Mince HotPot with Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash

Mince Hotpot with Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash

This is proper home comfort food and a dish that we love. Using simple ingredients, you’ll love the richness taste of this and with the sweet potato and carrot mash on top it is just packed with flavour! A great family dish that is simple to make that everyone can enjoy. Sometimes I love going back to basics, our ancestors would have cooked this all in one pot as back then there were no fancy cook tops with loads of rings.

We are lucky that we have access to a wide range of different foods and spices these days, so although sometimes it’s great to make classics, it’s also great to try out new flavours and ideas with them. This recipe surely does work with that little change.

If you make it, let me know what you think?


Makes 2-3 servings

250g Scottish Beef Mince (good quality is key)

2 Medium sized Sweet Potatoes, cut into small chunks

1 Red Onion, diced

1 Carrots, diced & 2 Carrots for mash (chopped)

1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

50ml Red Wine (I used Merlot)

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

2 Handfuls of Frozen Garden Peas

300ml Beef Stock with 2 stock cubes

1 Tsp Mixed Herbs

1/2 Tsp Turmeric

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 Tbsp oil

1-2 Tbsp Beef Gravy Granules to thicken sauce

  1. Pre heat oven to 180 deg fan. Place sweet potatoes and carrot into a large pan of slightly salted water and bring to the boil, reduce to a gentle boil and cook for 20 minutes until softened.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a pan and cook the onions until softened. Add the mince to the pan and cook until browned. Add in the balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red wine, herbs, seasoning and beef stock, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, liquid should reduce by half.
  3. Stir in the peas and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the Gravy granules and stir to thicken.
  5. Mash the sweet potatoes and carrot with 1 tsp turmeric
  6. Place the mince mixture in a casserole dish, season with black pepper and top with the mash mix, cover with tin foil. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Serve & Enjoy!


Green Lentil Curry Tortilla Bowls

Green Lentil Curry Tortilla Bowls

I am always looking to experiment in the kitchen and today was no different. Green Lentil Curry was on the menu but rather than serving rice or naan bread, I thought I’d try my hand at Tortilla Bowls. I’ve seen these on numerous posts & feeds and they look really good.

Green lentils, unlike their yellow and brown counterparts, hold on to their shape while cooking. I infused them with garlic, ginger, coriander, and cumin, for a dish that’s a perfect weekend meal. I love lentils, they are such a great source of protein and filling too.


Serves 2

For the Green Lentil Curry:

125g Green Lentils – Presoaked overnight

1 Tsp Garlic Paste

1 Tsp Ginger

2 Tsp Ground Coriander

1 Tsp Ground Cumin

1 Tsp Turmeric

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion, diced

1 Tbsp Tomato Paste

1 Carrot, diced

500ml Water

Salt & Pepper to taste

Handful Chopped Fresh Coriander to serve

1 Tbsp Creme Fraiche to serve

For the Tortillas:

4 Tortilla Wraps (I used Corn Wraps)

Tin Foil & 4 Ramekins (or something similar)

  1. Add a little oil to a pan and add the ginger, garlic, ground coriander & cumin, mix. Then add the onion and cook until softened. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add the lentils, turmeric and 500ml water, bring to the boil then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, add the carrot and season, continue cooking for about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile for the Tortillas, pre heat the oven to 180 deg. Warm the tortillas in a microwave for 90 seconds, lightly grease the ramekins on the outside, turn upside down. Place the wrap over the ramekin and mould to the shape, secure with the tin foil and fold into the ramekin. Place upside down into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove ramekins from oven and gently remove the foil and tortilla bowl from the ramekin, it should hold it’s shape. If you are struggling to remove, use a blunt knife to prize the tortilla away from the ramekin. Place the tortilla bowls back into the oven turned the right way and bake for a further 8-10 minutes until slightly browned.
  5. Serve the green lentil curry into the bowls and serve with the creme fraiche and fresh coriander.


