Sunday, 13 October 2013

Whoops, Dinner Time...

Grandma has come for a visit.  I've had her room prepared for several days now.  The children have been getting more and more excited.

After lunch Husband and three girls headed off to collect her from the train station.  We'd had a brief discussion about what to have for dinner and I'd got out some sausages - you know those posh 'pork & apple' sausages that are always worth buying on 3for2 offers because they're so much nicer.  Plus the standard Richmond sausages that are the only ones the children will eat because any others produce a "They sting my mouth" whinge.

The boys and I made rock cakes - well, to be fair, Mr M just slept, but that's pretty helpful in my book.  Mr J enjoyed squishing the butter (which had been in the freezer so needed a bit of extra effort) into the flour and licking his fingers after we'd mixed everything together - I don't know how he could eat that raw mixture, it's really not nice.  Anyway, cakes baked.  Check.  Husband & girls return with Grandma, great enjoyment ensues with presents and sweets and games.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Husband noted that the sausages were still rock solid.  Whoops.  What shall we have for dinner now?  They'd just bought a joint of beef, but that would take hours to cook.  There are no takeaways near us (really, it's over ten miles to the nearest town) and I'd already started peeling the potatoes for mash to go with the sausages.

After a bit of mulling, Husband appears with three tins of stewing steak from our stores (see Winter's Coming.  Are you ready?) asking if I can make some shortcrust pastry.
"Let's just do Cottage Pie," I say.  "We'll mash the potatoes like we planned."
"But we don't have mince out," says he.
"They used chunks of beef or lamb in the Falklands." I remind him.  "The stewing steak will be fine."

So, here's my Whoops, Store Cupboard Dinner recipe.

Ingredients (For 3 adults)
Five large Maris Piper Potatoes, boiled and mashed with a huge chunk of still slightly frozen butter.
Three tins of Stewing Steak in Gravy.
One tin of mushrooms.

Boil the Stewing Steak in Gravy with the mushrooms while you boil and mash the potatoes.
Put in a casserole dish and cover with the mashed potatoes.
Cook in the oven at about 180C for about 20 minutes.

The result is surprisingly tasty considering the Stewing Steak smelled like dog food when the Husband opened the tins!  The children's sausages were defrosted, by the way, so they were happy.

These quick recipes are the ones that I find most useful in a busy family with five children.  I can't think how many times we've had to pull something together because I've forgotten to defrost something or we've run out of fresh.  Another option would have been Corned Beef Hash (there's always a couple of tins of corned beef somewhere in the house) - but there is a North/South divide over this in our family leading to misunderstandings when it is requested.  The North says it is a very runny corned beef in gravy with potato slices on top and baked in the oven; while the South maintains that it is corned beef mixed with mashed potato resulting in a lovely crisp texture after baking.  Which way do you think is best?

Now, hopefully, we'll be better organised for the rest of Grandma's visit.  I'm looking forward to a proper Sunday Roast with the Beef (with some lovely Roast Potatoes) today!

This post is an entry for #MarisPiperBritMums Linky Challenge ( sponsored by Potato Council for Potato Week 7 – 13 October, celebrating the varieties of potatoes and how we like to eat them. Learn more and find recipes at


  1. I'm not sure I could come up with something tasty from what's in our cupboard! Well done!

  2. As I say, it was surprisingly good.

  3. Ah, see that's where being paranoid about the Winter is pretty useful! Always something in the stores.

  4. Remember you always help others when you blog about real family life and the little things that can go wrong. Like the resourcefulness and here's to a good store cupboard. Commenting for myself @kateonthinice and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part

  5. Thanks, I agree completely that reading about the mistakes can be very helpful - and there are plenty of them in my life!


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