established in 2003 & now hugely successful. our main range consists of home textiles focusing on splendid linens and cottons, fine bone china inspired by classic 50s and 60s shapes & coated cotton bags & purses in a selection of glorious prints.
martha was busy last night making cottage pie which is an old family recipe and she's kindly shared with us. as it's getting colder it's nice to eat yummy comfort food to keep us warm.
3 tbsp olive oil
1¼ kg beef mince
2 onions, finely chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp tomato purée
large glass red wine (optional)
850ml beef stock
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
few thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1.8kg potatoes, chopped
200g strong cheddar, grated
freshly grated nutmeg
1. tbsp oil in a large saucepan and fry the mince until browned - you may need to do this in batches. Set aside as it browns. Put the rest of the oil into the pan, add the vegetables and cook on a gentle heat until soft, about 20 mins. Add the garlic, flour and tomato purée, increase the heat and cook for a few mins, then return the beef to the pan. Pour over the wine, if using, and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 mins. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 30 mins - if a lot of liquid remains, increase the heat slightly to reduce the gravy a little. Season well, then discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.
2. Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the milk, butter, and three-quarters of the cheese, then season with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
3. Spoon meat into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. If eating straight away, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden. Or follow the steps (below) to freeze.
I live in the East End and I love the weekend there. So I thought I would give you all an insight into lovely ways to spend your saturday.
I normally start with a leisurely breakfast at The Pavillion cafe in the middle of Victoria Park. Even though the weather is on the turn the park has so many beautiful trees it looks stunning in the Autumn. With the amazing autumnal colours and the carpets of leaves to run through. Anyway The Pavilion has a breakfast for every palette, pancakes with a tower of fruit on top, a full on fry up or a simple sausage butty. And a cup of tea's only a pound!
Next I like to take a stroll up the canal that runs along the edge of Victoria Park all the way up to Angel to have a look round the Antique Markets on Camden Passage. It is a hive of treasure with everything from old Blue Peter Annuals to silver Candle Sticks. There are loads of lovely cafes and places to grab a snack, but don't fill up here as I have a cake stop planned!
Then I would go back the way you came down the canal till you get to the Queensbridge Road bridge and turn right walking up till you get to Haggerston Park. It is such a beautiful and underrated park, there is even the Hackney City Farm in the middle so go visit the sheep and pigs.
Then cross over Hackney Road onto Columbia Road. The legendary flower market is only on Sundays but it is well worth a visit on a Saturday afternoon when most of the shops are open but you don't have to fight 20,000 other people to look in them. The Cakehole cafe which is behind Vintage Heaven at the very top of Columbia Road, by the Bird Cage pub, boasts the finest Victoria Sponge in East London. I promise! I love that the tea comes in tea pots with mismatched cups and saucers and that everything, both in the shop and the cafe, is for sale. I also love that, unlike many cafes, this is almost exclusively an afternoon tea shop. There are no sandwiches or savoury dishes adorning the counter tops, but an impressive selection of sweet treats which change often so you don’t get bored.
Now you may head home exhausted but filled to the brim with cake and happy.
Have a great weekend, Sarah x
ps. To check out more of London's, and the world beyond's, best cafes check out Clare's Cafe Chronicles. My sister Clare blogs regularly about her fave spots to eat and be merry.