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I once read an interview with Jamie Oliver where he said that he prefers using shop bought puff pastry because there’s no point spending hours trying to make it yourself when it’s ready to hand, exactly how you’d make it and delicious…so I took that advice on board and buy all my pastry (I use jus roll). If I’m baking some fancy cake or something some day then I’ll give the pastry a go, but if it’s an after-work dinner no chance! You could use puff or shortcrust pastry with this recipe – I only went for shortcrust because it was the only one in the shop. Also a word of warning, this takes around 3 hours in total to make. So don’t just skim through the recipe and start it at half 8 in the evening…because if you’re as stubborn as I am you’ll end up starving yourself and whoever else is depending on you to cook dinner, and then by the time you finally get to eat it you won’t know if it was actually nice or if they’re just saying that because they’re aware you’re on the verge of throwing yourself off the balcony. But I’m pretty sure it actually is delicious. Loosely adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe, I only did a pastry topping instead of an actual pie as a result of the aforementioned time constraints, but it was still delicious!

Ingredients: (pie serves 3-4, adjust potatoes accordingly)

  • Olive oil
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large parsnips
  • Packet of mushrooms
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 30g butter
  • 500g stewing beef cut into cubes
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 can of guinness
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Cornflour/plain flour
  • 200g grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 sheet of ready roll puff or shortcrust pastry
  • Olive oil
  • Baby Potatoes (I used 5 to serve 2)
  • English mustard
  • A few rosemary leaves
  • Sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 200°c.
  • Dice your garlic and chop onion, carrots, parsnips and mushrooms into chunky pieces.

  • Fry garlic and onion in olive oil until onion is softened then add the butter and all your chopped vegetables and stir together.

  • Add the beef along with the chopped rosemary, a pinch of sea salt and a good dash of black pepper.

  • Fry on a medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes then add your can of guinness.

Motion Pictuuuuuure!

  • If the guinness doesn’t cover it then add a little water but it should do the job!
  • Add 2 tbsp of cornflour/plain flour, bring to a simmer and transfer to your casserole dish. 
  • Cover with the lid and place in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours. 
  • Remove, stir, and put back in for another hour. The stew is ready when the meat is extremely tender and the sauce is thick and rich.
  • If the sauce is still too runny after all this time then place the casserole dish on the hob and reduce it further. You can add a little more flour but be careful you don’t overdo it!
  • When the sauce is the right consistency, stir in half your grated cheese, season carefully and set aside.
  • Next, drizzle a baking tray with olive oil and roll your baby potatoes around in it until covered.
  • Use a knife to smear the mustard on top of the potatoes – don’t be afraid of the heat of the mustard, cooking it removes a lot of this.
  • Sprinkle the sea salt and rosemary leaves on top.
  • Next, roll out your sheet of pastry. Sprinkle the remainder of your grated cheese over the top of your pie filling, then lay the pastry on top.

  • Cut around the edges and use the excess pastry to decorate the top.
  • Put your pie and your baby potatoes in the oven for 30 minutes, pie on the bottom and potatoes on the middle shelf. If the pastry starts to brown too much just cover it with a piece of tinfoil.
  • Et voila!

(My ridiculous hunger by that stage is reflected in the way it was flung on the plate)