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Recipe Shed

#RecipeShed – Sausages, plain and simple.

Sausage time!

Keith’s challenge for this week is sausages.  Have to say I don’t do a lot with sausages.

Yes, we’ve the widget for our Kenwood Chef that lets us make our own (well worth the time and effort for knowing precisely what goes into your sausages – as the old Smith & Jones joke went: “Walls.  Just about the only thing not in them”) and a fantastic recipe book full of interesting sausage mixes.

Yes, we’ll take chunk of chorizo and put it into a chicken Basque (Delia Smith’s Summer Collection, page 130 – so well used that the book falls open on that page and it’s partially transparent from the cooking spatter over the years).  But then a chorizo isn’t what I call real sausage.

Near where I grew up, the little town of Masham has a fantastic butcher’s shop just off the market square.  There you could get sausages made from just about any and every animal imaginable.  These were proper sausages.  Beef, pork, rabbit, unidentified roadkill with sage and onion.  Black pudding featured as an ingredient, as did the fine local ales from both Theakston’s and Black Sheep breweries.  Cooking these sausages was never a challenge.  The challenge was getting the garlic sausages and not having everything in the fridge /house smelling & tasting of garlic for weeks afterwords.

Anyway.  My very simple recipe for sausages:

Allow 3 sausages per person minimum.  There will always be those who will eat more and those who eat less.  It balances out.  Any left-overs can be turned into sandwiches for those when-the-pub-closes munchies or just eaten cold with a good mustard.

Grill until cooked.  This usually requires the sausage to be rotated 3 times, the time between rotations getting successively shorter.

Serve with whatever the hell you like.  Mash and gravy.  Chips and brown sauce.  Honey glaze and a firey mustard.  Whatever goes down well with everyone.  You can’t really go wrong with fresh bread rolls.

And that’s about it for me and proper sausages.  Apart from one winter warmer recipe that’s a real winner in this house.  It’s on page 330 of The River Cottage Family Cookbook and is worth the price of that excellent tome all by itself (well, maybe not quite, but the book is very good).  If you haven’t got a copy, follow this link to the page on Amazon and get one soon as.

River Cottage Family Cookbook cover

And then head over to The Recipe Shed and see what other, more imaginative, souls have done with sausages today.

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Cook-Along Friday Recipe Shed

#RecipeShed – Aunty Molly’s Ginger Biscuits

Keith’s theme for the week, across at the Recipe Shed, is Hand-Me-Down recipes.  Those recipes that have been in the family for generations and generations, handed down in dog-eared recipe books, fought over in the will, smuggled out by taking photographs of grandma’s cook book while the other children distract her, that sort of thing.

I got nothing.  I don’t remember anything of my mum’s mum’s cooking – I assume some of what my mum cooked for me and my brothers over the years must’ve come from there – and the less said about my dad’s mum’s cooking, the better! (“No, grandma.  It’s the knives.  They’re just very blunt.”  It’s not that your steak would double as shoe leather or something to mend a puncture with at all.)

Well, that’s not quite true.  Mum’s recipe for hash is a good one – perfect for those of you with slow cookers or an AGA/Raeburn/insert equivalent make here.  Chuck everything in a big Le Creuset pan, bang on the lid, stick it in the slow oven when you head out for work, get it out when you get home.  Feeds a very large hungry family.  Corned beef works well, so does heart.  That reminds me.  Once defrosted a pair of hearts in the microwave of the house I was sharing in Kent.  Our resident vegetarian almost died!  Not quite as bad as finding the brace of pheasants hung on the back of the kitchen door, but almost.

Anyway, long story short.  I have this.  Aunty Molly’s Ginger Biscuits.  Aunty Molly was one of those not-relatives-but-still-an-aunt types.  Used to live next door to us in Ripon.  These are fast, simple, cheap and the kids love making them.  They’re a great rainy-day recipe.  They don’t hold shapes very well, so they’re not good to use with complicated cutters (no Gruffalo biscuits here, I’m afraid).

