Shepherd’s Pie

Beef Recipes

Shepherd's Pie
‘The Highland Shepherd’ by Rosa Bonheur

Shepherd’s pie has remained our family favourite for many years due to its classic ingredients, and so I can assure you that should you follow this particular recipe you’ll soon discover exactly why this dish looks unlikely to fall from favour in our household anytime soon, and although the preparation requires at least thirty minutes of your time, the end result looks and tastes sublime.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 Tbsps Olive Oil
400g Minced Beef
Medium Onion (finely chopped)
2 Beef Stock Cubes
2 Garlic Cloves (peeled and grated)
2 Handfuls of Garden Peas
Tbsp Dried Thyme
0.5 Tsp Mustard Powder
Tbsp Dried Oregano
Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Bay Leaf
Tbsp Tomato Purée
Tsp Plain Flour
6-7 Maris Piper Potatoes (peeled)
100g Mature Cheddar Cheese (grated)
Tsp Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
50g Butter
200ml Water

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a 26cm non-stick chef pan, and gently fry the onions and garlic until soft and slightly browned.

2. Add the minced beef and brown slowly while stirring.

3. Add the stock cubes, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée, dried thyme, oregano and salt and pepper, and stir well to mix.

4. Add the peas, chopped tomatoes and water, and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

5. Pre-heat your oven to 160°C

6. Cube and par-boil the potatoes for around 10-15 minutes, and then mash with half of the cheddar and all of the butter.

7. Add flour to thicken the meat sauce, and then pour it into a suitably sized casserole dish.

8. Level the meat sauce with a spoon, and then top it with mashed potato, evenly spreading it across the meat, (you can use a fork to create a nice swirling pattern in the potato) before evenly sprinkling the remaining half of the cheese on top.

9. Bake in centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, placing a baking tray on the shelf below to catch any excess meat sauce that might bubble out during cooking.

10. Remove and let it stand for 5-6 minutes, before serving as required.

Comments
This robust meal goes brilliantly with chopped or sliced carrots and steamed broccoli, while it’s equally delicious with a generous dollop of tomato sauce on the side!

Black Letter Law report: 2018 Carillion collapse

Insight | August 2019

Carillion
‘Le Chantier’ by Maximilien Luce

This is a twenty page report detailing the financial collapse of Carillion plc in 2018, and while this independent report explains much of the background leading up to their downfall, it also includes judicial insight into the rights of those left out of pocket when the hammer finally fell (simply click here to read it).

People v. Bray (1975)

US Criminal Law

People v. Bray
‘Still Life with a Gun’ by Alexi Antonov

Knowledge of a criminal act is unquestionably key to any successful conviction, as was shown here in a case between a previously convicted citizen and an irascible district attorney, whose sole prerogative appeared to stem not from lawful application but sheer bloody-mindedness.

Having been arrested in conjunction with an earlier offence in Kansas 1969, the appellant was later sentenced to probation on grounds that his participation was deemed no greater than a misdemeanour, while a lack of criminal activity prior to his conviction noted a man of reasonable character, and so after relocating to California several years later, he was successful in (i) registering to vote, (ii) gaining employment requiring the use of a handgun, and (iii) the purchase and subsequent registration of such a weapon while disclosing his past without reservation.

A little over three years after establishing his new residency the respondent ordered an investigation of the appellant’s property, during which he cooperated and openly showed the investigators his .22 and .38 pistols, however he was still arrested and charged with felonious possession of a concealable firearm under § 12021 of the California Penal Code.

Following his conviction in the Superior Court of San Diego County, the appellant challenged the judgment in the California Fourth District Court of Appeals on grounds that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that ignorance and mistake of fact were viable defences as per § 4.35 of the California Jury Instructions-Criminal (CALJIC), which read that:

“An act committed or an omission made under an ignorance or mistake of fact which disproves any criminal intent is not a crime. Thus a person is not guilty of a crime if he commits an act or omits to act under an honest and reasonable belief in the existence of certain facts and circumstances which, if true, would make such an act unlawful.”

Whereupon the court referred to People v. Hernandez, in which the California Supreme Court had held that:

“[T]he courts have uniformly failed to satisfactorily explain the nature of the criminal intent present in the mind of one who in good faith believes he has obtained a lawful consent before engaging in the prohibited act.”

Before noting how in People v. Vogel the same court had also held that:

[T]he intent with which the unlawful act was done must be proved as well as the other material facts stated in the indictment; which may be by evidence either direct or indirect, tending to establish the fact, or by inference of law from other facts proved.”

