Sorry - cottage pie, not shepherd's pie .... it just tends to roll of my tongue (well, on the Internet, rolls off my fingers while typing
So, I ended up making a beef casserole. I chopped the beef into about 2cm cubes, added an onion, garlic and heaps of chopped vegies - sweet potato, potato, carrot and fresh rosemary. Added tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, beef stock, a slosh of red wine and salt & pepper. Soon I'll top with some fluffy, cheesy dumplings and serve with steamed peas and beans fresh from the lovely neighbors garden.
It's so not the weather for a casserole but, meh, time was dictating a quick decision and my kids love a casserole. They also love eating it with those el-cheapo bake-at-home rolls.
Thanks for all the suggestions - and, the friendly debate re: cottage v's shepherd's pie.