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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Winter warmers

I have been thinking about winter warming recipes recently, trying to settle on one particular recipe that I like to eat more than others on the cold, dark, late Autumn days.
I thought about sausage and mash, soup, chicken pie but the main meal that my mind kept wandering back to was Shepherd's pie. 
But me coming along here to tell you how to make a bog standard shepherds pie would be boring, so I came up with a bit of a twist and re-named it to be Shepherd's cobbler. 

Full of flavour and veg, this is a reasonably priced meal to make this should be a hit for all of the family.


250g lamb mince
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove
Handful of chopped mushrooms
Handful of garden peas
1 tbsp balsamic glaze
1 carrot, finely chopped
Small sprinkle cinnamon 
1 Knorr herb stock pot
1 Knorr onion gravy pot
Salt + pepper to season

For the herby dumplings:

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cornmeal (not to be confused with cornflour!)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Knorr herb stock pot
1tsp sugar
Small sprinkle cinnamon
Some luke warm water



Begin by frying the onion on a medium heat until softened, then add the lamb mince and garlic until the mince is browned.
Whilst the onions and meat are cooking, have the carrot par-boiling in a separate pan ready to add to the mix when needed. 
When the meat is browned, remove some of the excess fat and add the mushrooms. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the balsamic glaze, cinnamon, peas, carrots and herb stock pot. 
Cook on a medium heat to melt to stock pot and get all of the ingredients well incorporated. 
Next, make up the onion gravy with the water from the par-boiled carrots. Using the carrot water retains the vitamins and some of the flavour leached from the carrots when being cooked. 
Add the onion gravy to the meat mixture and stir well. 

That's the main body of the dish ready, pour into a shallow casserole dish and put to one side whilst preparing the dumplings.

Method for dumplings:

Place the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon into a bowl.
Melt the herb stock pot in around 1/2 pint of hot water and allow to cool to be luke warm. 
Slowly incorporate the stock into the dry ingredients until you have a smooth, not sticky dough.
When you have the right consistency, knead the dough for 2 minutes. 
Shape into small balls and flatten slightly. 
Drop the dumplings onto the top of your shepherds pie mix. 

To finish off the cobbler, glaze the top of the dumplings with a beaten egg and bake in the oven, heated to 160c fan, 180c for around 25 minutes.

I served mine with some baby new potatoes steamed in the microwave using Colman's clever Season and steam pack. Which even people passing the front door commented on how lovely they smelled!


A delicious winter warming, family favourite. In fact, reading on Facebook as I write this post there are three other people I know, all eating Shepherd's pie for their dinner tonight too. If only they had this recipe!

If you still have a little room left after your dinner why not follow up with a Hot toddy Tea cake?

 I tried to come up with a cake that would go well with a nice cup of tea and a Sunday afternoon movie on the sofa. I think this ticks all of the boxes, and is such a simple recipe.


300g dried fruit
225ml hot tea - I used PG Tips 'the Rich one' a good strong proper tea.
Juice and zest of one orange
50g butter
100g light brown sugar
1 Egg
225g self raising flour
50ml Whisky/Bourbon

For the drizzle:

6 Tbsp icing sugar
1 Tsp Lemon juice
Between 25 and 50ml Whisky/Bourbon



Cover the mixed fruit with the hot tea, orange juice and zest and Whisky/Bourbon. Cover with cling film and leave for a minimum of 4 hours, or even better over night.

Pre-heat the oven to 160c fan, 180c/gas 4
Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin (though I used my Bundt tin, just because).
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Next beat in the egg and finally the flour.
Then stir through the fruit and remaining liquid and mix until well combined.
Pour the mix into your tin, levelling the surface with the back of a spoon.
Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre.

While the cake is cooling slightly mix up the drizzle topping.  Do this by mixing the icing sugar, lemon juice and bourbon until you have a thick yet still runny consistency.

Make small holes all over the cake and gently drizzle over the icing, allowing it to soak down into the cake.

Leave to cool, then slice and enjoy with a cup of tea and a good film.

I was asked to create a winter warming recipe on behalf of Unilever as a part of a competition for Bloggers. I was provided with samples of some products to use to create my recipes and include in my post.
Having said this, all views in this blog are my own and unbiased by the samples provided to me.
Thanks to Unilever for giving me the opportunity to work with you and enter your competition.


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