Archive for the World Events Category

Episode 56. In which I teach you how to make mince and tatties.

Posted in food, World Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2009 by diabetses

Firstly, get yourself a bottle of beer, or a gin and tonic, or a glass of wine, or whatever tickles your fancy.



  • 1 packet of mince – I use good quality lean Scottish beef mince.   We tried it once with pork mince and it was different, but very nice.
  • 4 medium-sized tatties – or fewer big ones, or more little ones
  • 1 medium-sized onion (red, white, whatever)
  • 1 small carrot
  • a handful of runner beans (optional)
  • a handful of frozen peas (optional)
  • 4 heaped teaspoons of Bisto (or whatever gravy you’re into)
  • 1 kettle of boiling water
  • A little bit of oil (olive, sunflower, whatever you want)


The first thing to do is deal with the peeling and chopping.  You should get this out of the way early for two reasons.  Firstly, because you will have all your ingredients laid out and ready to go into the pot, and secondly because you should get the knifeplay out of the way before you get stuck into the booze.

Peel the carrot, and slice it thinly.  Get rid of the extraneous crap off the onion, and chop it up – as big as you want, it makes no difference to the recipe, it just depends on how big you like your onion chunks.  If you’re having runner beans, chop them (into about quarters or thirds).  Peel the potatoes, and chop them into chunks – for medium sized tatties, cut them into about 6 pieces each.  Basically the size of the potato chunks will dictate how long they need to cook before they’re ready, and that’s the size I work with.   You don’t want the mince to be boiled dry by the time the tatties are done, but you want them cooking for long enough for the veg to cook and the gravy flavour to go into the mince.

Put the tatties into a saucepan, and put the kettle on.


Put a little bit of oil into another saucepan and put the mince in to brown.  Keep it moving, and chop it up a bit.  I’m a firm believer in mince being mince, I don’t like it when people cook with mince and leave it sitting so it cooks into lumps.  Apart from anything else, I get paranoid about whether it’s cooked properly in the middle and also the gravy flavour doesn’t go all the way through.  So keep the mince moving while it browns.

When the mince is all brown, take it over to the sink, get out a spoon (or a tiny little ladle, in my old flat there was a tiny little ladle which was perfect for this bit) and remove the excess water and oil from the pan.  Spoon it out, don’t tip it, because if you do it right you won’t lose a single piece of mince.

Now put the pan of mince back on the heat and put the chopped up onion in with it.  Mix it all about, keep an eye on it because now that there’s no water and fat glugging around the pan it’ll start to sizzle a bit, and you don’t want it to burn.  Put the Bisto in a jug and make yourself half a pint of gravy.  Mix it up properly with a fork, no lumps please, that’s rubbish that is.  Pour the gravy in the pan, and chuck in the carrot (and runner beans and/or peas if you so desire).  Leave it simmering, not boiling.

Pour a load of the kettle water into the pan with the tatties in, and bring it to the boil.  Some people start with cold water but I can’t be doing with standing there for half an hour until the water reaches lukewarm.  When the tatties are boiling, make sure the water’s rolling nicely, and stir the mince, and go and sit down and drink your booze.

Now the length of time you leave it will depend on the size of the chunks of potato you started with, but mine usually take half an hour or so.  Check on everything every ten minutes, or whenever you happen to be in the kitchen for a refill/smoke/to let the cat out.  Your mince shouldn’t boil dry or even thicken to any significant degree, but you don’t want it sticking to the bottom of the pan through sheer laziness.

When the tatties are cooked, put them into a collander along with a lump of butter and chuck them around a bit with a wooden spoon.  This is an invention of My Man that we’d never tried until tonight, but let me tell you, it was yummy.

Serving up

Put the tatties on your plate, and spoon on the mince (with gravy and veg).

When you serve this dinner, it will look like many other meals – a saucy meaty vegetabley mixture on top of starchy goodness.  What you want to do next is to use your fork to mash up the tatties (insofar as this is still needed after the collander-bashing), and mix it all up with the mincy gravy, so you end up with a big pale brown gooey mixture.

This is yummy.

It is also very nice with red cabbage on the side, but only the red cabbage my mum used to make at home, not the stuff you get in jars.

And there you have mince and tatties.

In other news

Incidentally, My Man says that Mount Redoubt has just erupted, it’s not hit the news yet, you heard it here first.  Actually, since I only have about four readers and they probably read this the day after I write it, you probably heard it all over the news, but as of now, 10.30pm on Thursday 5 February 2009, nobody knows about it except the weather geeks looking at storm images and noticing the big red circle over Mount Redoubt, which must mean massive heat expenditure and ash plume.

Diabetic moment of the day

Today 4 units of Novorapid was too much at lunchtime.  That’s just stupid.  I think my diabetes is getting better.