Mince beef and potato bake

This is simple home cooking. Easy and quick (in preparation), and will be enough to take as lunch to work too. Now, I spent a great while trying to think what to call this dish. I couldn’t really come to any good definitive conclusion of what would be best, most describing name. I’m happy for anyone to give me suggestions on this. My mum used to make this when I was a child. She would always make two version: one with blue cheese for adults, and one without for the children (I’m the second oldest of five). These days, I always make mine with the blue cheese, but this can easily be left out if you’re not a fan.

2 onions
500g mince beef
6 medium to large potatoes
50g blue cheese (I used Roquefort)
5 dl milk
3 eggs
salt and  black pepper
ground allspice, white pepper, paprika (optional)

1. Finely chop the onions, and fry in vegetable oil in a pan until they start to get translucent. Add the beef and mix with the onions. add spices of your liking. I tend to always use salt, black pepper, white pepper, allspice and paprika on my basic mince beef for various different foods. Cook until the beef is ready, breaking it into small bits as it’s cooking.

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2. Peel and slice the potatoes. Layer about a third of them at the bottom of an oven dish. Then put half of the mince beef as the next layer. If using blue cheese, add half of it on next. Then a layer of half of the remaining potatoes, remaining mince beef and remaining potatoes on top.

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3. Mix the eggs and milk with a fork, then pour over the potatoes / mince beef. If using blue cheese, add the remaining half on top.

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4. Cook in preheated oven 180°C / 355° F for about an hour, until the potatoes are soft.

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Liver casserole

This dish is food that’s eaten in my native Finland any time of the year, and in my family also as part of the Christmas meal. I always thought this food to be something of an acquired taste, and every time I used to host a party I would tell the British guests that I will not be offended if they don’t like it and finish it. As it’s turned out, it has actually always been one of the dishes people love. It’s not the most beautiful food in terms of presentation (I admit it does look more like dog food), but sometimes the taste can speak for itself instead. This dish is normally served with lingonberries, or lingonberry jam. I would say the closest substitute to lingonberries would be cranberries, which are probably more widely available.

3 dl pudding rice
1 litre water
3 tsp salt
8 dl milk
2 eggs
2 onions
1tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried marjoram
3 tbsp dark syrup (I had to replace this with 2 tbsp treacle due to availability of the syrup I normally use, and it worked fine)
1 1/2 dl raisins
500g pork liver

1. Boil the rice in the salted water for about half an hour. You may want to stir it from time to time so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

2. Peel and chop the onions, and place in a blender. Roughly chop the liver pieces, and check for any sinewy parts you may want to discard. Place in the blender together with the onions. Blend until the liver doesn’t have firm texture anymore. The onions can still be in small pieces.

3. Once the rice is cooked, add the cold milk, and all other ingredients. At this stage the mixture will be very liquid, but when it’s cooked it will become firm.

4. Pour the mixture in a buttered oven dish, and add some small pieces of butter on top. Cook for about on hour 180°C / 355°F.