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Sausage Hotpot With Sweet Potato Mash...

 

Sausage Hot Pot

It has been cold, dark and drizzly here in the UK (no surprises there really!). This type of weather always makes me crave good old fashioned comfort food. Mashed potatoes had been on my mind for sometime and there was a pack of sausages in the fridge. Bangers and Mash – classic comfort food! Somehow though, it just didn’t seem right. I was in the mood for something a little bit different.

Not being sure what to make I decided to visit one of my favourite recipe websites. The BBC GoodFood website is full of great recipes and ideas. It never fails to inspire my cooking and give me direction in the kitchen.

Their recipe for Frying-Pan Sausage Hot Pot is on my favourites list. It really is an easy recipe to make and it tastes delicious. I decided to use this recipe as a base for my own sausage hotpot which would help use up some of the vegetables beginning to languish in my fridge. It also gave me an excuse to make sweet potato mash which is always a treat.

This is a great recipe to play around with so get in the kitchen and have some fun!

Luna Raye’s Sausage Hotpot with Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients

• Drizzle of Olive Oil

• Drizzle of maple syrup OR a teaspoon of soft brown sugar to help caramelize the onions

• 2 small red onions thinly sliced

• 6 plump good-quality sausages (I used English pork and caramelized onion sausages) You can keep the sausages whole but I prefer to cut them into thirds.

• 1/3 of a glass of good red wine

• 175ml vegetable stock (My favourite is Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder)

• 4-6 broccoli spears chopped into halves

• 1 large carrot chopped

• 1 can of cannellini beans

 

For the sweet potato mash

(I like to use a mixture of sweet potatoes and white potatoes for this mash – I find it has a nicer texture)

• 4 small russet potatoes

• 3 large sweet potatoes

• 2 cloves of garlic minced

• Knob of butter (approx ½ Tablespoon)

• Freshly chopped parsley (about 4 Tablespoons)

• Season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

 

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in the pan and add the sliced red onions. Add a pinch of salt and either a drizzle of maple syrup OR a teaspoon of soft brown sugar

2. Cook over a medium heat until the onions are nice and soft. Once soft remove them from the pan and set aside

3. Get your sweet potatoes and russet potatoes on the boil so they will be ready when the hotpot is under the grill

4. Place the pan back on the heat and start cooking the sausages. It’s up to you if you want to keep them whole or cut them into pieces. Just make sure they are thoroughly cooked. Usually 8 – 10 minutes is enough

5. Prepare your grill and turn it to medium / high

6. Add the following to the pan with the cooked sausages:

• red wine

• vegetable stock

• caramelized red onions

• chopped carrot

• broccoli

• drained and rinsed cannellini beans

7. Gently stir and allow the mixture to bubble away for about 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken

8. Remove from the hob and place under the grill

9. Check to make sure your potatoes are done. Drain and place back to the pot with a knob of butter and the minced garlic

10. Mash until smooth. Add salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper and the freshly chopped parsley. Stir everything in well to make sure the mash is seasoned throughout

11. Remove the frying pan from under the grill. The carrots and broccoli should be softened and not overdone

12. Spoon the sweet potato mash onto plates and serve up the bubbling hotpot!

Enjoy!

Easy Peasy Baked Beans...

This is an extremely easy recipe for home made baked beans. You can use chopped up bacon if you like but I preferred using the leftovers from the gammon joint we had the night before. The molasses and barbeque sauce really give these beans a wonderful rich flavour.

They are filling, healthy and delicious. Once you’ve tried these home made beans you won’t want to go back to the tinned ones.

Luna Raye’s Easy Peasy Baked Beans

Ingredients

1 Spanish onion

Drizzle of Olive Oil

1 orange or yellow pepper chopped

2 cans Cannellini Beans

4 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons soft brown sugar

4 tablespoons barbecue sauce (make sure to taste as you add it as you may want less or more) – I used a honey smoked sauce for extra flavour

1/2 cup left over gammon joint chopped into bite sized chunks

1 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce

Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Saute the chopped onion and bell pepper in olive oil until just softened

Add the gammon and beans. Gently mix.

Gradually add the molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and barbeque sauce.

Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes

Season with freshly ground pepper

Serves 4 to 6

Great on its own or with a baked potato.

Enjoy!

Easy Peasy Baked Beans

Easy Peasy Baked Beans

A Very Trying Week But We’re Finally Feline Fine...

The past 10 days has been a very trying time for my husband and I. We noticed our beloved moggy Nutmeg was drinking much more water then usual. We also thought she was sleeping more then normal and wasn’t her usual busy body self.