And so in light of the obvious judicial oversight, the court sustained the motion that when adjudged as no more than a past minor offender, the appellant had therefore lawfully obtained and exercised his rights when possessing the very items relied upon to convict him, whereupon the previous judgment was reversed in full, while the court reminded the respondents that:

“[K]nowledge that one is a felon becomes relevant where there is a doubt the defendant knew he had committed a felony.”

Mushroom Risotto

Recipes

Mushroom Risotto
‘Mushrooms’ by Albert Kechyan

More a labour of love than a quick meal, risotto is simple in design, and yet without the requisite constant attention you can bargain that it will almost certainly fail to evolve into the silky, almost perfect dining experience it offers, while this recipe exemplifies how just one simple ingredient can lift a risotto to almost heavenly standards, which means you absolutely owe it to yourself to prepare and cook this beautiful meal and share with those you really care about and love in the knowledge that your gesture will not go unnoticed.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

6 Tbsps Olive Oil
150g Butter
250g Mushrooms (sliced)
Medium Red Onion (finely chopped)
3 Garlic Cloves (peeled and grated)
300g Risotto Rice
1 Litre Chicken Stock
Small Bottle of White Wine
2 Tbsps Lemon Juice
25g Pack of Fresh Basil (finely chopped)
150g Parmesan (grated)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

How to Cook

1. Heat half of the olive oil in a 26cm non-stick chef pan, add the mushrooms, stir-fry them until well cooked, and then remove and set them aside, adding any remaining mushroom liquid to the chicken stock.

2. Melt half of the butter in the same pan, add the onions and garlic, and stir-fry both until the onions are soft, but not browned.

3. Meanwhile, add the chicken stock to an 18cm non-stick saucepan, and keep it warm on a low heat while you prep the risotto.

4. Add the white wine to the onions, and reduce by half over a medium heat while stirring.

5. Add the risotto rice to the onions, stir well to coat everything, and add a ladleful of the stock, stirring constantly until the stock has been absorbed by the rice.

6. Continue this process until all of the stock has been added, and the rice is now looking thick and glutenous

7. Gently fold the mushrooms, remaining butter, chopped basil, lemon juice and most of the parmesan into the rice, season with salt and pepper, stirring well to combine the ingredients.

8. Finally cover the pan, turn off the heat, and allow it to sit for 5-6 minutes, before serving as required with a sprinkling of parmesan on each portion.

Comments
When I cook this (and many other types of risotto) for my family, I typically serve it with either a crisp salad, crusty buttered rolls, or both if the appetite is wanting, however it’s just as good served as is, with a nice bottle of white wine to suit your palate.

Norton v. U.S. (1932)

US Criminal Law

Norton
‘Clark Gable’ by Mary Bassett

While intention to defraud and deceive are crucial to a lawful conviction, when the evidence shows there was no plausible theory upon which to establish a victim the courts simply cannot pass judgment, as was shown in this case between the alleged lover of a well-known Hollywood film star and those bent on convicting her.

Sometime in 1937 the appellant was indicted before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on charges of mail fraud as per 18 U.S.C.A. § 338, which reads in relevant part that:

“Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises….places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service….shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

While the charge itself was reliant upon the fact that the appellant had organised and attempted to effectuate a letter-based scheme whereby she claimed to have given birth to a daughter in years following a romantic liaison with actor Clark Gable in England some fifteen years prior to the hearing, and so following her subsequent conviction, she appealed against the judgment on grounds that the allegations were in fact, false.

Heard in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court quickly established that although the letter sent was one containing very personal statements and terms of endearment toward the actor, there was no historical evidence that the intended victim had even been in the United Kingdom at the time alleged, and so in the first instance the court referred to Donnelly v. U.S. in which the U.S. Supreme Court had held that:

“[O]ne may not be punished for crime against the United States unless the facts shown plainly and unmistakably constitute an offense within the meaning of an act of Congress.”

While also noting that in Fasulo v. U.S. the Court had again held that:

There are no constructive offenses; and, before one can be punished, it must be shown that his case is plainly within the statute.”

And so on this occasion the court noted that although the allegations suggested a purposeful attempt to defraud and thereby obtain money from the actor, the appellant was cognisant of the futility of such a plan when at the time of writing the letter, she knew that neither one of them had physically met, never mind engaged in any form of relationship, and so with no means upon which to properly convict, the court reversed the previous judgment in full, while reminding the litigants that:

“There can be no intent to deceive where it is known to the party making the representations that no deception can result.” 

