I’m cheating on potato.

I love it. I really do. It loves me as well.

The problem is it loves me a little too much. It loves my legs and it loves my chin. It loves my chin so much it likes to make sure there are two of them.

So I ‘m going to have to keep stepping out on it. 

The Hungry One and I go through phases of cutting out carbs at night. It does seem to make a bit of a difference to how tight my jeans are the next day.

When the sun streams from the sky it’s hunky dory to do. There are plenty of zippy salads and lovely fish dishes to try. But when there’s something that I think is defined as ‘sleet’ lashing at your window, the challenge gets a little steeper.

On Sunday there was no other option. The wind had a stinging bite and we needed something that could blurble happily on the hob while we sat on the floor surrounded by pieces  of paper, making plans.

It was a spaghetti bolognaise kind of night. 

My darling mum always taught me when you’re making bolognaise, you might as well make double. Some for you and some for the fridge or freezer. So that’s what we did.

It was a simple ragu, just some pancetta, an onion and 500 grams of minced beef browned together. Because I was in a cheating kind of mood I split open three country style pork sausages and muddled the rubble from that in as well. There were two carrots, peeled and diced that got tumbled in to soften. There was a touch of dried chilli, salt, pepper and sugar, some dried oregano, half a bottle of red wine and 750 mls of tomato passata.

There was a tangle of noodles, trapped in big bowls. It was great.

Now there’s bolognaise in the tupperware and the skies are still grey.

“Can we have cottage pie tonight?” comes the request from The Hungry One.

“Sort of” is my answer.

 Not quite cottage pies

This cheat’s cottage pie still has a belly of mince and some satisfying squish and crunch for a crown. But it doesn’t have potato. The magical beans strike again. 


Shopping/ foraging

150 grams of bolognaise mince per person
Two tablespoons of frozen peas per person
A cannelini beans (one tin will do two or three pies)
Parmesan cheese
A salad for the side

You’ll need 150 grams of pre made bolognaise per person, doled out into a ramekin.

Once you’ve measured it out, heat the bolognaise in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove. It’s easiest to finalise the pie if the mince is hot.

The not-quite-mashed potato topping.

To a rinsed tin of beans add a fat handful of chopped parsley, three smushed garlic cloves and a good sprinkling of salt.

Blitz it with a stick blender, adding a slosh of milk to help make it smooth.

Put some frozen peas ontop of the warm mince. A few extra vegetables never hurt anyone. And it’s kind of like a pie floater…

Dollop ontop of the hot mince and the very cold peas blanket of the bean mixture. Decorate the top with  some shaved parmesan.

Bake it in  200 degree oven for 12 minutes until tthere’s a gentle crust on the top of the beans.  That’s enough time to warm the beans, melt the cheese and cook the peas.
Serve with a big salad full of crunchy things. And if you’re The Hungry One, a big squirt of HP sauce.

We never said it was classy.