Beef and barley cottage pie

beef and barley cottage pie

If there’s one cookbook that should be on every kitchen shelf in the kingdom it’s a farmhouse cookbook. A farmhouse is the centre of all food production and a hive of culinary activity.

My first ever cookbook was The Dairy Book of Family Cookery and it serves me well even to this day but now Yeo Valley have sent me The Great British Farmhouse Book to review, written by Sarah Mayor, daughter of Roger and Mary Mead who started Yeo Valley at Holt Farm back in 1961.

My review is a long time coming but I have already tried 3 recipes from the book and all were successful; both the outcome and the family comments. Roast leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic pesto, cauliflower cheese with roasted cherry tomatoes & crispy bacon and today I am focusing on Beef and barley cottage pie a staple in most families but with the clever addition of barley. Take a look at my photo of the book and you’ll see lots of post-its popping out of the top – clear sign I have many more recipes I want to try.

Beef and barley cottage pie

Ingredients for 6

100g pearl barley
600ml beef stock
3 tbsp sunflower oil
150g streaky bacon finely chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
350g carrots peeled and finely sliced (about 4 carrots)
1 large celery stalk finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1.25kg good minced beef
1 tbsp thyme leaves
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp mustard
150 ml red wine
salt and pepper freshly ground

For the potato topping

1.75 floury potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
75g butter
4-5 tbsp sour cream or creme fraiche
a little freshly grated nutmeg

beef and barley cottage pie


Put the pearl barley, stock and 1/4 tsp of salt into a small pan and bring to the boil. cover and simmer for 25 minutes until tender.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the bacon and fry until golden. Add the onion, cover and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the carrots, celery and garlic, recover and cook for 5 minutes until the veg is soft and lightly coloured.

yeo valley great british farmhouse cookbook

Add the minced beef, turn the heat up to high and cook for 3-4 minutes breaking up the meat as it browns. Add the thyme, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, mustard, wine, cooked pearl barley and stock and simmer for 25- 30 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the mixture has thickened.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6

Put the potatoes into a pan of salted water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Drain well and return to the pan and mash until smooth. Stir in the butter and sour cream and season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper.


Season the beef mix to taste and spoon into a large ovenproof dish. Spoon the mash over the top, spread out evenly and rough up with a fork.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until bubbling hot and golden brown.

beef and barley cottage pie

A few of my favourite bloggers have also been sent the book to review and have each chosen different recipes

Aly Hodge at Plus 2.4 tried out 5 breakfast recipes

Chris at Thinly Spread chose the Spinach and wild garlic pie and

Gemma at Hello it’s Gemma made this Raspberry, lemon and yogurt tea loaf and it makes my mouth water to look at it a MUST try


  1. AnnieMammasaurus
    May 10, 2013 / 2:45 PM

    Oh my! I have been seeing this book reviewed on Aly’s blog, Gemmas blog and Gannet and Parrot’s too and I must say it looks great. I love that it’s proper, useful recipes that families will cook rather than a collection of recipes that I’d never bake… I do have a knack of buying a recipe book because it looks lovely but once I open it I find out most of the recipes aren’t really practical. This one looks good – I think you lot have sold it to me!

    PS. Love the heart-shaped bakeware!

    • Mari
      May 11, 2013 / 7:42 AM

      Mm I must take a look at Gannet and Parrot to see which recipe she chose. There are some excellent ideas in there and my next attempt will be a honey glazed ham, can be eaten hot or cold.

  2. mummyslittlemonkey
    May 10, 2013 / 10:57 PM

    I’ve completely fallen in love with your baking dish! Where did you get it from?! And my girls would adore that cottage pie xx

    • Mari
      May 11, 2013 / 7:44 AM

      A supermarket and most likely Morrisons, Sainsbury’s or Asda as they are my usuals. Sorry I can’t be more specific, it wasn’t that long ago either, I’ll keep a look out next week and tweet you if I see it ;)

      • mummyslittlemonkey
        May 11, 2013 / 1:34 PM

        Ahhh… you’ve jogged my memory now – I think I saw something like this at Sainsbury’s! xx

        • Mari
          May 12, 2013 / 5:16 PM

          YES!!! well remembered it was Sainsbury’s #phew #seniormoment

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