Homemade Potato Bread

A great recipe for using up leftover mashed potatoes and goes down well with the whole familyDSC_0066.JPG

1 kg potatoes – cooked, mashed and completely cooled
350g Plain flour
2 teaspoons salt (if you’re using leftover mash that already had salt added reduce this to 1 tsp)
70g margarine melted


Place the potatoes, flour, salt and melted margarine in a large bowl and using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix the whole lot together to form a stiff dough.  Divide the dough in half and roll out the first half on a floured surface to about a half centimetre thick.  You can either use a cutter of whatever shape you like or just use a knife to cut the rolled out dough into squares/rectangles.DSC_0056.JPG

Preheat a non-stick pan on the stove top.  Place the cut out dough on the dry pan and leave to cook on a low heat until golden brown – at least 5 mins each side and the slower the better as you are trying to cook out the flour in the dough.  Turn and cook the other side too.  Meanwhile roll out the second half and repeat the process.  You will have several pan loads so it may be useful to use two pans.DSC_0058

You can store this in the fridge once it has cooled to room temperature or freeze.  When you’re ready to use it just put it back on a preheated pan with a little vegetable oil and fry gently for a few minutes on each side until warmed through and nice and crisp and golden.  Drain on kitchen paper and serve with grilled bacon, sausages and an egg or on its own for a snack.DSC_0063.JPG

To change the recipe about you could add pieces of chopped cooked bacon or black pudding or even cooled fried onions to the dough.  The possibilities are endless!


Shepherds Pie

DSC_0078.JPGAnother family favourite and it also uses up leftover potatoes.

This is what we call Shepherds Pie in our house though I think strictly speaking it should be called Cottage Pie since I make it with minced beef.  You can of course change the recipe to use minced lamb if you wish and I think a combination of beef and lamb mince would be the best.

1 kg minced beef

1 large onion finely chopped

4 medium carrots finely diced

Ground white pepper

1 Beef Stock cube

2 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

2 tbsp. Tomato Puree

6 heaped tbsp. good quality ketchup

For the topping:

Approx 1 kg of potatoes

Knob of butter

Salt and pepper

Splash of milk


Peel and cook the potatoes for the topping.  You want to cook the potatoes until they are quite soft as this will make them mash really easy and give you a nice creamy topping.  Meanwhile place the onions and carrots in a large saucepan with a little oil and butter and cook on a low heat with a lid on.  You want the carrots to steam in their own juice otherwise they will remain quite hard if not cooked well at this stage.  A little salt will help the juices flow and give you more steam.  Add the minced meat and allow it to cook until it turns brown.  Keep stirring and turning the meat to encourage it to break up as you don’t want meatballs in your shepherds pie.  You can then add the pepper and crumble in the stock cube.  Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and ketchup and mix thoroughly.  Allow the mixture to cook on for a few minutes to allow any water to evaporate but make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan.  You could also put in a handful of peas at this stage but my 2 DD’s don’t like peas so I have to leave them out.DSC_0074

When the potatoes are cooked drain and mash them with the butter, salt, pepper and milk.  You want a nice creamy mash to top the pie.DSC_0077

Place the meat mixture in an ovenproof dish and spoon the mash over in little dollops.  Using a fork bring the dollops together to cover the meat mixture and then score the top with the fork.  These ridges will turn into nice brown slightly charred bits on top.  Place in a hot preheated oven (220C) for 20 to 30 mins or until nice and browned on the top.  Serve with salad or green vegetables.

You will most likely have leftovers from this and the pie will be even nicer reheated the next day. For fussy eaters the carrots can be grated in and they will virtually disappear.  The shepherds pie can also be frozen at the point before it goes in the oven.  Defrost fully before cooking and fluff up the potatoes again with a fork.  Also you can use leftover potatoes too but I advise warming them up before topping the pie as its too difficult to spread them on the hot meat filling when the potatoes are cold and you just end up with a mess!!



My cooking inspirations

Continuing the tradition in my own kitchen


People have asked me in the past where my love of cooking came from and I have never gave it enough thought before to come up with a definitive answer. But I’ve been giving it a lot of thought over the past few weeks and found that the truth is that there have been many influences in my cookery journey and they have all played their part in the knowledge and experience that I have amassed so far.
One of my earliest baking memories is making bread with my paternal granny. You could call soda bread my granny’s signature dish because she must have made it almost every single day of her life or married life at least. Having 16 kids meant that there was a high demand for bread in her house!!! We used to mortify mam every time we called to granny’s because we used to always ask for bread and jam. Granny must have thought we were never fed at home because we’d be like a pack of wolves round the table waiting for her to butter and jam the bread.
When we were being minded by granny we would often get to help make the bread and as a special treat granny would break off small pieces of the dough to let us roll and mess with and make our own mini soda breads. There could be half a dozen of us cousins “helping” but she never batted an eyelid. The mini loaves would go on the tray alongside her monstrosity and be put in the oven to bake. Well the wait for the bread to bake used to seem like forever and a day and the smell would be teasing us long before it was ready. Then when it did come out of the oven we had to wait some more because it was too hot for our little mouths to get our teeth round. We’d break them open to cool quicker and if we had patience we’d put butter and jam on them but more often than not they just went in naked and the warm freshly baked dough was like honey going down our throats.
Of course because they were baked for the same length of time as the large cake they were always well done and had a lovely hard chewy crust which made them all the more tasty.
I have often wondered since, how many times she gave little dough balls to little ones round the table between her own 16 children and the dozens of grandchildren and now great grandchildren that have came since. Some of the grandchildren are the age i was then (around 25 years ago) and i’m sure she still goes through the ritual if they happen to be in the house when she’s making bread though her nest is well emptied now and she doesn’t make bread as often. But she still has lots of callers and they all love to be offered the homemade bread and jam!