It’s Mother’s Day: Time to treat the boss of the house!!

It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday so that means the hardest working person in the house should be getting a chance to down tools for the day. Now, I know there are more and more men cooking in our kitchens and that is great to see but I want to make sure that you all make a little trip to the land of the pots and pans over the next few days to give the special mammy in the house a home cooked meal to remember. And we have two dishes for you to try. The Shepherds Pie dish is from my latest Book, ‘The Nation’s Favourite Food Fast’. This is a great recipe to impress the mum of the house. A perfect feast to make the most out of that left over roast joint of lanb or simply to cook up from scratch.  The second dish is Apple and Ginger Cake and is one I share with Marty Whelan on Lyric FM and I know he loved it! 

Shepherd’s Pie

A perfect dish to impress the mammy in the house.

A perfect dish to impress the mammy in the house.


Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

4 carrots, diced

1 onion, chopped

2 smoked bacon rashers, rind removed and diced

2 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

300ml (½ pint) lamb or beef stock (or leftover gravy – see intro)

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

450g (1lb) leftover cooked lamb, well trimmed and diced

1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

buttered peas, to serve

Cheesy mash:

900g (2lb) floury potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

50g (2oz) mature Cheddar cheese, grated

25g (1oz) butter

100ml (3 ½fl oz) milk

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


This recipe is a great way to get a second day’s dinner out of a roast joint of lamb. It’s bulked out with vegetables and you can also use up any leftover gravy you might have – simply replace the amount you have for the same quantity of stock and you might not even need to use flour as a thickener.

To make the cheesy mash, place the potatoes in a steamer and cook for 10–12 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, heat a large pan over a medium heat and add the oil. Cook the carrots and onion for 4–5 minutes, until just changing colour. Tip in the smoked bacon and sauté for a few minutes, until lightly golden. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for another minute, stirring continuously.

Stir the Worcestershire sauce into the vegetables, then add the stock (or gravy), tomato purée and thyme. Mix well to combine, then fold in the lamb. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until the lamb has heated through and the sauce has nicely thickened. Finally, stir in the parsley and season to taste.

Preheat the grill to high. Place the cooked lamb and vegetable mixture into an ovenproof dish and keep warm. To finish the cheesy mash, mash the steamed potatoes well, making sure there are no lumps. Beat in the Cheddar cheese, butter and milk and season to taste. Gently spoon the cheesy mash on top of the lamb and vegetables, spreading it with the back of a spoon. Flash under the grill for 5–6 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Serve straight to the table with a separate bowl of buttered peas so that everyone can help themselves.

Apple and Ginger Cake


Serves 4-6


75g (3oz) butter 125g (4 ½oz) soft brown sugar 4 Bramley apples


100g (4oz) butter 175g (6oz) plain fl our ½ tsp baking soda 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 2 tsp ground ginger ½ tsp ground nutmeg pinch of ground cloves 2 eggs, beaten 175g (6oz) soft brown sugar 125g (4 ½oz) black treacle 150ml (¼ pint) milk whipped cream, to serve


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Butter a 23cm (9 in) non-stick spring-form cake tin and line the base with parchment paper. To make the topping, melt the butter and sugar together in a small pan over a medium-low heat until bubbling, then continue to cook for a few minutes, until creamy and toffee coloured, stirring occasionally. Pour into the cake tin, tipping the tin to spread the toffee evenly over the base. Peel the apples, then cut in half and cut out their cores. Arrange the apples, cut side down on top of the toffee mixture, with the stalk ends pointing in towards the centre. To make the gingerbread, melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave and then set aside to cool slightly. Sift the fl our into a large bowl with the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. In a separate bowl, place the reserved melted butter with the beaten eggs, sugar, treacle and milk. Make a well in the centre of the fl our mixture and then gradually add the liquid, mixing gently to make a smooth batter. Pour into the tin over the apples. Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer pushed into the middle of the cake comes out barely moist. Transfer to a wire rack and leave the pudding to cool for a few minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it is not sticking. Put on some oven gloves and place a large plate on top of the cake tin, turn the whole thing over as quickly as possible. To serve, cut into slices and arrange on plates while still warm. Add a dollop of cream to each slice.

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