Frugal February- Spicy Sausages and Polenta

DSC00581

I was really pleased with how these turned out. We have had a packet of polenta sitting in our larder for months, and I had never really registered that it was there…simply because I have never before cooked with polenta and very rarely eat it. This ended up being  a delicious, simple supper. Perfect for a cold wintry Sunday evening.

From the larder

One packet of polenta or cornmeal

I jar of spicy tomato pasta sauce

From the freezer

1 packet (6-8) vegetarian sausages or other sausages of choice

From other parts of the kitchen

Butter-lots

freshly diced bell pepper

1medium sliced onion

1 stick celery sliced

Score

10/10

I placed the diced vegetables in an oven prof dish then laid the sausages on top of them. I poured in the jarred sauce then cooked at 200 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes.

I then cooked the polenta according to the packet instructions…. about 1part polenta to 3parts water and simmered until tender. I used quite a bit of salt and a good knob of butter right at the end which lifted the taste considerably. When the polenta was at the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes it was ready.

Dinner is served!

DSC00580

 

 

Advertisements

Fiakergulasch- Viennese Cab-Driver’s Stew

P1080040

A rare departure from our predominately vegetarian diet. Husband-Gusto offered to cook a nostalgic favourite at the weekend. The weather has turned wintry again and it is cold, windy and wet. Fiakergulasch was a favourite meal back in the days before Baby-Gusto was born and we tried to spend a few days in Vienna before Christmas each year. Glorious Vienna.  The Christmas lights, the Christmas markets. The gluh-wein and the rum-punch. Hot roasted chestnuts.  I believe the word ‘Fiaker’ is the word for the horse-drawn hackney cabs that have operated in Vienna since the 1600s and Fiakergulasch is a dish reputedly beloved of their drivers. Whatever the reason behind the name, this is a delicious stew. Perfect with a glass of red or a very great deal of beer. The stew is traditionally served with a fried egg,pickled gherkins and a frankfurter.

Ingredients

1 kg diced beef

1 kg onions thinly sliced

1crushed garlic clove

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1tablespoon white vinegar

4 cups hot beef stock

2 level teaspoons mixed herbs

1 teaspoon ground caraway

1 heaped tablespoon tomato paste

1 egg per person

1 frankfurter per person

1-2 pickled gherkins or cucumbers perperson

Cook onions in the olive oil on the hob. Add paprika, vinegar and beef stock. Add beef and herbs. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 90 minutes.Keep checking that the stock is not boiling off, add more if you need.  After 90 minutes, uncover, add tomato paste and simmer on a very low heat for another 20 minutes or so. Add salt pepper to taste.

Serve topped by the fried egg with the gherkin and cooked frankfurter on the side. Boiled potato dumplings round off this meal beautifully.

Super(ish) Sandwiches- Wraps with grilled tofu sausage, dijon mustard, pickled cucumber and lettuce

P1070348 I have had these in my mind for ages, as I love all these ingredients. It was, well, a bit meh.

tasty rating – 6/10

healthy rating – 6/10 (no cholesterol at least)

Husband-Gusto’s personal rating – ‘let’s not try that again’.

Random picture of boats in Cowes for the Round the Island race

P1070339

Husband-Gusto’s Bean and Chorizo Soup

P1060981

It seems everywhere we have looked lately bean and chorizo soup has been on the menu. Passing a pub on the way to Ventnor this week it was on the specials board. We turned on the television and it was on one of those cooking shows. I was reading the mumsnet forum and someone was talking about a great bean and chorizo soup her husband had made. Finally, in a discussion on emptying the freezer in a bid to turn it off and consign it to the garage, H-G uncovered a frozen, long-forgotten chorizo that had been bought sometime in the summer, so we finally took notice of what the universe was clearly telling us (although why the universe would witter about soup is beyond me) and H-G made cannellini bean and chorizo soup.

Ingredients

4 large onions – finely diced

3 cloves garlic – crushed

300 gms Chorizo sausage – spicy – as much as you have or want, cut into chunks

6 sticks celery – sliced into chunks (‘chunked’?)

6 carrots – chunked

750 grams dried cannellini beans

Oregano – 3 teaspoons

Water – – lots and lots – 2 lites

Zest of 1 orange

H-G used dried beans as we have masses of them. But this would be fine using tinned of course- and easier. But if using dried, put in a saucepan, fill with cold water and bring to just under a boil. Then take off the heat and leave for 24 hours.

