Shepherd's pie and apple & plum crumble

This week we have shepherd’s pie and plum and apple crumble – both recipes are delicious home comfort dishes, perfect to warm belly and heart.

At this time of year everyone is struggling to get back into a routine following from the highs of the summer and there is nothing better than having the time to prepare a home–cooked meal to get the family together.

The best thing about this time of year is that there is so much local produce available and this weekend the Armagh Food and Cider Festival (visitarmagh.com/festivals/food–cider) celebrates the fantastic local produce available with a giant–sized programme of unique gastronomic events and activities designed to suit everyone’s tastes.

Shepherd's pie (Serves 4)

1lb lamb mince

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 onion chopped

4 ripe tomatoes, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 sticks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 bay leaf

1 sprig picked thyme

200ml beef or chicken stock

salt and pepper

For the topping:

4 large potatoes, boiled and mashed using 100ml skimmed milk 20z butter, salt and pepper



Heat the oil in frying pan. Add in the lamb mince and cook until brown. Drain off fat and leave lamb to the side. In the same pan, fry off the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and, once browned, add in the bay leaf and thyme and cook for five minutes.

Add in mince, tomatoes and stock and cook for 20 minutes until the liquid is reduced. For the topping, peel and quarter your potatoes and boil until soft. Remove liquid and place potatoes back into the pot on heat; mash them and add in butter, then milk and continue to mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Place oven on at 200C and in an oven–proof dish; add in the mince and top with mashed potato, cook in oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.


Apple and plum crumble (Serves 6)

Apple and plum crumble, perfect for an autumn dessert

6 apples, peeled, core removed and chopped

8 plums, stone removed and chopped

100g sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

100g butter

100g flour

50g almonds



Start by lightly stewing the apples – place them in a pot with 50g sugar and 25g butter and cook for five minutes at a low heat. You do not want the apples to lose their shape or make a puree.

Get your baking dish ready and add in your plums with the cinnamon and 1tbsp of sugar. Add in your apple mix and leave aside.

To make the crumble, place the cold butter and flour in a processor and pulse until the texture is like breadcrumbs. Stir in the almonds and the remaining sugar and cinnamon and scatter over the plum and apple mix.

Cook for 40 mins at 180C until golden. Serve with custard.

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