Cottage with a grated vegetable thatch

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There is much more awareness about food allergies and intolerance than there was in the past.

A few years ago we knew of people unable to eat shellfish because the reaction was quick and violent, whereas an intolerance to say flour was more difficult to detect.

Any dietary requirement should not be too difficult to cater for and you may be surprised by the results.

Most supermarkets have a ‘free from’ section which shows the demand.

I have been catering for celiacs for years with great success and most other intolerances can be sorted out.

Some diets require low fat, others no flour or nuts and some do not use any vegetable from the potato family.

What? No chips or roast potatoes?

Here is a cottage pie that is a firm favourite in our household and uses celeriac and parsnips for the roof. Grated vegetables give it the thatched look.

Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth ( Call 01243 377914.


Ingredients (serves four)

400g lean beef mince

1 large onion

1 leek

2 carrots

2 sticks celery

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

150ml red wine

250 ml beef/chicken stock

Dessertspoon tomato paste

175g parsnip

175g celeriac

Seasoning and oil for cooking


1. Chop the onion, leek and carrot into small dice.

2. Heat a casserole pan, add the oil and the vegetables. Cook for four minutes until lightly browned.

3. Increase the heat and add the mince, stirring all the time for four more minutes.

4. Add the tomato paste and cook for one minute.

5. Pour in the red wine and stock.

6. Season and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

7. While the liquid is reducing peel and grate the celeriac and parsnip into a bowl and stir.

8. Season the mixture and stir in one tablespoon of olive oil.

9. Put the celeriac and parsnip on top of the mince and place in a pre-heated oven 175C/gas 4 for 45 minutes.

10. The topping should be golden and the underneath steamed and soft.( if not return to the oven for another 15 minutes).

11. Serve with spring greens.