Monday, June 05, 2006

A dish of my own

Once, back in the days when I used to share a flat, I watched one flatmate work on a particular recipe, hoping to develop that perfect dish which she could always serve reliably to dinner guests.

I thought it was a great idea to have one dish that you know will turn out perfectly just about every time, a dish that will please your dinner guests rather than embarrass them. But in those days - in fact, right up until the boy moved in and became the default cook in this household - it was always safer for my friends if I limited my food-related social gatherings to chips 'n' dip at home, or eating out.

But finally I think I have My Dish. It's perfect because it's simple to make, doesn't have a million ingredients and is tasty, filling and suitable to for Baby to eat. The recipe is from one of those Ministry of Health booklets which provide iron-rich recipes aimed at babies and toddlers; this one provides a variation for the adults in the family. This is my version -

Violet's Slightly Edgy Cottage Pie
Filling
400g of steak mince
1 medium-sized, sweet apple, grated
1 cup of grated kumara (New Zealand sweet potato)
1 cup of water
3 tablespoons of vindaloo paste or medium strength curry paste
And any non-watery vegetables you want to add, e.g. peas 'n' carrots, sliced mushrooms, julienned green beans.


Put the first 4 ingredients into a pan and simmer for 45 minutes. At this point you can remove a portion for your baby. Lightly steam or boil the additional vegetables and add to the mince mixture, along with the vindaloo paste.

Transfer the whole mixture into a casserole or pie dish.

The topping
Top this with a whole lot of mashed potato (which I mash with lots of milk and butter) and mashed kumara (because you'll have some left over after making the mince).
Top that with lots of grated cheese.
Put it into the oven until the cheese is nice and brown.

Yum.

p.s. Obviously the quality of the vindaloo paste is going to affect the yumminess outcome of this dish. I use Pataks, but I reckon any brand which you find in the ethnic section of the supermarket should be fine.

9 comments:

Beth said...

Mmmmmmmmmm sounds yum! I love making meals that Eve can eat. I make cottage pie and shepherds pie all the time but never thought to add the curry paste. I'll give it a go next time. THanks!

EB said...

Yum! Congratulations on hitting upon a winning recipe of your own and especially for sharing it. It has saved me from figuring out what to make for dinner one night ...

Rainypete said...

It's always the simplest foods that taste great. Sure we've all had a complicated culinary masterpiece, but when you find yourself really yearning for a childhood food, isn't it funny how it is usually things like shepherd's pie or some form of casserole that mom used to make that we really want?

The Editter said...

My sister had a prawn and bok choy dish du jour (well du mois really) and somehow I ended up having that for dinner 3 times in a row when I was at their house for dinner - different real guests each time.

Jon said...

Did you know that real vindaloo from the Goa region is actually a pig that is basically pickled in the spices and vinegar? An Indian waiter told me that, actually, he went into a 20 minute (no joke) tangent on authentic vindaloo preparation while my friend and I didn't know what to do, so we sat there listening even after we paid....

Now you can go to sleep at night having read this :-P

Violet said...

nothing beats comfort food, eh?

jon: pickled pig in spices? sounds tasty. you'd have to better than that to turn my stomach - like telling me how pate foie gras is made...

Desiree said...

Hi there - welcome back! Never could fault your chips 'n' dip. I also vaguely remember some dodgy BBQ in the rain that went down well [giggle]. Well done on the recipe front - I'm looking forward to trying out your cooking next time we visit!

Violet said...

desiree: and the sausage rolls (bought by my own hands, too!) usually went down a treat didn't they?

EB said...

And since I get to write directly to the author of a winning recipe ...

We tried it out the other night. The supermarket didn't have Vindaloo so I tried red curry paste and even Grandma liked it. I only put a couple of teaspoons in because I'm mild not hot like you :-).