Green Thai Lentil Soup

Green Thai Lentil Soup

It is Winter Season here in Scotland and is -4 deg today and very snowy. There is nothing better that a big pot of homemade soup to warm you up on days like this. I had a big pack of lentils in the cupboard and was going to make a traditional carrot & lentil soup but then I discovered some Green Thai paste hiding behind my tin of custard & yes you’ve guessed it Green Thai Lentil Soup it was. Just the ticket too, with the spice it really warmed us up lovely and was very satisfying and filling. Another great recipe to add to the collection.


Makes enough for 4 servings

150g Green Lentils, pre-soaked and rinsed ready to cook

1 Large Sweet Potato, chopped into cubes

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Garlic Cloves, crushed

1 Piece Fresh Ginger, grated (about 2cm)

50g Thai Green Curry Paste, (I used the Blue Dragon one)

1 400g Can Coconut Milk

1 Tbsp Dried Coriander & small handful chopped fresh to serve

1/2 litre Vegetable Stock

Juice of 1 Lemon (about 1 Tbsp)

  1. In a large pan, heat the oil and cook the garlic and ginger for a few minutes then add in the Thai Green Paste and mix through for a further 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add in the chopped sweet potato, lentils, vegetable stock, coconut milk and lemon juice, bring to the boil then simmer covered for about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and sprinkle in the dried coriander and mix through, stirring for a minute or 2.
  4. Remove from the heat and using a hand blender, blend the soup until you reach a smooth and thick consistancey.
  5. Serve with some fresh coriander on top.

This recipe is also good for batch cooking, freezing and keeping for later.


Bowl of Green Thai Lentil Soup

Pot of Green Thai Lentil Soup


Cullen Skink

Cullen Skink is an authentic Scottish Thick Soup from Cullen, North East Scotland. It’s main ingredients are Smoked Haddock, Potatoes and Onion, which makes a lovely home comforting dish that lasts through the years. It’s one of our most popular dishes in my household, especially in the Autumn/Winter Seasons. Traditionally it is served with bread.

Initially, Cullen Skink referred to a type of broth made with the scrapings of beef from the front legs of cattle, hence ‘Skink’ as this means shin. Hard times in the early 1890s left the Northern people unable to buy this product. By this time, Cullen Harbour (completed in 1819) had become the thriving centre of herring fishing and the village also specialised in the production of smoked haddock. With many families in the local villages having a fishing background, they turned to smoked haddock which was in plentiful supply. By using smoked haddock and various other products all put together, a distinctive delicious soup was made.

Makes 2 large bowls

2 Smoked Haddock Fillets

1 White Onion, Diced

1/2 Leek, sliced, white part only

350g White Potatoes, peeled and diced

300ml Milk

100ml Single Cream or Creme Friache

1 Bay Leaf

40g Butter

Salt & Pepper to taste

Handful of Chopped Parsley

  1. Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion & leeks, cook for a
    few minutes then add the potatoes and continue to cook for a
    few minutes.
  2. Add the milk, bay leaf & season. Bring to the boil then reduce
    to a simmer. Gently add the haddock to the pot and simmer
    gently for about 15 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon remove the haddock,from the pan place
    onto a chopping board and remove the skin, break into
    chunks, add back to the pan along with the cream and mix
    through, heat through gently for a few minutes.
  4. Remove the Bay leaf and sprinkle over the parsley then serve into bowls.
A Bowl of Cullen Skink


Spicy Carrot & Parsnip Soup

Spicy Carrot & Parsnip Soup

It is definitely soup season, nights are getting darker, air is getting colder and a bowl of warm soup is the perfect recipe after a long days work. If you are looking for a really tasty soup that is simple to make with simple store cupboard ingredients then this is for you. The things I love about soup is that you can make a huge pot and freezer it for later. Tasty cooking can not get any simpler than this.

I harvested some of my Carrots and Parsnips at the weekend, so this was what I had decided upon. With some good quality crusty bread on the side this is perfect for lunch or dinner. The bright orange colour also brightens up your dinner table.

