There used to be a vegetarian restaurant in Covent Garden called Cranks. Cranks was my saviour when I was working in London. In my job as a visual merchandiser for Aceessorize/Monsoon I had to get to the shops really early in the morning, at about 6.30 – 7am, so we could merchandise the store before it opened. This meant getting up at 4.30am! Anyone that knows me would understand how difficult that was. I am not a morning person. They used to call us “pit ponies” because we would arrive at the shop when it was still dark and then leave after the sun had gone down. We never saw the sunshine and it was usually freezing cold or raining.
Anyway, one of the saving graces about working in the Covent Garden store (one of the highest turnover stores in the company, but one of the oldest and smallest – always a nightmare!) was that it was practically next door to Cranks who served the best remedy for stress/ exhaustion known to man (well me anyway).
Homity Pie is a sort of vegetarian equivalent of Shepherd’s Pie I suppose but so much better. The main ingredient is mashed potato which is the number one comfort food, add to that a crispy cheddar cheese topping, peas, onions & tomatoes and you get the general idea. I have also added some wilted spinach which only makes it better. This is heaven… make it when you need cheering up, it’s raining outside and nobody understands you, I promise you will feel better…
Homity Pie Recipe
Serves 3-4 Vegetarian
- 2 very large potatoes about 650 gr peeled
- 30 gr butter for mash plus 15 gr for spinach
- 2oo ml sour cream or creme fraiche
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 100 grams frozen peas (petit pois)
- 1 small onion chopped finely
- 1 bag fresh spinach about 300 gr
- 3 medium tomatoes (2 chopped 1 sliced)
- 75 gr mature cheddar cheese grated
- freshly grated nutmeg 1/4 tsp
- dried oregano
- salt & pepper
Cut the peeled potatoes in equal sized chunks and place them in a pan of cold salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. In a large pan over a medium heat add the 15 gr butter and 2 of the crushed garlic cloves, when the butter has melted dump in the bag of spinach, stir, add the freshly grated nutmeg, salt & pepper and cover with a lid.Cook for a few minuites, stirring occasionally, until the spinach has wilted, remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
Meanwhile bring a separate small pan of salted water to the boil, add the peas, cook for about 3 or 4 minutes drain and set aside. When the potatoes are soft, drain and add the butter, cream, oil, the rest of the garlic, salt & pepper and mash well with a potato masher. Add the peas and chopped onion to the mash and mix well.
Butter an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Spread the wilted spinach in the bottom of the dish with a slotted spoon (you don’t want the green liquid that has come out of the spinach). Then put a layer of chopped tomato on top of the spinach, add a little salt and 1/2 tsp dried oregano.
Top with the mashed potato mixture then the sliced tomato, sprinkle over the grated cheese and some breadcrumbs to make the crispy topping. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown.
You can eat it as it is, straight out of the dish in front of the TV….
Or serve it with some rocket if you feel like it dressing it up. Whatever you decide, take a big forkful, feel the day disappearing and exhale……