Black pudding and sausage pasta

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A GREAT AND RICH TAKE ON SUGO DI SALSICCE 

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This is a richly satisfying, luxurious pasta dish and a great way to eat the mighty black pudding. I adore the stuff. It goes well with the pasta and the sausages and looks velvety dark on the plate. Be bold and brave – give it a go as soon as possible!

You will be glad you did!

FOR 4

2 tbsps Olive oil
4 Italian fresh pork sausages, meat removed from skins and crumbled (if you can’t get them easily – just use good quality pork sausages)
100 gm of a good black pudding sliced
1 small  onion peeled and chopped.
Good pinch of dried red chillies
2 bay leaves
Small handful of fresh rosemary or tbsp of dried
Half a glass of red wine
500 gm passata
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500 gm rigatoni

Parmesan to serve

Method

Heat the oil in a large pan, and fry the sausage meat, stirring and breaking up the pieces.
After the juice from the meat has evaporated and the fat begins to run, add the onion, garlic, chilli, rosemary bay leaves and a little grind of sea salt and black pepper.

Cook gently for almost 30 mins until the onions are browning. Add the black pudding. Stir for about five minutes to let the black pudding cook and crumble slightly with the sausage mixture.

Pour in the wine, increase the heat and cook until the wine evaporates. Now add the passata, lower the heat, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.

Cook the pasta and  drain well. Add the pasta back to its pan and stir in the sauce mix then serve to a hushed reverence!

Love your leftovers!

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Sausage and Spud Chilli

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Lent is here – so something fishy will be going on tonight – last few days have been about decluttering cupboards and fridges – trying to use up left overs in all ways possible. I love making meals from odds and sods – this one almost made itself.

I had 4 sausages left – so skinned them, pan fried them lightly in  little olive oil, crumbling them as they went, with the one red chilli I had lingering in the larder, plus a little cumin and a dash of sea salt and black pepper. I had a bowl of boiled new potatoes left over from a day or two before so they all got diced and thrown in, along with the last of the shallots finely chopped and a small bunch of coriander, chopped, that had been hiding on the window sill.

A good stir – I left it for 15 minutes on a medium heat stirring now and then – then I added 2 cans of chopped tomatoes, a little smidgen of tomato sauce and stirred it once more. I then left it on a low heat for about 30 minutes. 

I had a baguette left over from the day before, so that got sliced – I put a splash of olive oil in a frying pan with some crushed garlic and pan fried the slices until golden – drained them on kitchen paper – served the chilli in bowls with the croutons on top.

Simple, cheap, tremendously tasty….and no more leftovers!

A Winter Warmer of a Supper…tagliatelle with leeks and sausages

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A simple yet luxuriant dish to greet your family with on a Jack Frost nipping night.

Try and get hold of the best pork sausages you can – preferably Italian, if not, choose ones with a high meat content.

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For 4

6 sausages

50 gm salted butter

4 tbsps olive oil

1 leek, cut in half lengthways, sliced and rinsed

A small handful of fresh thyme leaves or a good level tbsp of dried

200 gm chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thinly

100 ml dry white wine

200 mll double cream

500 gm tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta

A good handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

Skin the sausages and place in a bowl. Add the thyme, and a little salt and a good grind of black pepper. Melt the butter in a  large frying pan – I used a sauté pan. Fry the sausage meat and the leek for 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring and breaking up the sausage meat. Try to crumble the meat as it cooks and browns.

Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5minutes. Pour in the wine and cook for another minute before pouring in the cream, stirring and cook for 2 minutes on a low heat now.

Set to one side away from the heat. 

Cook your pasta. Drain and tip back into the same pan. Pour over the creamy sausage meat mixture and the parsley and stir everything together well.

I promise you – this is a dish your friends and loved ones will want you to do again and again. I loved making it – another brilliant recipe from Gino D’Acampo. Grazie!

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Risotto with Swiss Chard and Italian Sausages…

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When judgment day comes and someone high up in the angelic ranks is weighing everything in the balance, risotto will be marked down as one of the dishes that mankind got right. It is almost fool-proof….as long as you are patient soul. It rewards you with one of the most flavoursome, fulfilling dished that has ever hit a plate-anywhere!

This was lunch today. It was a joy to make and a pleasure to consume. It hit every spot that Eros has thought about.