Full of nutrition too, with Carrots & Parsnips both being full of good Vitamin C this can help boost your immune system at this time of year and very low in calories too. Lets not forget the spices, with cumin being a great aid for the digestive system and also full or iron. Garlic, with its active compounds which can help reduce blood pressure and also combat sickness including the common cold. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant, was classed as a Superfood too. It’s a win, win soup for me this season.

Vegetable Harvest, Carrots & Parsnips

Serves 4

8 Medium Size Carrots, Chopped (I keep the skin on but you can peel if you prefer)

6 Medium Size Parsnips, Peeled & Chopped

3 Celery Stalks, Chopped

1 White Onion, Chopped

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tsp Ginger Granules or 1 tbsp freshly grated Ginger

1 tsp Garlic Powder or 2 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Ground Coriander

1 tsp Turmeric

1.5 litres good Vegetable Stock

Salt & Pepper to taste

A Little Swirl of Cream to serve and a sprinkling of pumpkin or sunflower seeds (Optional)

Crusty Bread to serve (Optional)

  1. Pre heat the oil in a large pot on medium to high heat, add the onions and celery and cook until onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the spices (cumin, garlic, coriander, turmeric, ginger) and mix through until coated.
  3. Add in the parsnips, carrots and vegetable stock, season & bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Take off the heat and using a hand blender, blend the vegetables to make a smooth thick consistancey.
  5. Serve into bowl and finish with a swirl of cream and sprinkle of seeds.

You can keep soup in a fridge for about 3 days and freezer for up to 3 months.


Harissa Spice Beef Soup

A Bowl of Harissa Spice Beef Soup

A Moroccan inspired recipe and perfect for coming into the Winter months, it’s hearty, filling and warming. It is also a great batch cook recipe, make the soup up to 3 days ahead, cover and keep in the fridge. Freeze portions in food bags for up to 3 months. Add a splash of water when reheating.

Serves 4

300g Scottish Steak Mince (or any good quality beef mince)

1 Red Onion – chopped

1 Garlic Clove – crushed

400g Tin Tomatoes

1 tbsp Gram Masala

2 tsps Harissa Paste

1 litre Beef Stock

250g Puy Lentils (I used the pre cooked ones from Merchant Gourmet, my fav)

1 tbsp Dried Coriander

150g Spinach, chopped

1 tbsp Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

  1. Heat a little oil in a casserole dish on medium to high heat, add the mince with seasoning and brown, about 6-8 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add in the Gram Masala, Harissa Paste and stir, next add the tin tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes to reduce down slightly.
  3. Return the mince to the pot with the beef stock, bring to the boil then simmer and cook covered for about 30 minutes.
  4. Add the lentils, spinach and coriander to the pot and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve into bowls.


Chicken & Bacon Hotpot

Chicken & Bacon Hotpot

It is my favourite time of the year, Autumn, the colours on the trees, the fresh crisp air, walks in the park, comfy jumpers and warming food. What’s not to like? After harvesting some of my vegetables from the garden today I decided to use them in this warming Hotpot. Nothing says home comfort food that a big pot a deliciousness & straight from the garden too.

The good thing with this recipe is that you can use just about any root vegetable and it will work just as good.

Some of my winter harvest this morning. Parsnips, Carrots & Potatoes

Makes enough for 2 large portions

4 Large Potatoes, cut into bite size pieces

2 Large carrots, cut into bite size pieces

2 Parsnips, peeled and cut into bite size pieces

1 Onion, sliced into wedges

6-8 Rashers of Smoked Bacon, sliced

2 Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks

500ml Chicken Stock

1 tsp oil

1 tsp Nutmeg

1 garlic clove, crushed

Salt & Pepper to taste

Cornflour to thicken sauce if needed.

1 tbsp flour

  1. First coat the chicken with seasoning and the flour, heat the oil in a large pot or casserole dish then brown the chicken and remove.
  2. Add in the garlic & nutmeg along with the onion and fry until softened then add the bacon and fry until cooked slightly, few minutes.
  3. Add to the pan the potatoes, carrots, parsnips and mix, then add in the chicken stock & bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce to a low simmer and cook covered for about 2 hours. Alternatively you can cook in the oven at 140 deg for about 2 hours.
  5. Remove lid and if you like a thick sauce like me just add a little cornflour and stir through. 1 tsp mixed with water should be enough.
  6. Serve with some lovely fresh crusty bread. Or if you are Scottish it has to be Plain Bread!

