A favorite of mine in British cuisine are meat pies. Beyond those unfortunate chicken-pot-pies in the frozen section at the grocery store, it’s not something I see very often in the wild. But this time of year, when half my days are rainy and gray and the other half are freezing cold—I want something warm from the oven. So I was surprised to discover that in spite of a number of steak pies, eel and fish pies, and others featuring game and fowl—there wasn’t a classic shepherd’s pie to be found.
And so it was Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall to the rescue. My friend Gordon had sent me The River Cottage Year cookbook a few years ago for Christmas—and it’s a great guide to thinking about seasonality in modern Britain. Of course, it didn’t contain a recipe for shepherd’s pie either. But poking around online led me to his mum’s recipe posted on the River Cottage series website. Did Hugh lead me astray? As my friend Elaine noted when eating it, “More things should be cooked in wine.” I did modify it slightly to be cooked in individual portion-sized ramekins.
This first post also gave me insight into one of the things I didn’t think about when starting Tine Life—the trouble of food photography. I’m a graphic designer, I’ve been art directing photo shoots and taking pictures on my vacations (and cats) for years. And I’ve been reading the usual food blog suspects for an equally long time. Sure, for the time being I’m limited by what I can do with natural light in my Pacific Northwest winter kitchen window and a Sony point and shoot camera—but how hard can it be?