1: This takes a little longer than your normal cottage pie because there are two types of cooked beef to give an extra dimension and texture to the dish, long winded but worth it. Once the pie is made, it will keep in the fridge ready for baking for a day or two.
2: Firstly, dust the diced braising steak in flour and tap off the excess. Fry the braising steak in a frying pan and get a deep colour all over. Drain the steak on some kitchen roll and place into a casserole dish. Add the cinnamon stick and the star anise to the dark ale and pour on the beef. Add the beef stock and bring to the boil. Place the lid on and put into a pre-heated oven at 150°C and braise slowly for 2.5-3 hours until the beef is tender. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. When cooled, remove the cooked steak from the pan with a slotted spoon and place into the fridge until needed. Keep the remaining cooking liquor to one side.
3: In a large casserole pan, pour a layer of cooking oil and heat up over a medium to high heat. Add the minced beef and cook stirring all of the time. You want the mince to brown properly, not go grey, keep it cooking until it looks like the outside of a beef burger. It should be all dry, roasted and crumbly. Drain in a colander to get rid of any fats. Place the pan back on to the heat and add the diced vegetables and cook for 5-8 minutes until they soften.
4: Add the curry powder and stir around make sure the vegetables are completely covered. Add the drained minced beef. Pour on the served braising liquid and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and reduce the stock down until it reaches a nice thick consistency. Season and add a few splashes of Worcester sauce. Leave to cool for 20 minutes.
5: When cooled a little, stir in the chilled braised beef and mix thoroughly but try not to break the beef dice up to much. Transfer this mix into the pie dish or oven proof tray that you are going to serve it in and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
6: Peel and dice the potatoes and cook until soft in some boiling salted water. When cooked, drain in a colander and leave to air dry a little. Meanwhile, heat up the milk and butter together. Put the potato through a potato ricer or hand masher and add the heated milk and butter to form a semi-firm mashed potato. Mix in the English mustard and season with salt and pepper.
7: Take the chilled beef from the fridge and pipe the mash on top or spread it and make little peaks with a fork. Sprinkle the blue cheese on top and dust on the paprika. Place into the fridge until needed. This will keep covered for 2 days.
8: Pre-heat an oven to 180°C and place the cottage pie on to a baking tray and stick it into the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the middle is hot. Remove from the oven and place under a hot grill if needed, just to glaze the blue cheese. Serve immediately with buttered peas!