Mi Casa, Tu Casa

January 31, 2021

As we enjoy another Sunday during Lockdown 3.0, thoughts turn to the most homely of traditions, the Sunday Roast. I think I long ago decided that the “Sunday Roast” wasn’t such an event especially when you are a clergyman and having to conduct several services in a day. I remember the challenges of traveling nearly 80 miles in winter to the first church, then having lunch and tea with strangers before the long drive home. In between I had been in 3 churches, in 3 villages, with 3 different sermons. Not exactly the day of rest and calorific intensity that followed the pattern of ‘a pint, a ‘Roast’ and a nap.’

With the return of Lockdown comes the bonus of time and the temptation to fill that void with calories and alcohol . Both can be heaven sent or an evil, should either get the upper hand.

Being back on the SW diet one has decided to explore the more frugal fats, carbs and calories without scrimping on flavour. To that end, I now stock % proof San Miguel, Bud, and Gin!!

Today’s feast has been derived from indecision. Being unable to decide whether I yearn for a chilli , a pie, a curry or a steak. The only factors I wished to consider were, how much mess, how much faffing about, is what’s needed in the fridge and/or cupboard, & finally, not too SYNful.

I settled upon, “Tarta del Casa” or “Pastel del Casa”; depending upon your views on pies/tarts. Basically a Smokey chili beef dish, finished with a potato layer and cheese!

If indecision wasn’t enough of a bind, one has to allow for the “its not the taste but the texture” diner which then leads to “picking out” onions, red kidney beans, and pieces of mushroom. I feel like face-palming as I write (kindergarten time)!!

One of course could be belligerent and adopt the “deal with it” attitude but the miser in me prefers to feed people not the compost bin.


500g 5% fat minced beef

2 onions

3 cloves of garlic chopped

1 red bell pepper de seeded and coarsely chopped

1 can chopped or whole tomatoes and juice

1 can baked beans, sauce washed off

2 tsp Mild chili powder, 1/2 tps cayenne pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp cinnamon & 2 tsp smoked paprika

30g leaf corriander

200g potatoes thinly sliced

135g or less ASDA 50% fat reduced cheddar (I used 90g)

Optional pinch of nutmeg


Thinly slice and dice the onion and garlic. Transfer to a food processor and blitz. Add the beef & spices and continue to pulse until combined. Heat an ovenproof pan and place the meat purée on a medium heat, cover and leave to cook for at least 30 minutes. Stir and cover once more. Now drain and rinse the baked beans and set aside. Grate the cheese and slice (use a mandolin) the potatoes and set aside with the the beans. Prepare the pepper.

Ensure the meat is moving freely and add the coriander and beans, stir well, and return the cover for a further 10 minutes.

Add the peppers and stir once more, and begin placing the sliced potato over the the meat filling any gaps. Cover once more and leave for 20 minutes. As the steam rises it will condense and return to the pan. In essence you’re steaming the potatoes.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C fan and scatter the grated cheese over the potatoes, add a little more coriander as garnish and a pinch of nutmeg (optional), before baking for 30 minutes.

When the potatoes and cheese have that golden brown colour then dinner is ready. This dish can be served cold with a salad and prepared a head of schedule and goes well on a picnic or warmed on a miserable winter’s day.

The lowdown, as best as I can tell as there are no additional oils used and everything is low fat, the SYNs will come from the cheese. Healthy A allow 40g of this cheese syn free therefore today, for me, its free food!

More importantly it’s tastes very unhealthy and is a crowd pleaser.


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