(Singapore) – My husband, Vergel, prepared a surprise Mother’s Day party for me this year, and invited some of our closest friends here in Singapore. He cooked 2 dishes from Cook’s Bible as part of his cookbook challenge – Beef Bourguignon and Shepherd’s Pie. As Filipino parties won’t be complete without fish or any seafood course, Vergel added a fusion dish in the menu, Fried Tilapia with Mango Salsa.

Beef Bourguignon is a well known traditional French dish, demonstrating the nature of Burgundy cooking. It contains beef braised in red wine, complemented by bacon, onions and mushrooms. It was Vergel’s first time to make Beef Bourguignon, and as we have all expected, it was as delicious and tasty as how it was presented.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 175 g / 6 oz piece unsmoked bacon, sliced into thin strips
  • 1.3 kg / 3 lb stewing beef, cut into 5 cm / 2 in pieces
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 700 ml / 1 ¼ pints red wine
  • 350-450 ml / 12-16 fl oz beef stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 350 g / 12 oz pickling onions
  • 350 g / 12 oz button mushrooms
  1. Heat the oil in a large, flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the bacon and brown for 2-3 minutes. Remove the slotted spoon. Add the beef in batches to the casserole and cook until browned. Drain and keep with the bacon. Add the carrots and chopped onions to the casserole and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry until just coloured. Return the meat and bacon to the casserole. Sprinkle on the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the wine, enough stock to cover, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 3 hours.
  2. Heat half the butter in a frying pan. Add the pickling onions, cover and cook until softened. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Heat the remaining butter in the frying pan. Add the mushrooms and fry briefly. Remove and keep warm.
  3. Strain the casserole liquid through a sieve into a clean saucepan. Wipe the casserole with kitchen paper and tip in the meat, bacon, mushrooms and onions. Remove the surface fat from the cooking liquid, simmer for 1-2 minutes to reduce, then pour over the meat and vegetables.

Serves 6
Preparation 40 minutes
Cooking 3 ¼ hours

Shepherd’s pie is a traditional English delicacy, and was originally a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind. It contains minced meat cooked with onions, carrots, herbs and tomatoes in gravy, topped with mashed potatoes that melts in your mouth. This is a great comfort food and quite easy to prepare.


  • 700 g fresh lean lamb or beef minced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 225 g carrots, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 200 ml beef stock
  • 200 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 25 g margarine
  • 3-4 tbsp skimmed milk
  • 125 g button mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F Gas Mark 6. Place the lamb or beef mince in a heavy-based saucepan with no extra fat and cook gently until the meat begins to brown.
  2. Add the onions, carrots and garlic and continue to cook gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the plain flour and cook for about 1-2 minutes, then gradually stir in the beef stock and chopped tomatoes and bring to boil.
  3. Add the Worcestershire sauce, seasoning and herbs, cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes, giving an occasional stir.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, then drain thoroughly and mash, beating in the margarine, seasoning and enough milk to give a piping consistency. Place in a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.
  5. Slice the mushrooms, stir into the meat, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Turn into a shallow ovenproof dish.
  6. Pipe the potatoes evenly over the meat. Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until piping hot and the potatoes are golden brown.

Serves 4-5
Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking 1 ¼ hours