I am very happy that the sun is shining; the light is expanding, and spring has finally arrived. The problem is that it’s still freezing cold. ‘Ne’er cast a clout till May is out’. My advice, don’t rely on a salad either. I tried eating lighter and less, avoiding sweets and chocolates but it has spectacularly backfired.

What I really feel like is mince and tatties, with fluffy tasty doughballs floating on top. And why not? They’re filling tasty and reassuringly fattening.



1 tablespoon vegetable oil

600g best Scotch steak minced

1 tablespoon Worcester sauce

1 tablespoon plain flour

I large onion, finely chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

200ml hot water or beef stock

Sea salt and black pepper

Gravy browning



Choose a heavy bottomed saucepan. Warm the oil. Add the mince gradually, separating it with a wooden spoon and turning it in the heat so that it gets a chance to brown.

Add all the mince and brown well. Taking time at this stage really enhances the flavour of the meat. Season the meat well and add the Worcester sauce and stir in. Stir in the plain flour to thicken the mince.

Now add the chopped onions, sliced carrots and add enough hot water or beef stock to cover the mince.

Stir everything together, loosening any flour that has stuck to the pan. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until the mince is tender.

Add more hot water if required, there should be enough to make a thick gravy. Finish thickening the mince by adding 1-2 tablespoons gravy browning as per packet instructions. Check seasoning.


Prepare the doughballs while the meat is cooking

250g self-raising flour

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

125g shredded beef suet or cold unsalted butter

Fresh herbs to taste; chopped parsley, fresh sage or even chives.

2 scant tablespoons

of cold water



Sift the flour into a bowl and add the seasoning. Add the grated suet or butter and use your fingers to rub the fat into the flour to form a crumb effect.

Add any extra flavourings at this stage. Now add enough cold water to be able to bind the mixture into a dough.

Flour your hands and roll

plum-sized pieces of the mixture into balls.

To cook the doughballs simply lay them on top of the simmering mince and steam with the lid on over a low heat for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with steaming mounds of buttery mashed potatoes.