Mayes v. People (1883)

US Criminal Law

Mayes
‘Still Life Beer’ by Neil Carroll

Death resulting from a reckless act is on most occasions deemed manslaughter, however with overwhelming evidence of wilful intent, the court cannot simply accept anything less than a charge of murder, as was explained in this case between the convicting State and the subjective argument of a clearly mentally distressed man.

The nature of this 1883 matter rests upon the testimony of both a grandmother and the defendant in error’s young daughter, who at the time of the offence witnessed their father return home from a nearby saloon in a drunken state, while obviously angry for reasons left unknown to the court.

Having entered the family home around 9pm, the defendant in error proceeded to request arsenic while explaining that either himself or the deceased needed to die, upon which the deceased made a number of strategic attempts to placate his temper and settle his mind.

After his refusing to eat food or engage with those around him, the defendant in error later sat alone and continued to make demands upon his wife and daughter, until for no sound reason he threw a tin of food at his daughter, who ran for safety as the deceased quickly followed with a gas lamp in hand, at which point the defendant in error forcefully threw a heavy beer glass at his wife, and upon which the glass struck the lamp and caused the ignited oil to spill all over her clothing.

Seemingly unwilling to assist the deceased, the defendant in error watched as she was engulfed in flames and suffered five major burns to her head, neck, legs and body, all of which led to her death some five days later, and so indicted in the Circuit Court of Jersey County the jury convicted the defendant in error of murder, whereupon he appealed the decision under writ of error in the Illinois Supreme Court.

Here the court first referred to § 140 of the Illinois Revised Statutes, which read that:

“Malice shall be implied when no considerable provocation appears, or when all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart.” 

And then to Francis Wharton’s ‘A Treatise on the Law of Homicide in the United States’, in which p. 45 read that:  

“When an action, unlawful in itself, is done with deliberation, and with intention of mischief or great bodily harm to particulars, or of mischief indiscriminately, fall where it may, and death ensue, against or beside the original intention of the party, it will be murder.”

While the defendant in error continued to explain that he was simply attempting to dispose of the glass through an open rear door, a statement which was reasoned away by the two witnesses, who confirmed that the door was in fact closed at all times that evening. 

Thus with no reason to accept the alcohol-hazed recollection of a man claiming to have felt no ill-will toward the deceased, the court instead noted that had there been no aggression behind the act then the verdict would have likely been in doubt, however it was patently clear that harm was intended when assessing the impact of the glass upon the lamp, and so with little hesitation the court upheld the previous judgment while reminding those present that:

“Malice is an indispensable element to the crime of murder.” 

Nearly there…

United States Law: A Case Study Collection

Final update
‘Are we nearly there’ by Maureen Sherman

As I am now in the preparatory stages of this frankly amazing book, I thought it wise to share with you the work ahead, as for many of you that have never written nor self-published a book before, this kind of information is very useful should you ever decide to ‘take the bull’ by the horns so to speak.

As with any body of work there is a need to edit, proof-read, and index so as to allow future readers the opportunity to navigate the final product as they see fit, and so when reflecting upon how long it took me to finalise ‘The Case Law Compendium’, memory suggests that it took perhaps 1-2 weeks of work, and even then there were noticeable errors once committed to print.

By way of comparison, I have calculated that when working between 7-8 hours per day (without undue interruption), it will take me a little over two months to bring this title to fruition, which as you can imagine is substantially more than my last serious project, however this time around I feel beyond happy inside, and although there are no guarantees that anybody will ever want to buy a copy, I am unashamed to say that I have given all of myself into its writing, and that I have relished absolutely every second of the journey too.

On top of that, my mind and conversely my knowledge of law, is now way beyond anything I could of ever imagined when all of this started, and so if there’s anything that would make me even happier, it would be to have the chance to promote this book across the United States of America (a dream I know), and also to know that thousands of law students and law scholars will draw tremendous benefit from having read it, while to establish myself as a credible legal consultant either here or overseas would simply be the icing on the cake (unless someone out there is willing to help me become a US lawyer, in which case I would probably cry and then pass out).

And so with all of the above now put to electronic ink, I think it’s time for me to get back to work, and look forward to the day when this, my biggest project ever, gets to see the light of day, and hopefully catch the eyes of those seeking legal knowledge in a way never before delivered…so until then please just watch this space and thanks for reading.