Royal Recipes: Cottage Pie & Banana Flan

Royal Recipes TV Programme 2017,

This was episode 7 of a 15-part TV programme presented by Michael Buerk.  This episode looked at Royal Childhoods and Nursery Food.  Two dishes were the main Royal Childhood recipes cooked: Paul Ainsworth recreated Prince William’s favourite Cottage Pie.  Darren McGrady cooked a Banana Flan, a favourite of Prince William and Prince Harry when they were home from school.

In the programmes they don’t give you the measurements or timings the majority of the time, the show is for entertainment, not education.

Prince William’s Cottage Pie

  1. In a large frying pan prepare the base: carrots, onions, leeks, celery, cut to size of small fingernail (the French term for this is mirepoix).  This is tiny cubes/chunks of the vegetables.
  2. Add some grated garlic and a little thyme – break the pieces off the stalk.
  3. Add a little bit of cracked black pepper, seasoning.
  4. Add mushroom ketchup – this comes in a bottle and is similar to Worcestershire sauce. They described it as “a good glug” for quantity.
  5. Turn up the heat and reduce the mixture down.
  6. Browning the flour: by browning it you’re toasting it and it makes the sauce darker.  It looked to me to be 5-6 tablespoons of flour.  Add in the toasted flour to the pan and mix it in, that’s the base.
  7. Take your browned mince, Paul used beef shin – this cut is full of flavour and minced down, then roasted down to render the fat off – and add the mince into the frying pan.
  8. Add beef stock – go easy, don’t drown it, just cover the meat. Want it to thicken nicely and allow the flavours to come through.
  9. Taste it to see if it needs more seasoning.
  10. Into the oven. They didn’t say how long for, but it was quite a long time as it’s reduced a little.
  11. Once you take this out of the oven, while the mince is still hot, pour the mince mix into an oven dish.
  12. Add mashed potato to the top – use Desiree or King Edward potatoes.  Spoon it on the top with a large spoon. Take a fork and fluff the top of the potato, the marks you make with the fork will become nicely browned when it’s cooked and browned under the grill.
  13. Top with a good hard English cheese grated on the top – Paul used Berkswell cheese.
  14. Bake in the oven at 180C for half an hour and then finish under the grill so the top’s browned.
  15. Grate just a little bit of cheese on top to serve.

Queen Mother’s Kipper Recipe

Paul Ainsworth created a kipper recipe, which was served on top of a crusty piece of sour dough.  I wasn’t really watching too closely as I’m not a kipper fan, but it went like this:

  1. He used brined and smoked Manx kippers.
  2. Take some leeks, cut finely and sweated in butter with a little seasoning. No water.
  3. Slice an onion nice and thin and salt it – that removes some of the water.
  4. Dressing: splash of balsamic dressing, whisk in some oil in a ratio of 2 parts oil, 1 part
    vinegar. Add a little bit of salt.
  5. Add 1-2 heaped tablespoons of buttered leeks and some raw onion into the dressing and mix together.
  6. Add chopped/fresh parsley. Add a little finely chopped chives, to balance out the leeks.
  7. Add in the kipper and mix it all together.
  8. Serve on a piece of crispy sour dough bread.

Banana Flan

Royal chef Darren McGrady, former personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II,  cooked for Princess Diana and the Princes – this was a recipe that Princess Diana would put onto the menu when the boys were coming back home from school.

He first made it at Buckingham Palace for the Queen, after that it was popular with Prince William and Prince Harry, who would eat this often.

  1. Pastry: use a food processor to combine flour, sugar, chilled butter and a little bit of vanilla. Don’t overmix it.  Then add an egg and give it another mix.  The pastry comes together in the processor.   Remove it and put into the refrigerator for an hour if it’s a bit soft.
  2. Roll out the pastry and line a flan dish.
  3. Put the flan dish onto a baking tray and blind bake it: parchment paper into the bottom then put a weight into it, rice or ceramic beans at 180C for 15 minutes.
  4. Cream filling: eggs, 5 yolks and 1 whole egg. Add sugar, cornflour, a little vanilla and a pinch of salt. Bring that all together.
  5. Boil milk and cream – pour boiling milk and cream into the bowl, then put it back into the saucepan and whisk that up until the custard’s set.
  6. Put the cream into a bowl, cover tightly with parchment paper so a skin doesn’t form – and put this into the fridge to cool down.
  7. Remove the baking beans and parchment paper and put the pastry back in the oven for 5 minutes.
  8. Slice the bananas into rounds.
  9. Apricot jam – heat until it softens, to make it easier to spread
  10. Stir the cold custard and pour it into the pastry dish – spread evenly.
  11. Slice bananas on top of the custard.
  12. Brush the apricot jam over the bananas.
  13. Serve cold.

Mildred’s Swiss Roll

Paul Ainsworth didn’t stick entirely to Mildred’s recipe, but baked his own variation of a Swiss Roll that had rhubarb jam in it, not strawberry.

  1. Using eggs and sugar, whisk them up using a stand mixer until thick and fluffy
  2. Add breadcrumbs. (Instead of flour).
  3. Turn up the mixer speed.
  4. Turn out the mixture into a shallow swiss roll baking tray lined with parchment paper – leave no air holes, go right into the corners. Give the tray a tap – you don’t want air in it at all.
  5. Into the oven to bake for 10 minutes at 200C
  6. Sprinkle sugar all over a damp tea towel – this sugar will end up on the outside of the Swiss Roll, so make it generous and without gaps.
  7. Tip the Swiss roll sponge over, upside down, onto the sugar – as the sponge is warm the sugar will stick to the sponge that you’ve just removed from the oven.
  8. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the sponge while it is warm.
  9. Make the Swiss roll – get a really tight roll. Be careful not to trap the cloth in it.
  10. Once rolled, still with the cloth over it, leave it to set, still wrapped in the cloth until
    it’s cooled. Once it’s cooled down and you remove the cloth it’ll keep the shape.
  11. Pull the sponge open gently and flatten it down. Add a layer of thick custard, the recipe is a standard souffle base recipe. Spread that across the whole sponge, very liberally.
  12. Next, add a layer of Rhubarb jam on top of the cream layer.
  13. Roll it back into a Swiss roll shape again – there will be a mess as it squidges out – clean
    that up after you’ve finished.
  14. Serve!


E&OE. I’ve typed this up as I watched the programme, live, but it gives you an idea of how to make the dishes that many people will be able to work with!