Sausage, veg & mashed potato bake

 

 

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Crispy mash top

 

I have just come in from being in the garden ( yes, sowing already )!  And even though we had glorious sunshine this morning in Leicestershire, it now has turned somewhat dull, and cloudy with a nip in the air still, due to the changing of seasons.

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Looking “Spring – like” in my garden. That is my rocket that has gone to flower in the background.

 

I’m starting off the week with a recipe that I have made twice now in our household and both times we have gone back for seconds, in fact one house guest actually had thirds!

We had this yesterday for our Sunday dinner as I had currently bought some reduced pork sausages and my leeks were only 21p too, bargain. The first time I made it was on a Friday night when a friend of ours stayed for the weekend. I wouldn’t have normally cooked something like this on a Friday but I’m glad I didn’t do my first choice, which was a fish pie…as it turns out, he wasn’t keen on fish! I was meant to write about it then, but it went down so good that muggins here forgot to take photographs.

This dish is great for a family midweek meal. By all means, if you don’t want the wine in it, take it out. It’s such a frugal recipe that will stretch far for portions and has lots of hidden veg inside too. I have used frozen peas and sweetcorn in this so for families who have the frozen mixture with carrots in also, use that if you like.

What a  great way to make sausage and mash that little bit more special. A real, rustic bake that you will have your family wanting more.

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Not the greatest photo, I admit, but I can assure you, this is comfort at its best.

Ingredients:

( Serves up to 6 people or 4 very generous portions )

  •  1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  •  1 pack of 8 British pork sausages ( not with a lot of herbs )
  •  2 onions sliced
  •  1 leek sliced
  •  A good splash of red wine ( I used a French full bodied ) about 125ml * Optional *
  •  1 tbsp tomato puree
  •  dash of Worcester sauce
  •  1/2 tbsp of Damson jam or any thing such as red current jelly to a similar taste
  •  Fresh herbs ( small sprig of each ) rosemary, thyme and sage
  •  handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn ( defrosted and drained )
  •  1/2 pork stock cube
  •  2 tbsp of chicken gravy or pork ( good quality )
  •  Salt and cracked black pepper to season ( may not need salt )

Mashed potato topping 

  • 8 good sized potatoes ( I use Marfona from a local farm )
  •  2 good knobs of unsalted butter
  •  1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  •  dash of double cream ( 100 ml )
  •  Salt and cracked black pepper to season if needed.

 

Method:

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Pretty self explanatory really…some sausages cut up!

 

  •  Boil your potatoes. Mash with the other ingredients or use a potato ricer like I did, then add in the ingredients.

 

  • Preheat your oven to 180c

 

  • Fry off your sausages until starting to turn golden brown.

 

  • Cut your sausages into 3 and place into your chosen oven proof dish.

 

  • Fry your onion until starting to soften and turn colour. Add in the red wine, tomato puree, Worcester sauce, Jam or jelly, stock and gravy and stir together. Add 300ml of water or until consistency is correct for a thick sauce. Taste to see if you need anything else more.

 

  • Add in your leeks and herbs. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Adding water if need be. Pour the gravy mixture over the sausages.

 

  • Scatter your peas and sweetcorn over. Cover with the mash and fork the top to create lots of crispy bits.

 

  • Pop in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with green veg such as cabbage, Spring greens or broccoli.

 

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Layering up

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That crispy top again. You’ll fight for this corner/ end bits! 

Spring Lamb chops with a wild garlic and herb butter, butterbean mash and a medley of veg:



Spring is underway now, tulips are in full bloom in gardens, birds are busy making nests and the weather is…well not the great today. However we have had some glorious days which means a certain Springtime ingredient is at it’s best now and that is wild garlic. I cannot get enough of this stuff every year and try and conserve it in ways I can enjoy it throughout the year. In this recipe, a butter. Once made and popped into the freezer, you certainly won’t be buying shop-bought Garlic bread anymore thats for sure!

This recipe is a quick way of turning some lamb chops into something a little bit more special using Spring’s seasonal ingredients. 
 The wild garlic butter gives colour and full flavour but still allowing the taste of lamb to come through.
 The butterbean mash gives an alternative to potatoes giving it a lighter feel and also being a little more frugal.
Finally, the medley of veg “ Petit pois a la Francais” is a lovely alternative to do as a side dish for this recipe, fish and chicken.