You may have worked out by now that I am navigating my way through a marvellous book by the wonderful Gino D’acampo and this is my take on his risotto al radicchio rosso e salsiccia. I was fresh out of radicchio but I substituted some sumptuous red swiss chard that was passing the time of day in my fridge. It was a great substitute.

For 4

2 tbsps olive oil

6 Italian sausages or ant really good bangers, skins removed

1 onion finely chopped

2 celery sticks finely chopped

400 gm arborio rice

100 ml white wine

1 litre of chicken stock

150 gm frozen peas

4 leaves of swiss chard finely sliced – or half a head of radicchio – in fact if you were struggling, a bag of spinach would do

125 gm butter

80 grams of grated Parmesan

Black pepper

1. Heat the olive oil and 25 gm of butter in a large sauté pan on a high heat and add the sausage. Fry until golden brown, breaking it up along the way with a wooden spoon. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with kitchen paper and keep warm.

2. In the same pan, add the onion and celery and fry gently for 2 minutes. Add the rice and allow to toast in the pan for 3 minutes. Stir continuously and then pour in the wine. Continue to cook for a further minute.

3. Add 2 ladles of the hot stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Continue doing this for about 15 minutes – adding a ladle of stock, stirring continuously each time until it has been absorbed. It will be ready when all the stock apart from a ladleful has been absorbed and the rice is al dente.

4. Add the peas and chard, or whatever you are using, and add a final ladle of stock – remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and the Parmesan. Once the butter has melted, add three quarters of the cooked sausage and stir in. 

5. Serve straight away on plates and add a little drizzle of olive oil to each and a smattering of black pepper.

 A winner of a dish for a Sunday…indeed any day.

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Fabulous Courgette Pasta Recipe

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Courgette & chorizo pasta a la crema...

Courgette and Chorizo Pasta A La Crema…

This was a swift store cupboard special supper and one of the tastiest of the last week. I wanted to adapt my usual lardon and courgette pasta…and the simple answer was replace the lardons with cubed chorizo. The result was a sublime cocktail of flavours that slipped down and satisfied.

Do this. It is going to make your week.

100 gm of cubed chorizo
One courgette cubed
50ml single cream
Small bunch of coriander chopped
Pasta
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

In a splash of olive oil heated for a minute, add the courgette and pan fry until starting to just brown, then add the chorizo and continue frying gently whilst you cook the pasta.

Just before you drain the pasta, add the cream and a grind of sea salt and black pepper. Then add the chopped coriander.

Serve on the hot pasta.

Quick, sensuous and delectable. It’s what suppers should be.

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For another exciting twist on the courgette recipe try this one from Nigel Slater

Merguez with a 5 bean spicy sauce…

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Merguez with a 5 bean spicy sauce...

Merguez is a vibrant, spiced lamb sausage of North African origin, adopted by the French who make so many wonderful variations of it. Ingredients, apart from the lamb ( it was originally mutton) are usually cumin, and either chilli pepper or harissa (which give the sausage its warm red colour) and garlic and sometimes fennel. Normally I have to wait to cross the channel to indulge my love of these beauties… but hey…those lovely folk at Parsonage Farm in Upton, Hampshire (see their website) now make their own! And they are really,  seriously good!

Last night I wanted something quick and tasty and the merguez were in my sights. They needed a
zingy back drop to allow their flavours to come through. I must have been in cowboy mode – I felt like creating a supper dish redolent of camp fires, coyotes howling, and gunslingers nestling down under a tree to hum songs of life on the dusty trail….ok…maybe a bit much….

I had to rely on what was in my store cupboard – no shopping had been done due to a busy, busy day. So, into a hot frying pan I added a splash of olive oil which I heated. I chopped 6 baby new potatoes into cubes, added them to the pan with a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes, a chopped clove of garlic and a teaspoon of cumin seeds. I left this to sizzle on a low heat for 15 minutes, then added a chopped red pepper and left it for another 10 minutes on a medium heat. By now the spuds were looking nice and light gold so I pushed the mixture to one side and added the merguez to the pan. I let them cook for about 10 to 12 minutes turning all the time on a medium heat. The beauty of this was that the fabulous, unctuous redness from the merguez ran into the pan…so when I removed them and put them to one side, I could bring all the other ingredients back into the mix and they were infused with the flavour of the merguez.

