Basilton’s Shepherd’s Pie


He shoves a casserole dish into my arms, then grabs some forks. “Milk?” he asks. “Coke?”

“Milk,” I say. I’m grinning, I can’t stop grinning. He puts the carton on top of the casserole, grabs some cloth napkins from the drawer, then heads back up to his room. It’s a struggle to keep up.
. . . .
I sit down next to him, and he takes the casserole dish from me and casts a quick, “You’re getting warmer!”—then opens the lid. It’s shepherd’s pie.

“Do you need to eat?” I ask. “Or do you just like it?”

“I need it,” he says, scooping up a bite, avoiding my eyes, “just not as much as other people do.”

“How do you know that you’re not immortal?”

He hands me a fork. “No more questions.”

We finish the shepherd’s pie, eating out of the bowl on Baz’s lap. He chews with his hand over his mouth. I try to remember whether I’ve ever seen him eat before.… I finish the milk. He doesn’t want any.

When we’re done, he sets the dishes outside his door, then starts a fire in the fireplace with his wand.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Basilton’s Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 1/2 Russet Potatoes, peeled & diced ~1/2″ pieces
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Half & Half
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, sliced
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tbsp. Oil
  • 1 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1 Lrg. Carrot, peeled & diced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Ground Lamb
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Sage, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Cup Stock (can be veal, beef, veggie, etc.)
  • 1 Can Peas, drained

Put the potato cubes on a large pot with the salt & enough cold water to cover the potatoes, & then cover the pot with a lid. Bring to a boil, & then uncover & reduce the heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes & then put them back in the pot.

In a small pot on medium low combine the half & half with the butter & heat until the butter melts. Add this mixture to the potatoes, adding pepper to taste & more salt if desired, & mash until smooth. Stir in the egg until fully combined.

Grease a deep pie dish or casserole dish & then press half of the potato mixture into the bottom & up the sides. Set aside for the meat mixture.

In a large pan on medium high, heat the oil, & then add in the garlic, onions, & carrots & sauté until just tender. Stir in the meat & cook until no longer pink. Sprinkle on the flour & toss to coat. Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire, & herbs, & cook for a couple minutes, & then add in the broth. Bring to a boil & then turn down to simmer for about 10 minutes so the juices can thicken.

Heat your oven to 400ºF. Spoon the meat mixture evenly into the dish with the potatoes. Layer the rest of the potato mixture on top of the meat, starting at the edges & working your way into the center. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top has gotten a little golden brown. Remove, cool a bit, & serve with 2 forks & a jug of milk!

carry-on-shepherds-pie-bitecarry-on-shepherds-pie-bite-closeup Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 34 : Carry On

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Turniphead Cawl

When brainstorming a dish for Howl’s moving castle, I thought Welsh Cawl might be a nice choice – is the national dish of Wales from whence hails Howl, and although Sophie hates turnips she has somewhat affectionately named the stalky scarecrow Turniphead. I carved little faces into my turnips, so Halloweeny (keep Halloween in your heart all through the year).

Recommended, do the meat and broth step the day before so it has time to cool and you can spoon off the fat.

Turniphead Cawl

  • 1.5 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • flavorless oil
  • salt & pepper
  • herbs (I used several sprigs of thyme and a sprig of rosemary)
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and sliced into half moon
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into half moons
  • 3 medium turnips, peeled, halved, and carved into faces
  • handful parsley finely chopped

Salt and pepper the meat and heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high in a large soup pot. Brown in two batches, then add 6 cups water and the rest of the meat into pot, stirring well to scrape up any brown bits. Add herbs, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for an hour.

Cool completely in the fridge. Scrape off fat and discard. Strain the meat out to a plate, and strain the broth.

In the soup pot, gently heat 2 teaspoons oil. Add leaks and carrots to the pot and gently stir to coat, cooking several minutes until wilted and soft. Add broth, meat, and turnips. Bring up to a simmer and simmer until turnips are soft and can be easily pierced with a paring knife, 10-15 minutes.

Arrange in a bowl and serve hot, garnished with parsley.

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Alison’s Emergency Sausage Rolls


Have you ever been so busy torturing your husband with a glue gun that you just didn’t have time to prepare your dish for the neighborhood potluck? Well in such an occasion these are great to have in the freezer. (Confession, I didn’t actually try freezing these – but I bet they’d do ok).

These savory homemade sausages are fragrant and sweet from the fall flavors of apple, carmelized onion, sage and warm spices, and are wrapped in puff pastry, the harried housewife’s best friend. They’re fantastic with mustard, and were a hit with 50% of our household – 100% if you don’t count my picky husband and our two year old who thinks he’s a fruitarian.

Alison’s Emergency Sausage Rolls

Makes 40 rolls. You can easily half this recipe, or do what I did and make 20 rolls and just eat the leftover sausages by themselves for breakfasts

  • 1 pound ground beef (pork or lamb would also work)
    2-3 tablespoons flavorless oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala, or mixture of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cumin, black pepper, etc.
  • 1 packed tablespoon sage, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pieces bread, well toasted and crumbled into breadcrumbs
  • salt to taste, I used a teaspoon and then another good pinch
  • 4 sheets puff pastry, partially thawed
    small amount flour for rolling
  • 3-4 egg yolks, beaten
  • kalonji/nigella/onion/black seeds or sesame seeds for sprinkling

Heat oil on medium high and fry onion until it is well caramelized completely golden, being careful not to burn. In a medium bowl, combine onion, garlic, apple, garam masala, sage, breadcrumbs and salt, then combine the mixture with the beef.

Heat a small amount of oil on medium high. Take palmfuls of the meat, roll and shaped into long sausage shapes. Fry in batches, rolling over after a minute or two, until they are browned on all sides and cooked through. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

At this point, preheat oven to 350°

On a floured board or counter, roll out the puff pastry. Slice each sheet lengthwise. In each half, line sausages down the length of it and roll it all up, placing on a cutting board seam-side down. Brush with egg yolk, sprinkle with seeds, and cut into 1 1/2 inch rolls (about 5 small rolls from the long roll). Place on prepared baking sheets about an inch apart and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.

Serve warm with mustard.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 16: Orphan Black

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