Here is the recording when I cooked this on BBC Radio Leicester with Ben Jackson showing just how simple, quick yet so effective this recipe can be :- LISTEN HERE




Spring Lamb chops with a wild garlic and herb butter, butterbean mash and a medley of veg:








Ingredients:
(serves 2)

  • 2-3 Spring lamb chops each depending on how big they are
  • 1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt ( I use pink himalayan but any will do ) and cracked black pepper to season

Wild garlic butter:

(Make this before hand and pop into the freezer)

  • A block of unsalted butter
  • a good handful of wild garlic ( if you haven’t got it, use normal garlic )
  • a handful of fresh herbs chopped- flat leaf parsley, basil, I had. You could use Rosemary instead if you wanted to.
  • 1/4-1/2 a lemon zest
  • season if you wish

Butterbean Mash:

  • 1 tin of Butterbeans drained and rinsed
  • a drizzle of rapeseed oil
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season


Medley of Veg:

  • 6-7 lettuce leaves such as romaine, little gem or the innards of a round lettuce
  • a few handfuls of frozen peas ( roughly 150g ) petit pois or garden peas defrosted and drained.
  • 3-4 spring onions or baby leeks cut into 3 including the green ends
  • 1/4 gel pot of chicken stock
  • knob of butter
  • a couple of sprigs of garden mint chopped finely
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season 




Method:

  • Just cover your butterbeans in a saucepan with water, bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • In the meantime oil your lamb…not your pan and heat up your frying pan. Cook your Lamb for about 4 minutes each side for rare, more time for more well done.
  • Drain your butterbeans and crush/mash with a masher only slightly, drizzle with oil and season. Keep warm.

  • Rest your Lamb for about 5 minutes.

  •   Whilst this is resting bring to the boil your stock in 200ml of water and a knob of butter. Also season.

  • Add in your Spring onions and cook for a minute, then add in your lettuce and peas, cover and cook for a further minute.

  • Drain most of the liquid, add in a little more butter. Season if needed more, Pop in your chopped mint and stir.

–  Melt your Wild garlic butter.


–  Everything is now ready to serve.





Festive scallops

At Christmas time, scallops always make their way into my Kitchen. I don’t get chance to eat them very often because of their cost so they become an indulgent treat at Christmas. 
  I have done many starter recipes with scallops so I thought I would share one of my festive ones with you. 

 Scallops are a great starter for Christmas Day or anytime really over the festive period as they are so quick to cook plus they only need a few ingredients alongside as you don’t want to overpower their sweet subtle taste. Personally I find if you buy large scallops, 3 can be ample for each person but thats your choice. 

  This recipe you will be able to knock up in 15 minutes to impress your guests.  A festive, seafood, showstopper that really is simple to do.

My Festive Scallops:




Ingredients:
serves 4
  • 1 tbsp Rapeseed oil
  • a couple of knobs of unsalted butter
  • 12 Large scallops
  • 3 rashers of Smoked bacon trim most of the rind off but leave a little fat to give flavour
  • 150g frozen petit pois defrosted
  • 3 clementines segmented keep the rest for juice later.
  • small handful fresh mint chopped
  • a good splash of Prosecco or fruity sauvignon blanc
Method:
  • Chop your bacon into very small squares. Fry in a hot frying pan for a couple of minutes, just until starting to colour. Pop aside on a plate leaving the fat in the pan.
  • Pop some boiling water into a saucepan and empty in your peas. Boil for no more than 2 minutes as you want to keep their colour. Drain, add a knob of butter and your chopped mint, shake and cover with a lid. Set aside.
  • To cook the scallops, add a knob of butter and a splash of rapeseed oil to the frying pan and heat until hot but allowing not to burn. Place your scallops in the pan and cook for roughly 2 minutes, do not turn until caramelised on each side. Then do the other side.
  • Set your scallops aside onto a warm plate and then add your bacon back into the frying pan, deglaze with your wine and reduce down for about a minute. Add in your clementine segments and a little spritz of the juice. Once reduced to a syrup texture you are ready to plate up. 

*  Place pea mixture onto the plate, top with your scallops and pour over your bacon and clementine syrup.





Smoked mackerel and pea fishcakes with a green bean salsa

I actually did this recipe back in June this year for my column but I thought it would be perfect to share now as a nice meal change in-between all that Christmas shopping.

These fishcakes are a great alternative for a fish Friday supper. The green bean salsa gives it more of a lighter feel but will still fill you up. 

  So I wanted to show you how easy making fishcakes can be, as having no egg and breadcrumbs to this recipe, it takes less time.  Also this version is  healthier than the usual mashed potato used with butter and cream. 
 I have added the peas into the fishcakes as it’s a great way of getting vegetables  into your children’s diet.
  You can use other strong fish in this recipe but I prefer the mackerel and its great for budget shopping. 