I now added a 400 gm can of chopped tomatoes, a hearty dollop of tomato paste (you can use just as happily a dollop of a good quality tomato ketchup) and a can of mixed beans – borlotti, cannellini, red kidney, white haricot and pinto. Just the job for a ranchero!

This all melded together to create a warm, rich sauce as a backdrop to the mouthwatering merguez. I popped the sausages back on top of the sauce to bring to the table – and I served it with some sticky, saffron rice which soaked up the juices just swell ( oh dear…cowboy parlance taking over now!).

As the camp fire faded and the coyotes sang their mournful tune to the moon, I savoured the last lingering flavours of the mighty merguez and sat sipping a glass of shiraz until the doggies retired….well, actually,…… until I had to put the cat out….

Italian style Toad in the Hole

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Italian style Toad in the Hole

I already have the classic toad in the hole recipe on this blog – but last night I had some wonderful Sicilian sausages – and I had parma ham – so I went for an Italian version! I think I first came across this idea from a Nigel Slater cook book – but I cannot remember which one – that is age for you. But it is an easy one to remember. You could, of course, use any good sausage of your choice.

Anyway, the main difference here is that you skin the sausages with surgeon – like care and then wrap each in a slice of parma ham – or you could use serrano or prosciuttto – whatever is in your fridge.

The batter mix was 150 gm of milk, 150 gm of water, 2 eggs, 125 gm plain flour, a tablespoon of good grain mustard and a hint of salt and black pepper. Whisk it all together in a bowl of choice. Let it stand for about 20 minutes. Get an oven roasting tray – add a good slice of lard or beef dripping – or if none of those is to hand – vegetable oil will do. Pop it in an oven at 220c and wait until it gets almost smoking hot. Remove from the oven and pour in the batter mix and then artistically arrange the sausages in the mix. It goes back in the oven for 30 minutes until it is looking puffed up and golden.

I served it with steamed buttered kale and a thick onion gravy. This is a cracking supper dish and the sausages taste remarkable like this.

Not sure what toad is in Italian – hold on while I look it up – ah, ok – rospa. Rospa in the hole….no toad sounds better…Toadini perhaps. La toada?

Nigel Slater and a twist on the humble sausage roll…

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Felt it was time I shared a video of a cook and writer who inspires me constantly. I like the way he presents food, keeps it all simple, and his love for the ingredients oozes from every pore. If you have never read any of his books, you must. Real Food is terrific as are his Kitchen Diaries Volume 1 and 2. His writing is poetic and draws you into his world with ease – you can smell the food wafting off the pages. And here he uses a favourite ingredient of mine – black pudding!!

Morcilla Puttanesca…hot stuff

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Morcilla Puttanesca...hot stuff

Tonight was a time for a store cupboard piece of magic. And it happened. We all fancied something with bite, something with a kick…but the cupboards seemed bare. So…imagination kicked in…ingenuity….and I came up with this dish…which I will definitely make again.

For 4

Half a black pudding
400gm tin chopped tomatoes
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
Pinch of dried chilli seeds
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 red pepper cut into strips
2 slices smoked bacon cut into small pieces
Small bunch of coriander chopped
Mix of borlotti beans, cannellini beans, kidney beans
Olive oil

In a wok, heat the olive oil and add the red pepper and garlic. Fry for about 2 minutes then add the red chilli, chill seeds and the bacon. Fry for a further 4 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans and coriander. Simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce is nice and thick. Pan fry separately the black pudding and then crumble into the sauce.

Serve with steamed saffron rice. This is a winner of a dish. Simple, fragrant, tasty and rich. And cheap too!

My perfect late night snack…

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My perfect late night snack...

Just a quick post as I did not want this one to escape…I popped all this perfection into a pan the other night when I came home late famished and in need of instant sustenance. A little butter and olive oil into the pan and a cored and sliced apple – pan fried for five minutes then I added slices of black gold – black pudding – possibly one of my oldest comfort foods – I was eating this when I was 8 or 9 years old and it still brings back so many good memories of eating with my parents. I am sure this is a dish everyone does now and then – but if not – you must – served on a plate with a dash of dijon mustard it is paradise on a plate.