ lb cod or haddock, skinned and cubed
  • 170g/6 oz cooked tiger prawns/jumbo shrimp
  • Knob of butter
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

  • To serve
  • Serve with sugar snap peas/mange tout or peas


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6

  3. Boil the sweet potatoes in lightly salted water until just tender, about 20 minutes. Then drain and set aside.

  4. Place the milk, flour, and butter in a saucepan and, whisking continuously, cook over a moderate heat until the sauce boils and thickens. Season. Stir in 110g/4 oz of the cheese and the broccoli.

  5. Place the fish in the ovenproof dish and scatter the prawns/shrimp over. Pour the sauce over the fish.

  6. Mash the sweet potato with the butter and stir in the parsley. Season well. Spoon on top of the fish and then sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

  7. Bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes until golden and bubbly.

  8. Serve with the peas.

 

Greek Pasta Bake

Greek Pasta Bake

 

A tasty baked dish of lamb, pasta and tomatoes covered in a white sauce and topped with grated cheese.

 

Greek Pasta Bake
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 450g/1 lb lamb mince/ground lamb
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 × 400g/½ × 28 fl oz can chopped tomatoes/diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 140ml/5 fl oz beef stock
  • 10g/½ oz butter
  • 10g/½ oz plain flour/all purpose flour
  • 300ml/10 fl oz milk
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
  • 225g/8 oz macaroni
  • 50g/2 oz Cheddar cheese, grated

  • Equipment
  • A 2 litre/3 pint ovenproof dish.

  • To serve
  • Accompany with a green salad


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°F)/350°F/gas mark 4.

  3. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion and garlic over a medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until softened. Add the lamb and stir-fry over a high heat for 3–4 minutes until browned all over. Lower the heat and stir in the tomato purée and cook for 1–2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves and stock, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 35–40 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a small pan, then stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Cook over a low heat for 1–2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring continuously until smooth. Then cook for 4–5 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Beat in the egg. Set the sauce to one side.

  5. Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain well and spoon half into the dish. Spoon the meat sauce over, then top with the remaining macaroni. Pour the white sauce evenly over the top and scatter with cheese. Cook in the oven for 25–30 minutes.

  6. Tip
  7. A foolproof way to make a smooth white sauce:

  8. Once the butter has melted, tilt the pan so all the melted butter rests in one corner. Tip the flour onto the pool of butter. It will then be easier to stir to a smooth paste. Also preheat the milk in a microwave, on high, for 1 minute, then gradually whisk it into the roux. Adding warm milk gradually makes a smooth sauce without any lumps.

 

Sardine Pizza Toasties

Sardine Pizza Toasties

 

Slices of wholemeal toast, topped with sardines, tomatoes and grated cheese, then grilled, for a healthy pizza toastie.

 

Sardine Pizza Toasties
Prepares: 2 servings
 
  • Ingredients
  • 2 slices wholemeal bread, toasted
  • 1 can sardines in tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 50g/2 oz mozzarella or Cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the grill to medium.

  3. Drain the sardines and mix the sauce with the tomato paste. Spread the mixture over one side of the toast and top with the tomato slices. Place the sardines on top. Sprinkle with the cheese.

  4. Grill for 6–8 minutes until the cheese melts and is beginning to turn golden.