   This dish will be a perfect, lighter alternative for you before all that meat is consumed over Christmas. 
    Oh and a little tip from me also…they are great eaten cold the day after. 


Smoked mackerel and pea fishcakes with a green bean salsa:



Ingredients:
Fishcakes
  • 2 tbsp of Rapeseed oil for frying
  • handful of plain flour to dust the fishcakes
  • 4 skinned Fresh Smoked mackerel fillets
  • 2 Spring onions chopped
  • 500g bag of Jersey Royal potatoes or any other New potatoes halved
  • A good Handful of petit pops defrosted and drained
  • fresh flat leaf parsley chopped 
  • A good squeeze of lemon
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season 
Green bean salsa
  • Fine green beans blanched for 3 minutes and halved
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped roughly
  • 1 medium red onion diced finely
  • small handful of baby capers chopped
  • half a 180g tin of sweetcorn drained
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste as above


Method:
  • Boil your potatoes until just starting to break/soften
  • Blanch your green beans for about 3 minutes as they still need a “bite” to them then place into ice cold water
  • When your potatoes are done crush them using a potato masher, leaving them still with chunks and add a little seasoning to them. 
  • Take a bowl, pop in your crushed potatoes, flake in your smoked mackerel but also leave chunky.
  • Add spring onions, peas, lemon and seasoning and mix together with your hands.
  • Start to form in your hand a ball like shape and flatten to form a fishcake. dust in flour and place on a plate.
  • Continue with the rest of the mixture.
*  If you aren’t using them all, you can freeze at this stage.
  • Once all formed, in a frying pan heat a little oil and start to fry. Turning every couple of minutes. Once golden brown after approximately 5-6 minutes, they will be done.
  • Place all fishcakes onto Kitchen paper to drain the oil.
*  Put all your salsa ingredients together in a bowl and serve.






Orzo with bacon, broad beans and peas


I actually wrote this Recipe for my column ” Quick bite” in the Leicester mercury about 6 weeks ago when Broad Beans and peas were at the peak of their season but Ive decided to share this now still as I love this dish and regular make it. 

  Peas are still around at the moment ( August ) and you should still find some Broad beans as they sometimes can go on till September. If for some reason you can’t get them now, Courgettes will be a good substitute.


 Here is what I wrote before:

Broad beans and Peas are in the height of their season at the moment so I wanted to show you a different way of cooking these lovely pulses.
  Broad beans and peas as baby first pickings, like I had, should be enjoyed for their flavour so you shouldn’t by any means over cook them. Im growing both in my kitchen Garden, so if you are too, this is even more fantastic.
  Ive teamed them up in this recipe with Orzo which is a great little pasta shape, sometimes confused for being a grain almost like rice.  I use this quite a lot in cooking as its light, very quick to prepare and most things will go with it. Plus, it’s great to have as a salad the next day for lunch. 
  Ive also teamed these seasonal beauties with some added bacon, one for colour and the saltiness it gives will bounce off the sweetness of the peas.
  I also find that this dish is very refreshing so you won’t feel heavy after it.
  So if you’re unsure of a way to cook broad beans and you’re not quite sure wether you like them, have an abundance of fresh peas or even if you have a packet of orzo in your cupboard gathering dust, do this recipe now.






Orzo with bacon, broad beans and peas:
Ingredients:
(Serves 2 approximately for a light lunch)
  • 3 handfuls of Orzo ( you won’t need a lot, it goes a long way )
  •   2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  •   2 rashers of bacon thinly sliced
  •   2-3 spring onions chopped
  •   8-10 seasonal (British) Broad beans podded (I double podded half )
  •   A good handful of seasonal (British) fresh peas podded
  •   Small amount of Chicken stock (100-150ml) just to taste
  •   Small handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
  •   Pea shoots to finish if you have them and even you can use Broad bean shoots in this too
  •   A good few turns on the pepper mill for some Cracked Black pepper to season
Method:
  • Cook Orzo to packet instructions ( normally only takes 5-6 minutes )
  • Fry off the Bacon for a couple of minutes till its starts to crisp and turn a golden colour.
  • Add your Garlic and Spring onions, cook and stir for about another minute.
  • Pop in your fresh broad beans and peas and cook for a bout a minute or two, not allowing your garlic to burn.
  • Add your chicken stock, stir, reduce down after a minute or two and then add your parsley and seasoning.


*  Make a final stir, taste, add your shoots if you have them, serve and dive in there.