Penguin Keeper’s Cottage Pie

A recipe for a slow, pottering Sunday, when you can cook a bit, wander off, come back and cook a bit more.

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3 large baking potatoes

2 tablespoons milk

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon of olive oil

350g mince – meat or a vegetarian alternative

1 medium carrot, sliced

100g peas or mixed vegetables  –  frozen is fine

350ml hot stock  –  beef or vegetable

Dessert spoon of Worcestershire Sauce (leave it out if you are making the vegetarian version)

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon tomato puree

Salt and pepper

Small amount of butter to put on the top.


Nice hot oven, about 200 degrees C

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  1. 1) Scrub and dry the potatoes and push a metal skewer through each (this speeds up the cooking time). Place them in a dish in the oven. If you don't have skewers wrap the potatoes in foil before putting in a dish and give them a bit longer to cook. Cooking time varies depending on the size of the potatoes, so allow 1.5 to 2 hours but check on them and bring them out when they are very soft inside.
  2. 2) Once done, cut the potatoes in half and scrape out the insides into a bowl. Mash with the milk and a large pinch of salt. Put to one side.
  3. 3) Put the olive oil in a large saucepan and heat up on top of the stove. Add the chopped onions and allow them to cook gently until soft.
  4. 4) Now add the mince. If you are using meat you need to cook it until it is brown and cooked through before adding anything else.
  5. 5) Add the vegetables, stock and flavourings and cook until the carrots are starting to soften.
  6. 6) Put the mince and vegetable mixture in an ovenproof dish. We used a pair of enamel dishes, but you can use our ceramic bowls or aluminium dishes. Spoon the mashed potato on and smooth it out to cover the top. Add a few small knobs of butter.
  7. 7) Put in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes. It should be piping hot before you serve it.