Cottage pie


1 small onion

1 garlic clove

1 carrot

1 celery stick

1 x 15ml spoon olive oil

200g lean minced beef

1 x 15ml spoon tomato purée

300ml stock (made with ½ reduced salt beef stock cube)

1 x 5ml spoon Worcestershire sauce

1 x 5ml spoon reduced salt light soy sauce

3-4 potatoes or parsnips

20g reduced fat cheese


Chopping board, vegetable peeler, vegetable knife, two saucepans and lid, spatula, potato masher, colander, spoon, grater.


  1. Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic.
  2. Peel and slice the carrot.
  3. Slice the celery.
  4. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic and stir for 4 minutes or so, until the onion starts to brown.
  5. Add the beef mince and cook over a medium heat until the mince has browned.
  6. Drain off any excess fat before adding the tomato purée and stock. Add the Worcestershire sauce and reduced salt light soy sauce.
  7. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, adding more stock if the mince starts to stick to the pan.
  8. While the mince is simmering, put a saucepan of water onto boil.
  9. Peel and cube the potatoes or parsnips and boil in the water for about ten minutes until they are soft. Drain over the sink.
  10. Mash the potato using either a fork or a potato masher. You may wish to add a small amount of semi skimmed milk or low fat spread when mashing the potatoes.
  11. Pre-heat the grill to a medium heat.
  12. Spoon the mince into an ovenproof dish and top with the mash. Grate the reduced fat cheese on top.
  13. Grill until the potato and cheese on top starts to brown and turn crisp.
  14. Serve with green vegetables such as broccoli and green beans.

Top tips:

  • Experiment with toppings – use other vegetables to make the mash (e.g. sweet potatoes, swede, carrots) or add breadcrumbs on top of the mash.
  • Add extra vegetables such as cooked leeks to the mashed potato.
  • Substitute the minced beef for a vegetarian alternative such as mycoprotein or soya mince.


Why not use the Explore Food calculator, the British Nutrition Foundation's free online nutritional analysis programme, to calculate the nutritional information for this and other Food - a fact of life recipes?

Food skills:

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Cut, Chop, Slice, Dice & Trim
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Fry & Sauté
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Mix, Stir & Combine
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Melt, simmer and boil
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