Mavis’s Shepherds Pie

I make this for everyone but as it has no horrid onions or mushrooms, Mavis will eat it without making a fuss. Of course it has to have other ingredients to add flavour or it would be really boring.


1k beef mince

4 slices streaky bacon, diced

half a cup of red wine

a dash of Worcester Sauce

quarter tsp. bovril

a garlic clove or two, crushed

salt and pepper to season

Copious quantities of mashed potato. I always make too much as it’s really annoying if you run out, and anyway, mash is always handy to have in the fridge for a quick accompaniment.

Corn oil or Rape seed oil


Heat oven to oven Gas 6, 200 C 400 F

Fry the minceand bacon in a saucepan

Add the other ingredients apart from the mash and simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust flavour.

Place the mince into an oven proof dish and top with the potato, nice and thick. Rough up the surface of the potato with a fork then pour over a tablespoon or so of the oil. Spread it about with the fork until the surface is generously covered.

Bake until crispy on the top. About half an hour I suppose.

Cheese Nibbles


4oz plain flour

4 oz cold butter

4 oz grated mature cheddar (or any cheese really)

Quarter tsp. cayenne pepper

1 egg yolk


Pre-heat the oven to gas 7, 425 F 220 C.

Throw all the ingredientsapart from the egg yolk into a food processor bowl with the metal bald and process on full until the mixture has formed crumbes.

Add the egg yolk and process into a ball of dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out to about half a centimetre thick.

Cut into whatever shape you please. I usually do simple circles but at Christmas, stars are nice, not too big as they are supposed to be dainty.

Place ‘biscuits’ on a couple of greased trays and bake for about 6 – 7 minutes. They shouldn’t be too brown but they do need to be crisp in the middle. If you take them out and cool them and then find they are not crispy enough, it’s fine to pop them back in the oven for a few more minutes.

This recipe made 61 stars about 4.5cm from point to point.

Recipes for Horace

Four years ago, or maybe more, I promised HoraceI would write down all my recipes for her so she wouldn’t starve at university.

Despite the fact that she didn’t even know how to bake a potato, and that I completely failed to fulfil my promise, Horace is still as large as life and cooking with as much enthusiasm as her mother.

I paid the price of course, of having to tell her the recipes over the ‘phone, as she cooked. The jacket potato was rejected first time round when she discovered it would take an hour to cook in her conventional oven, but she only had 10 minutes before she went out. Now she is devising her own recipes like a true daughter-of-Lil

Today, pondering on Hairy Bikers Mums know Best, I developed guilt pangs. Horace is just finishing her final year at university and planning a life with her boyfriend Kerching, so named because he is a trainee accountant. He’s managed to get a job and, given the statistics, we are very impressed by his enterprise.

I have decided to fling my every day/favourite recipes up here under the heading Daughter Recipes. Presumably Mavis will want to take advantage of them one day too. I can’t promise they will appear quickly but I’m about to make a start. The recipe – cheese nibbles, a simple and delicious snack to serve with pre-dinner drinks or at a party. They go down really well – especially with Nellie, who I have just chased to her bed after saving all but 6 of the little beauties that were cooling on the work top, just too near the edge to resist. Grrrr!