ENGLAND- Shepherd’s Pie

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England are early departers from the World Cup, despite producing arguably better performances this time round than in South Africa ’10. Back-to-back defeats against Italy and Uruguay, in which they have managed only 1 goal in each have left them out of the tournament at the first stage, pointless after 2 group matches, and heading into the final match against a red-hot Costa Rica hoping to salvage some pride for the Three Lions.

Given their withering performances so far, they must be rooting for the halcyon days when they had Gary Winston Lineker in an England shirt.

Lineker was born in Leicester- the very centre of England- the son of a greengrocer, who had a stall in the local market. After a budding start to his career which saw him finish top scorer for Leicester City and Everton in consecutive seasons, he signed for Barcelona in 1985, where he again excelled, cementing his place as England’s first choice striker heading into the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. There Gary helped England to qualify for the knock-out stages by scoring an incredible hat-trick against Poland. Two more followed against Paraguay, to send them into the quarter finals to face Argentina, but their challenge withered when his single goal in that match was cancelled out by two from Diego Maradona. Lineker finished top scorer of the tournament hwoever, notching up six goals, making him the first, and to this date only English player to have won the Golden Boot.

Today in honour of Gary Lineker, I’ll be eating shepherd’s pie for dinner!

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INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

300g potatoes- type suitable for mashing,
(or, alternatively pre-made mash)
1 teaspoons butter
40ml milk
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and black pepper to taste
250g Lamb Mince, cooked
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 medium carrot- grated
200ml lamb stock (from cube)
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
30g grated Red Leicester cheese.
¼ pint ale(rest for drinking!)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Boil the potatoes until tender.
2. Drain, then return to the pan. Continue heating until dry, then mash the potatoes until smooth and lump free.
3. Mix in butter, milk, nutmeg, and salt and pepper.
4. Meanwhile, stir-fry the mince in a very hot frying-pan with half the oil until browned.
5. Add the rest of the oil, onion, carrot and garlic.
6. Continue cooking for around 5 minutes until the vegetables soften.
7. Add the lamb stock, ale, and mixed herbs.
8. Allow to simmer uncovered for around 10 minutes until the meat is cooked and the liquid has been reduced.
9. Add the meat to the bottom of an overproof dish and top with the mashed potato, sprinkle pie with breadcrumbs and cheddar.
10. Place the pie dish under the grill and brown the top of the pie.

Serve with green vegetables and cold beer!

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