Caribbean Beef Stew

A Bowl of Caribbean Beef Stew

When I think of Caribbean Food, I think beans, rice, peppers, sweet potato & tomatoes to name a few. This dish is a mix of all my favourites and I was using up leftovers too. I hope you enjoy. This dish would be lovely with Lamb too.

Serves 2

300g Scottish Beef Mince

150g Diced Butternut squash (or sweet potatoes)

1 onion, chopped

1 Red Pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tbsp sweet hot paprika

120ml Beef Stock

200g chopped tin tomatoes

200g Black Eyed beans

Handful of peas

Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Heat some oil in a large pan and brown the mince.
  2. Add in the butternut squash, onion, red pepper, garlic, ginger, paprika and mix through, cook for 1 minute then add in the stock, tomatoes, peas and beans, bring to the boil then simmer covered for about 30 minutes. Season.
  3. If using Lamb I would slow cook this so the Lamb in tender.
  4. Serve on its own or with some rice.
Bowl of Stew


Chorizo, Chickpeas & Spinach Chilli

Chorizo, Chickpea and Spinach Chilli with rice

I am now back to work after a long furlough period due to this Covid19 pandemic. Being back at work means that I prefer quick and easy cooking meals for mid week dining. Last thing I want is to finish a long work day and stand cooking for an hour, who’s with me?

This dish takes just 15 minutes, so its a quick throw together in one pan kinda dish, but packs flavour and spice. Good on its own or can serve with some rice. I also used freshly picked Spinach from my new veggie beds (furlough project).

Serves 2

200g chickpeas

200g chopped tomatoes

80g chorizo – sliced or cut into bite size pieces

1 brown onion – chopped

1 yellow pepper – chopped

Handful of Spinach – chopped

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp garlic granules

1 tsp basil flakes or fresh leaves to serve if you have

Salt & pepper to taste

100g Wholemeal or Basmati Rice if serving. (cooked as per packet instructions)

  1. Spray a pan with oil and heat on a medium to high heat
  2. Brown onions in pan for a few minutes
  3. Add in the pepper and chorizo with garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a few minutes
  4. Add in the tin tomatoes and chickpeas, mix through, bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. 1 minute before serving, add in the spinach and basil flakes, mix through. Season
  6. Serve on a bed of rice. Yum!
Plate of Chorizo & Chickpea Chilli


Highland Hotpot

Chicken Hotpot

I am craving home cooked comfort foods these days, maybe it’s because we are all out of routine in life at the moment.

A traditional Highland Hotpot is normally made out of a Brace of Grouse (a brace is one male & one female grouse) and rabbit, however, my partner is not a big fan of these meats so I decided to make my version with free range chicken. This is a great slow cook one pot meal. Easy to make and delicious.

Hot pot meal

Makes enough for 2

2 chicken breasts – cut into cubes

1 tbsp flour

Salt & black pepper seasoning

1 white onion – cut into wedges

2 sticks celery – sliced

Cabbage – shredded

4-6 rashers of smoked bacon – chopped

spray oil

1 tsp white pepper

1 tsp All Spice (cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves)

1 pint of vegetable stock

2 medium potatoes – cubed

  1. Preheat your oven to 160 deg on fan.
  2. In an oven proof dish with lid, heat spray oil on hob at medium to high heat. Coat the chicken with seasoning and flour then brown in the pan, remove with a slotted spoon.
  3. In the same pan fry the onion and brown the bacon rashers for a few minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes & celery & mix through for a few minutes.
  5. Add back to the pan the chicken and add all spice & white pepper along with the stock, mix & bring to the boil. Then add the shredded cabbage mix, put lid on pot and transfer to the oven and cook for about 2 1/2 hours.
  6. The stock should have absorbed into the meat & veg. Serve. Yummy!
Highland Chicken Hotpot