You will need…

  • 8oz self raising flour
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 4 oz butter or marge
  • 1 tbs golden syrup
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tbs hot water
Now for the complicated bit – and the reason why the kids like making them.
  1. Mix everything together in a bowl
  2. Grab chunks about the size of a wallnut and shape into balls
  3. Space out on a baking tray
  4. Flatten slightly (make a fist and push down gently)
  5. Bake at 160C for about 20 minutes
Ta and might I add da.  Now the really tricky part is getting everything from step 1 through to step 3.  This is one of those recipes where the dough tastes as good raw as it does cooked.  We usually lose about 1/5th of the mix during step 2 to “quality control”.  You can make it more complicated, adding chunks of crystallized ginger or the preserved-in-sugar stuff but the basic mix is pretty hard to beat.
Now.  Given that it’s raining out there and I happen to know I’ve got plenty of ginger in the cupboard I might just go and whip up a batch.
And while your biscuits are cooking, head over to the Recipe Shed for more ideas.  There’s a rather fine boiled cake from The Kitchen Mechanic that I’m keen to try.
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Cook-Along Friday Recipe Shed

#RecipeShed – Keema Aloo (Mince curry with potatos)

Many years ago, my wife (then we were but boyfriend and girlfriend) took me on a trip to Bradford.  We went to the IMAX theatre and saw a couple of movies then went for a curry in what is, for me, the finest curry house in the land: The Kashmir.  You walk past the posh seating area at street level, round the corner onto a side street, down some stairs into the basement.  Formica tables.  Tin plates.  Very plain, very functional and always very busy for a very good reason:  The food is excellent.  We vowed to repeat the trip.

In there, on the next visit, I had my first keema curry.  Rather than lumps of meat, keema dishes are made from mince.  Whenever I get the chance, I go back there for a keema madras, usually tying it in with a visit to what was then the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television and is now a branch of the Science Museum.  Well worth a visit if you get the chance.  2 Daleks, Morph, the Wombles and much, much more.

Anyway.  Fast forward a few years and I’m on a cookery course.  What do we want to cook next week?  I suggest a keema dish, the teacher agrees. I’ve got to say, it’s a dish that starts out very unpromising in looks and then pulls it all out of the bag near the end.  Here you go.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb lean lamb mince (best if you can make it yourself by taking a good slab of shoulder and trimming away as much of the fat as possible).
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (or paprika if you’re dialling down the heat)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic & ginger paste (equal quantities of garlic and ginger, blitz together in a food processor and add a little vegetable oil.  Keeps for ages so make it up in big batches. You’ll be amazed at how useful it is)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 4 green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Large bunch fresh coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. In a large pan, put the mince, onions, salt, red chilli powder (or paprika), turmeric, cinnamon stick, black cardamom and a large glass of water.
  2. Bring to the boil.  Break up the mince with a wooden spoon to make sure there are no lumps.
  3. Put on the lid, simmer for half an hour.  Stir after 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid, allow the water to evaporate completely.
  5. Add the tomatoes and a half-ladle of vegetable oil.  Start to fry the mince, adding the chillies (if you’re  using them) and the garlic & ginger paste (for some reason my hands want to type “garlic & finger paste”.  Don’t use that.  That would be wrong).  Fry for 15-20 minutes.  Add a little water if it all starts to stick.
  6. Add the potatoes and keep frying gently for 10 minutes.
  7. Put on the lid, reduce heat to minimum and allow the potatoes to cook.  Usually another 10-20 minutes.
  8. Just before serving, sprinkle over the garam masala and the coriander, stir and remove from the heat.  Serve at once with fresh naans or chapatti.
Until you start the frying at step 5, this dish is plain ugly.  One thing I was told on the course I did:  If you’re cooking a meat curry, you want the onion to be invisible.  If you’re cooking a vegetable curry, cut it generous as you want to see it as an ingredient.  So, the finer you chop the onion, the better – I was given a couple of Kyocera ceramic knives for my birthday this year – I now know what finely chopped looks like.  I also know that if the knife is sharp enough you don’t know you’ve cut yourself until the blood is already staining the chopping board.  These knives show no mercy.  They are truly amazing things.
Now.  Head over to the Recipe Shed and see what amazing things others are doing with mince this week.  And if you know of any other good keema recipes, please send them my way.