MasterChef star shares five basic ingredients that make perfect cottage pie

Mid-week meals are some of the most annoying to have to make.

You’re tired, you can’t be bothered and you just want something filling and easy that the kids will eat.

Enter, the cottage pie.

What’s not to like about mash, beef mince, vegetables and gravy in one delicious dish?

Well, if you like to whip up a cottage pie every week there are things you can do to turn your yummy meal into an outrageously tasty one.

Daily Star Lifestyle spoke to Oli Martin, head chef at Hipping Hall, Lancashire and a finalist on MasterChef: The Professionals.

What's your favourite cooking hack? Let us know in the comments…


The top chef explained that there are some easy tips and tricks to upping your cottage pie game – and they all use cheap ingredients you probably have in the cupboard already.

Grab your wooden spoon and baking dish and give his advice a try!

Oil explained: “I always use Bisto to thicken up my cottage pie and make it nice and rich.

“A good dollop of HP sauce in there too for a nice tangy finish.

“A teaspoon of mixed spice can add a bit more complexity too.”

Mixed spice is usually a combination of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, coriander and mace – plus, cloves on occasion.

It’s similar to a Christmas pudding spice and will compliment the beefy taste of the gravy and make it taste like a restaurant dish.

Just don’t add too much – you want cottage pie not mince pies.

Oli continued: “Also, finishing the sauce with balsamic vinegar helps cut through the richness.”

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Vinegars and citrus fruit juices are acidic and this can really lift the flavour of a dish by making it less heavy and greasy.

The chef had some advice for getting your mash right, too.

He explained: “Though it can be tempting, don't add to much butter into the mash – nobody likes a sloppy cottage pie, instead add some extra mature cheese through the mash it will help it get extra crispy on top.

“Also, only ever put your peas in at the final few seconds of cooking the mince mix the pan so they don't stew!”

Yum!

We’re going to try these tips tonight!

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