There have been some comments recently about the amount of food waste in the domestic environment.
I saw one young woman interviewed on TV, who had roasted a chicken for her family dinner, and threw the legs away, because "nobody likes them". It is said we live in a throw away society, but that is ridiculous!
I know we can't go back to the old days, but I remember having roast beef on a Sunday, cold beef on a Monday and cottage pie on the Tuesday with the leftovers. A good hearty stew used to make a meal for two days, and our bin was never full, even with a large family.
Even in commercial kitchens, wastage was a dirty word. As a young chef at The Savoy, I can still visualise the Head Chef denigrating me for putting half an ounce too much butter on a Sole Meunière!
In today's sterile society, we have overpackaged food, with enough information on it to satisfy a scientist, and sell by and use by dates that ensure much of it is wasted.
How I wish we could return to the days when mother cooked all our food, and taught us the basic rudiments of cookery.
This is a simple recipe (my oldest son recently asked me for straight forward stuff that he could cook in his flat), and I wonder how many households still produce this satisfying dish?
Ingredients (Serves 4)
500g minced beef (leftover cooked meat is fine, or add another 20 minutes cooking time if using raw beef)
1 medium onion
1 stock cube
1 tablespoon cornflour
200g peas (can be frozen)
6 large baking potatoes
Method 1) Peel and chop the potatoes into large chunks and put on to boil. This will take about 20 minutes.
2) Start cooking the meat: chop up the onion and fry in a pan until golden brown. Add the beef and break it all up and cook for about 20 minutes.
3) Turn on the oven and preheat a deep baking dish in there.
4) Add the stock cube to the meat, making sure it is broken up and mixed in.
5) Throw in the peas - even if they're frozen - and stir them into the meat and continue to simmer.
6)Season lightly with a few drops of Worcestershire sauce. Keep simmering the meat in the pan.
7) Mix the cornflour with two tablespoons of cold water in a bowl. When it's all mixed into a smooth white liquid, pour this into the meat and stir in quickly.
8) The water in the dish will thicken - continue to simmer and stir occasionally.
9) Mash the potatoes with a little milk and butter. Take the baking dish out of the oven, and pour in the meat.
10) Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the meat until they fill the baking dish to the top. Use a fork to make ridges all along the top of the potatoes. Put the dish back under the grill and brown the top of the potatoes.
Terry's tip: You can also top this with grated cheese before browning.