I took her to the Vets where they did some tests and after a few days it was confirmed that she has diabetes. Over the next few days I brought her back for more tests and to be shown how to inject her with insulin. At this point I want to give a big shout out to the wonderful veterinarian who has made time for all my many questions, who has helped ease my worries and anxieties and who patiently showed me how to handle the medication. The vet visits are only just beginning as we need to get her stabilized but after 2 days on insulin she is already showing huge improvements.

Diabetes has affected many members of my family so although I wasn’t overly thrilled with the news about Nutmeg, I did take some comfort in the fact that it is something I know a bit about. I won’t lie and say that I didn’t cry or have moments of complete despair and fear, but once I calmed down and spoke to my mom and sister (who by the way has been successfully managing her diabetes for over 30 years), I felt much more positive. There are many great websites with lots of information on the subject of feline diabetes as well as supportive forums where you can go when it all gets a bit too overwhelming. At this point I would also like to thank the lovely Jules who has been working with me on this site, as soon as she heard about Nutmeg she sent me the following link to this very helpful website. Another site I found has a great forum and I have been getting some good pointers there.

It is still early days with Nutmeg but I am feeling much more hopeful about things. She is such a special little girl and we immediately fell in love with her the moment our local Cats Protection League brought her into our lives. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Universe for sending her our way. If you notice your animal companion acting strangely then please don’t wait – go the vets immediately.

Things to look out for are:

• Excessive thirst.
• Excessive urination. They may urinate outside of their litter box.
• Weight loss. Going off their food.
• Extreme lethargy.
• Eating more than normal.
• Any behaviour that seems out of character.

Well during this time I must confess that cooking and eating were not really top of my list of priorities. This was a mistake as by not eating properly I wasn’t able to handle stress effectively. I know that in order to properly care for Nutmeg I need to properly look after myself. Tonight was the first night we actually felt like eating a meal. We hadn’t been shopping for ages so the cupboards and fridge were pretty barren.

Fortunately we had some turkey mince in the freezer which I defrosted. I then put it in a pot with a few other ingredients I found and made a very warming and comforting chilli. In honour of everything we have been through these past few days I have called this recipe Luna’s Finally Feline Fine Chilli. So here it is:

Luna’s Finally Feline Fine Chilli

Ingredients

1 package of turkey mince (500 grams)
½ Spanish onion chopped finely
1 drizzle of maple syrup.
2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
4 cloves of garlic.
1 pinch of salt.
½ teaspoon of oregano.
½ teaspoon of thyme.
½ teaspoon of chilli flakes.
1 pinch of Nutmeg (the spice not the moggy!)
1 ½ cups of vegetable stock.
1 can organic plum tomatoes.
1 can organic cannellini beans, rinsed.
Parmesan cheese.

Directions

Sautee the chopped up onion in olive oil and maple syrup, until soft and translucent.

Add the turkey mince and mix in with the onions until the mince is completely cooked.

Add the garlic. You can mince the cloves but I like to chop them in chunkier pieces. You also don’t have to use as many cloves but as we were feeling run down we thought we would give ourselves a boost of garlic power!

Once garlic is mixed in add the herbs, salt and pinch of nutmeg. Mix well.

Add the vegetable stock and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes.

Then add the can of tomatoes and mix in well, adding the beans at the end.

Allow everything to simmer and stir occasionally. I let mine bubble away for 45 minutes.

Grate some parmesan cheese over top.

Serve with steamed rice or crusty bread and enjoy!

Luna's Finally Feline Fine Chilli

Luna's Finally Feline Fine Chilli

A little pinch of Nutmeg.

I also just wanted to say that if you are considering welcoming an animal companion into your home please do think about adopting from a local shelter.

White Bean and Turkey Chilli....

This is the perfect lunch for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The recipe comes from one of my favourite chefs, Giada De Laurentiis and is a real winter warmer.

Although I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand for her white bean and chicken chilli, I compromised and the results were just as good.

I halved the recipe as I was making this for two, but I still used one whole onion and 4 cloves of garlic.

Instead of chicken I used turkey and substituted savoy cabbage for the swiss chard.

This also gave me an opportunity to use cannellini beans which I have never used before. For my version of the recipe I only used 1 can.

I also made a few changes to the spices as I was missing both fennel seeds and chilli powder. Instead I used;

  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon of dried Oregano
  • 3 teaspoons of Garam Masala

I added salt and pepper to taste and actually forgot to add the red pepper flakes towards the end of cooking, so it wasn’t as hot and spicy as it could have been.

Everything was in the pot and cooked within 20 minutes – then it just simmered away for another 45 minutes before I served it up with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

I will definitely make this again!