Celebrating Great British beef

Beef, leek & swede Cumberland pie

NEW this month on our ‘foodie calendar’ is a Great British Beef Week, which runs from April 23-30. The aim is to celebrate the “iconic” flavours and versatility of British beef and the sustainable practices of beef farmers. 

Thankfully, the National Beef Association website – nationalbeefassociation.com
has some interesting recipes using every cut of beef imaginable…
so we offer you two of them. 

Beef, leek & swede Cumberland pie





  • 3 (or 2 if large), leeks white part diced, green part sliced and keep separate

  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped

  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp butter

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil or vegetable oil

  • 1kg good-quality beef mince (a little fat adds flavour and tenderises, so try a 10% mix rather than super-lean)

  • 200g unsmoked bacon lardons

  • 3 tbsp plain flour

  • 5 thyme sprigs

  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tbsp Marmite

  • 1.2l beef stock

  • For the topping
  • 1kg swede (about 2 large), peeled and chopped into chunks

  • 350g floury potatoes, chopped into chunks

  • 25g butter, plus a few knobs

  • 100ml milk

  • A little freshly grated nutmeg

  • 25g mature cheddar, grated

  • 25g fresh breadcrumbs


  • Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the leek whites, carrot and celery in a flameproof casserole dish with the butter, oil and a pinch of salt, and soften, without colouring, over a gentle heat.
  • Meanwhile, brown the mince in a non-stick frying pan. Cook in batches to keep it brown and avoid it going grey and soggy. If you’ve used a lean mince, you may need to add a drop of oil. Break up the mince well with a wooden spoon as you go.
  • When the veg is soft, stir in the bacon lardons, turn up the heat a little and cook until everything is golden. Stir in the mince, followed by the flour, 3 thyme sprigs, Worcestershire sauce and Marmite. Gradually stir in the stock and bring everything to a simmer, then cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hrs until the sauce is thickened and rich, and the beef tender, removing the lid and stirring in the leek greens halfway through.
  • While the beef bakes, put the swede and potato into two separate pans. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil, then simmer until tender – about 20 mins. Drain both well, then tip back into their pans over a low heat to steam-dry for a few mins. When both (but particularly the swede) look dry, combine them in one pan with the butter, milk, nutmeg and lots of seasoning. Mash until smooth.
  • Transfer the mince to individual dishes or one baking dish (or leave in the casserole if you prefer, discarding the thyme sprigs). Cover with the mash, using a fork to fluff up the top. Rub the cheddar into the breadcrumbs with the leaves from the remaining thyme sprigs and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle this mixture over the mash, dot with small knobs of butter, then increase the temperature to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and bake for 30 mins until golden and crisp on top. Can be made ahead and chilled, or frozen and defrosted. Bake for an extra 10-15 mins until the sauce is bubbling.

Salad of beef tongue, green vegetables, wild garlic vinaigrette





  • 320g of finely sliced cooked beef tongue

  • 100g of wild garlic leaves

  • 100g of olive oil

  • 1 bunch of watercress

  • 1 bunch of green asparagus

  • 1 small head of broccoli

  • Juice of 1 lemon 

  • 4 small spring radish

  • 40g parmesan shavings


  • Prepare the wild garlic puree: Blanche the wild garlic leaves in boiling water and refresh by dipping in cold water. Remove excess water. Mix the olive oil with the wild garlic and pass through a fine sieve. Put aside.
  • Prepare a vinaigrette with the lemon juice, the wild garlic puree and the wild garlic oil.
  • Prepare the vegetables: Using a mandolin or a grater, finely grate the raw broccoli florets into rice-sized pieces. Wash the watercress and remove the excess water. Blanche the green asparagus in salted boiling water for 10 minutes and refresh in iced cold water. Slice each asparagus long ways in four.
  • To finish: Use a plate for each person and spoon some of the wild garlic vinaigrette onto the centre of each plate. Arrange slices of beef tongue on each plate.  Sprinkle the broccoli over the beef. Place the green asparagus in a bowl and toss in a little of the vinaigrette until coated. Arrange nicely on the top of the meat.
    Decorate with some of the watercress and parmesan shavings. Finish by spooning a little more of the vinaigrette.