A British Dinner
Burrrr! It is rainy and windy today in Boston! I was reading about all the snow everyone is getting, so I can’t complain too much, but really, its like a monsoon out there!
And what does a cold, gray, rainy day remind me of? My lovely home of England!
I think the reason England relies so much on warm, comforting dishes as its staple fare is because of the awful weather. Yes, the country is beautiful, but when you are a small island you get more than your fair share of precipitation. You can walk into a store on a sunny day and when you walk out 15 minutes later walk out it will still be sunny, but the pavement is wet. Yes, 15 minute storms are a UK specialty 🙂 When it rains, it pours; and when it rains in Boston, I want British food!
The dampness has Z and I a little dreary, so we decided to treat ourselves to a cocktail before dinner. Keeping up with the British theme, we made Lemon Lime and Bitters. Bitters is a type of alcohol commonly used in England and Australia (but was first made in Venezuela, Wiki tells me!). It is a liquor of herbs and spices, with a hint of citrus, that has a mild, bitter flavor. You don’t drink it by itself, but usually added to soda water or other cocktails. I absolutely love it, but it is definitely an acquired taste. It is one of those things that when you take a sip of it, you imagine yourself in an old fashioned pub.
Lemon Lime and Bitters
1 shot vodka
Sprite or 7Up
2 dashes of bitters
Put the vodka in a glass and fill with 7Up. Add a couple of splashes of bitters and mix.
See the bitters flowing through
I adore old fashioned cocktails…I’m not one to get super fruity drinks (except for margaritas, mmm). This has the perfect mix of sweet and bitter.
We had some leftover ground turkey in the freezer, and I pondered for a while about what to make. Turkey, potatoes, frozen veggies…Shepard’s pie!
Shepard’s pie is another one of those dishes I grew up eating. It was a quick weeknight meal that my brother and I would inhale without hesitation. The creamy potatoes, sweetness of carrots, and the juices from the meat would meld together wonderfully. I have to admit, I was one of those kids who would mush everything together, add some ketchup, and enjoy incessantly, but now I am much more mature and my tastebuds have developed.
This recipe is by no means “traditional”…there is usually gravy involved with the meat, chopped carrots, and extremely creamy potatoes with a cheese and egg wash on top, sent into the oven at the last minute to create a crispy, delicious crust. Not only did I not have any cheese tonight, but I was starving after my workout and needed to get some food in me STAT, before I ravaged the cupboards for anything I could get my hands on! This is a lighter, healthier version.
Quick Shepard’s Pie with Olive Oil and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1/2 lb ground turkey
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
Salt, pepper, dried basil, Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon of butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
Peel and chop the potatoes. Put in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil them until fork tender. Drain.
While the potatoes are cooking, cook the ground turkey with a little oil in a pan until no pink is left. Add salt, pepper, basil, and Worcestershire sauce to taste. Set aside.
Mash the potatoes with the butter, garlic, and olive oil. If you want a creamier consistency, add a splash of milk.
Boil the frozen veggies in water until they are heated through.
In a medium casserole dish or two small bowls, layer the ground turkey, then the vegetables, and top with mashed potatoes. If you wish, grate some cheddar cheese on top and stick under the broiler until its melted.
Is there a better way to get all of your food groups on one spoon? 🙂
This dish was perfect for tonight. The ground turkey is lighter and healthier than the traditional beef or lamb, and I like having a variety of veggies in the next layer (the lima beans were especially good!). The mashed potatoes were delish; the olive oil and garlic add dimension normally satisfied with the cheese and egg. It was incredibly earthy and rich, without being too heavy.
I liked making this in individual bowls because the presentation is nicer; if you have ever taken a scoop of Shepard’s pie out of a big dish you it does not maintain any pie-like structure what so ever. Shall we call it Shepard’s blob? Z loved this meal too. It is simple and flavorful, and keeps you warm when it is coooold outside!
P.S. I may or may not have added some ketchup towards the end of my meal. I’m just saying 🙂
Did you have any weird eating habits when you were young? How about now?