We're living a Mediterranean-inspired lifestyle, putting our hearts and health first
Cosy cottage pie
2 good-sized aubergines, finely chopped
250g mushrooms of your choice, (I tend to use chestnut), finely chopped
Handful fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
1 400g can mixed bean salad in water, rinsed
Leaves from 3 springs of thyme
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
250g super lean 5% fat beef mince (Optional)
3 tbsp wholemeal plain flour
500ml low-salt beef stock (I use Kallo)
Few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
2 large sweet potatoes/4 small ones
Splash of skimmed milk
Chop the mushrooms and aubergines into small pieces and add to a large pot with the oil. Start to cook over a medium heat.
Add the fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, beans, thyme and mince if using, and stir together.
Add the tomato purée and flour and cook for 1 minute.
Add the canned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, stock and finally a good grinding of pepper.
Stir, bring up to the boil, allow to thicken, reduce to a gentle simmer and cover, leaving to cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the carrots and sweet potatoes and boil under tender.
Drain and leave until no more steam is visible.
Remove the lid on the sauce and bring up the good rolling boil and, if necessary, reduce until it is rich and unctuous and not too runny.
Pour the sauce into a rectangular ovenproof dish.
Mash the carrots and sweet potatoes, using a small slug of skimmed milk to slacken them. Grind in lots of pepper.
Spoon the mash top over the sauce and use a fork to spread it and make ridges. Or, if you're feeling fancy, pipe with a bag and nozzle.
Bake at 180 fan for 25 minutes, or until the top starts to look a bit crispy. Due to a lack of added fat, it won't go particularly golden but will still taste magnificent!
All the veg are full of vitamins, minerals and in the case of the tomatoes, antioxidants such as lycopene. You will likely hit your five a day from a good-sized portion!
There is next to no fat added to this dish.
Beans are legumes and an excellent source of protein. They don't have the saturated fat content of animal proteins.
The optional beef in this dish is scant and lean, and while I don't think it adds an awful lot, I appreciate some people enjoy knowing they've had some meat. For good heart health I have been advised to eat red meat no more than once or twice a month, though once a week is ok if it is lean and cooked with no added fat.