(let’s just pretend the last 10 days didn’t happen :p)
I hope you guys had a wonderful winter break. My sisters are back in school and I’m home alone again in an early-January post-resolutions funk. I hope you are having better luck keeping track of your resolutions. My ‘eating healthy’ one got stumped on day one.
No surprise there.
I have been trying to get back into a somewhat balanced diet routine after gorging on waffles and carrot cake all of last week, and I have started going on regular walks with my mother, so that feels good.
My work/study perspective still needs sorting out and I still need to decide on what I want to do with my life.
But other than that it’s going okay.
I have a good feeling about this year. I really do. 😀
This bleak and dreary weather calls for some serious comfort food and starting off the blank slate of the year with something rich and indulgent just feels right.
And what could be more indulgent then a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes + macaroni + rich meat filling all together in the form of a pie.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is my over-the-top version of the classic British Shepherd’s Pie
It has three parts to it:
The meat sauce
The mashed potatoes
It does take time to put the entire pie together but the end result will be well worth the effort, trust me.
And it’s super customizable too! You can:
Add in sweet corn, mushrooms, olives, jalapenos
Make it more/less spicy
Use chicken mince instead of beef
Leave out the macaroni layer entirely and you’ll be left with a traditional shepherd pie instead
This Shepherd’s Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish. My family loved it and I’m sure yours will too.
If you do make it, don’t forget to share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #spatulainmypocket
Shepherd’s Macaroni Pie
¼ cup cooking oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
½ kilo ground beef (Qeema)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
4 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoon ketchup (optional but I like it saucy)
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
2 large potatoes, boiled till tender
1 Tablespoon butter
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ cups boiled elbow macaroni
2 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ cup chicken stock or water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon mustard powder
2 Tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese
In a pan, heat the cooking oil and fry the chopped onion till golden brown.
Add in the carrot and beef. Cook, stirring constantly till the beef turns pale.
Add in the salt, black pepper, and red chilli powder. Mix well.
Cook on high heat for another minute then add in the tomato paste, flour, cornflour, and 1 ½ cup water. Mix well.
Cover the pan with a lid and leave to cook on low heat for 15 minutes or until the beef is fully cooked, and is thick and saucy.
Mash the two boiled potatoes along with the butter and milk.
Mix in the seasonings.
Add in more milk if needed to reach a smooth consistency.
In a saucepan, melt the butter.
Add in the flour, salt, black pepper and mustard powder. Mix with a wooden spoon.
Add in the milk and stock and mix constantly on a low heat.
As soon as the sauce starts thickening and bubbling, turn off heat and add in the cheese and the cooked macaroni. Mix well
Grease a large oven-proof casserole dish. Pour in whole of the meat sauce.
Ladle on top the macaroni.
Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the macaroni layer or you may pipe the potatoes with a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
Top with a little cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes or until the top is a lovely golden brown.
These bars struck me in the middle of a caramel cinnamon autumnal daydream.
I was craving apple pie but had neither the patience nor an audience to feed an entire pie. This recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction proved to be a Godsend!
A quick version of the classic apple pie without all the hassle.
These apple pie bars taste even better than the original and they’re much easier to make.
They richness from the shortbread crust, the sweetness of the apples, the nuttiness from the crumble and the saltiness of the caramel together create magic in your mouth.
These nutty apple pie bars consist of 4 delicious components:
The shortbread crust is flaky and buttery and takes literally seconds to put together
The apples are warm and gooey and they make your entire house smell of cinnamon a smell so deliriously good, it makes me want to bottle it up and wear it as perfume.
The crumble is made up of oats, brown sugar, walnuts and more cinnamon. It has to be my favorite part of these bars. This crumble topping has infact been featured on the blog before. Remember this beautiful peach pie from last summer? Yup that’s the same crumble on top. The same bits of crumbly buttery deliciousness.
The salted caramel to balance the richness and sweetness. You can skip it out completely but I mean why would you? Its salted caramel!! Edible molten gold! *swoooon*
You may think that all these layers and components would take a lot of time to put together but trust me when I tell you, this recipe is super quick. There’s no chilling or blind baking involved. It takes no more than 20 minutes to put the whole dish together and bang it into the oven.
A note about the original recipe:
Sally‘s version calls for 115g of butter and ¼ cup of sugar for the crust. I found the crust too greasy and sweet the first time I made this recipe and so I used less butter and also reduced the sugar the second time around. This ratio works out perfectly.
Have it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and I guarantee they’ll become one of your favorite fall treats as soon as you take the first bite!
See you soon with some spooky treats. 😉
Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
90g (6 Tablespoons) butter, melted
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick, makes 3-4 cups)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
For the crust: In a bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the flour and stir until everything is well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes while you prepare the rest of the components.
For the apple filling: Combine everything in a large bowl, and mix until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
For the crumble: In a bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, and flour. Cut in the chilled butter using two forks or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Assembling: Remove the crust from the oven. Evenly and tightly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. Press them down to make them fit. Sprinkle with the crumble topping and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown. Meanwhile prepare the salted caramel using this recipe.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20-30 minutes at room temperature before slicing. Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I cut them into 8 large bars for the pictures but usually cut them into bite size pieces since they are quite rich. Once cut, salted caramel sauce. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy.
These apple pie bars are best served warm but they taste amazing cold too. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator.