Family Tradition and a Truffled Mash Cottage Pie Recipe

Family tradition.

If you ask me what fond memories I have of my family as a child, it would be the homecooked food my mom prepared for us and the trips that we took when we were young. Now as a mom, it’s quite inevitable that I would like to pass down this tradition of providing homecooked food for my own little family. Well, of course, I can’t guarantee that my food is palatable like my mom’s but I’ll try. :p

Since Faith was born, my SIL has started a tradition of getting a real tree each Christmas. Now, this is something foreign to me. I came from a non-Christian and traditional Chinese family. Growing up, we have never had a Christmas tree. We didn’t decorate our apartment nor were there turkeys, hams or presents. Christmas, just wasn’t celebrated in the way I’ve imagined it, until I have a family of my own. Even then, I have to have the SIL to somehow kickstart for us.

This year, we had a slightly smaller tree because the SIL wanted the (small) children to participate more actively. How thoughtful! I do think it’s a better option too.

While the folks were decorating the tree, I was actually in my own kitchen preparing a dish to bring over. The hubs had kindly brought the kids to the in-laws’ earlier so that I could cook in peace. Oh, the joy of cooking, is back! I certainly enjoy baking and cooking, in the absence of the children because when they are around, they would keep calling me which frustrates me to the core. I mean, won’t you be irritated when you have to stop every five minutes to tend to the kids? I would!

I haven’t cooked anything, out of the usual menu that I have stored in my mind, for a long while and I fumbled a little for this dish. My timing was off, things were all over the place even though I had put everything in place, you know, mise en place?

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In the end, I was half an hour late for the gathering. By the time I reached the in-laws’, the Christmas tree was all decorated and the folks were just relaxing, waiting for my arrival. Oops.

Truffled Mash Cottage Pie

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1 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 onion, finely chopped or diced (up to you)
1 carrot, finely chopped or diced (up to you)
500g ground beef
150g portobello/ white mushroons, chopped
A splash of dry white wine
3 tbsp tomato paste
1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tsp butter
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp truffle oil (or more if you like!)
Quail eggs (cooked and shelled)
Cheeses ( I used cheddar, mozzarella & parmesan)
salt and ground black pepper

:: Preheat oven to 200C.

:: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add in the bay leaf, onion and carrot and fry, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the ground beef and fry until browned, stirring often.

:: Add the mushrooms and fry for 3 minutes. Pour in the white wine and fry briefly until cooked off. Mix in the tomato paste. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.

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:: Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a large pan of salted, boiling water until tender; drain. Mash with butter, cream and truffle oil and season with salt and ground black pepper.

:: Place the beef mixture in an ovenproof dish. Add in the quail eggs and top with the mashed potato, spreading in an even layer.

:: Sprinkle over the cheeses.

:: Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden-brown.

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Family tradition.

I’m curious. What’s yours?