— 24 hours later —–

Pour off the bean water and rinse thoroughly. Then cover with water and boil until cooked but not mushy. If using a pressure cooker, this takes about 8 minutes. Using a saucepan takes – 30-45 minutes maybe? (Keep testing)

Chop all the vegetables.

Add onion and garlic to a pan with some olive oil and sautee. When the onion starts to go clear, add the chorizo… the oils will start to come out, which makes the soup even more delicious. Add 2 litres of water, beans, vegetables, orange zest and simmer until carrots are cooked through. After this, take out about a third of the soup and liquidise it before returning to the saucepan. This makes it creamy.  The addition of orange zest seems weird, but it adds just ‘something’ to the taste.

Husband-Gusto cooks in bulk. So this soup was better the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that.

 

Baby Gusto’s Sausage Casserole.

babies,crawling,pacifiers,toddlers,web animations,web elements,sucking,people

I was a brilliant parent before I had children. No child of mine was ever going to use a dummy. Nor would they have a temper tantrum in the middle of the supermarket. Or eat fish fingers. And never, EVER would I resort to hiding vegetables in their food.

Not ever.

B-G- being now a true toddler has the dummy (still), has been known to throw the odd tantrum (first time it happened I actually dialled for an ambulance as I thought he was having a fit…) and he eats fish fingers with his daddy every friday night. The not hiding vegetables was my final stand against me being super mum and reality setting in.

B-G is not at all a fussy eater, thank heavens. He will try most things, and sometimes amazes us with what he adores. (Watching him eat king prawn cocktail with coriander and lemon at Christmas time was a delight). He has, however, decided that with the exception of cucumbers and peas, that he does not like chunky vegetables. And so, today when I made him a sausage casserole I threw all sorts of yummy things in it, such as cauliflower and pumpkin which I then pureed into a tantalising red mush before adding sausages, which he WILL eat in chunks.

Ingredients

6 large pork sausages

2 sticks celery

1 large onion

2 carrots

1/2 small cauliflower

1 butternut pumpkin diced small

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 knorr chicken stock jelly pot thing

1/2 litre water

Olive oil and butter

sautee all the veg in the olive oil and butter. Add the stock, water and tomatoes. Simmer. When cooked through, blend into a pleasing thick puree.

Chop sausages into good sized chunks and brown in a pan. Add to puree and cook until sausages cooked through. Serve with mashed potato.

Picture

Meals on Repeat – Jen’s Toad in the Hole

In honour of Halloween, tonight’s meal was supposed to be roasted pumpkin, spinach and cashew nut risotto.

However, that plan quickly changed when I went to fetch ice for our G&T’s and discovered that the freezer (the door of which never seals properly) had been left ajar at some point and the contents were merrily defrosting. So, eating out of the freezer, I dragged out herby sausages and decided to make Toad in the Hole, with green beans, onion gravy and pumpkin mash.

The pumpkin has sadly been bred for looks rather than taste and was a little bland. So I added lots of butter, and added a grating of nutmeg, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of allspice.

Tomorrow I may try a proper pumpkin pie.

http://jensfoodandphotos.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/toad-in-hole.html

Toad in the Hole

I have never dared to cook Toad in the Hole as it always looked so complicated. How to make plump sausages nestle so cosily in batter like that? Surely my batter would burn, or sink, or otherwise do something strange and we would be left with a stodgy, glutinous mess and H-G would reach for the takeaway menu drawer and would call the local Indian.

Then Jen from Jen’s Place posted an ‘easy peasy’ Toad in the Hole recipe, and the simple ingredients and the straightforward instructions made me think ‘I could do that!’ So, last night I did.

I was so delighted with the results. The process was indeed easy peasy and the batter was so light and fluffy. I kept bubbling over all through our meal with each bite. H-G loves Toad in the Hole, and loved this one, so this is now going to be a regular. We had it with cheesy broccoli, sweetcorn and lots of English mustard. Next time we will try it with onion gravy as Jen recommends.

Jen’s Toad in the Hole recipe can be found here;

http://jensfoodandphotos.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/toad-in-hole.html