Red Sky, Shepherd’s Pie

The theme for this month’s Click food photography event is Red.

And here is my entry:


Now, I do know that I’ve a dreadfully long way to go in developing any sort of expertise with a camera. For the moment, at least, I can pretend to blame it on my hardware, an old Olympus point-and-shoot. Push me only a little bit further and I’ll admit that most errors of lighting, composition, focus (see, I’m learning the lingo, if not the techniques!) are actually the fault of the operator … oh, and of the weather 😉 .

I’ll also be the first to confess that, although I am quite capable of doggedly pursuing an obsession, I have a definite tendency to otherwise waffle about and procrastinate when I have no clear goal in mind. My decision to enter this food photography event is therefore largely born out of my desire to find the proverbial carrot (or stick!) that will encourage me to keep improving my snaps.

My decision was also driven however by a longtime fascination with colours. Even as a small child, I adored sorting my crayons into rows ordered by the colour wheel. I could stand for hours, staring deeply into arrangements of coloured towels and embroidery threads in department stores. I still have memories so strong I can almost taste them of the pictures in my first colour board book.

At this point, I should probably be terribly erudite on the subject of wine or provide you with intelligent quotes about the colour, red. Unfortunately, the only sayings that come to mind are one I remember my headmaster teaching us in assembly:

“Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight”

… and my husband’s usual rejoinder whenever I attempt to apply this particular piece of folk wisdom:

“Red sky, shepherd’s pie.”

Which leads me nicely to tonight’s dinner … 😉

shepherd's pie

Shepherd’s Pie

3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 lb lamb mince (for Shepherd’s Pie) or beef mince (for Cottage Pie)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
150 ml milk
250 ml beef stock
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
ground black pepper, to taste

6 medium-sized potatoes, peeled
knob of butter
dollop of milk
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion, celery and carrot. Fry gently until soft.

Add the mince – break up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon and fry until browned.

Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and add the milk. Boil until this has reduced to a couple of tablespoons.

Add the stock, herbs and nutmeg. Season to taste. Bring to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes (add a little water if necessary to prevent from sticking).

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until tender when pierced. Add the butter, milk, nutmeg and pepper. Mash.

Pour the mince mixture into the bottom of an oven-proof bowl. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top. Use a fork to fluff up the top (the spiky ridges will brown in the oven).

Place in the oven (200 degrees C) until bubbling and browned (I put a large baking tray on the lowest shelf to catch anything that bubbles too much).

Leave a comment


  1. that is vibrant and gorgeous. thank you.

  2. Thanks, Bee.

  3. The ‘red’ photo is great, good luck with the competition. I know what you mean about colours – to me colours are as beautiful as music and I have always done the rainbow/colour wheel with crayons etc! words, letters, numbers etc also have colours for me (but maybe that’s getting a bit too weird!)

  4. Well. I like your red photo. Let’s face it, with all the computer manipulation possible, a perfect picture could merely be a result of photographic plastic surgery, not prowess. Your picture is real and all of a sudden I feel thirsty.

    I love Shepherd’s pie. (which really should ‘ The Poaching Shepherd’s pie!’)

  5. Aw, thanks for the nice comments! M was as pleased as anything to have held the glass for me when I took the photo. She approached her task very earnestly, even although her little 3-yr-old hands could barely wrap around the bottom of the glass!


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