Well. What a lovely week we’ve had.
We spent a few days with friends in one of our favourite places: North Wales.
It really felt like a different country this year as, suddenly…shockingly, we saw sunshine for the first time in months. Also, although the roads were clear, the mountains were all completely covered in snow. This meant we had the surreal blend of picnics on the beach with a backdrop of some very alpine looking pointy white hills.
I think those rays of weak spring sun have done us some good though, as we have come home feeling refreshed and ready to face this year head on.
First job was creating some segregation in the garden which will not only allow Ernie to wander outside without being bothered by the beaky ones, but will also allow us to get the garden back on track, the lawn to recover and some vegetables to be planted.
Today Ed built himself another desk, as I am constantly sitting at this new one so he still had nowhere for his laptop. George and I had a game of lawn darts, did some general garden tidying and lay on the tree platform and looked at the sky for a bit. Then Ed and I cracked open a bottle of red and we all sat down to this lovely sausage casserole.
I write the recipe below in the way that we normally make it, although the one in the photo above (the one that I am still licking from my lips) is made without the chorizo and with dried flageolet beans instead of the canned cannellinis. To be honest, using dried beans is a right old faff, the soaking, the changing water, the hard boiling then the 1 hour simmer. Next time we will revert to the version below, as although the firmer texture of the beans is nice, and the ‘price per bean’ is infinitely less; sometimes life is too short for bean soaking.
Oh – and I am sure that you all know how to make a sausage casserole…maybe some of you buy a sausage casserole mix from the supermarket. Who am I to judge? All I know is this is a hearty supper dish that we eat quite a lot.
I like it because you get to eat all the sausages.
Sausage and Bean Casserole
10 sausages (we usually use thin ones)
A handful of chopped chorizo
2 sticks of celery
1 large clove of garlic
1 tin cannellini beans
1 tin plum tomatoes
a pinch of chilli flakes or hot smoked paprika
a stock cube or one of those stock ‘melts’
Seasoning options – salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce, fresh herbs, red wine, sherry
Chop the onion, celery, pepper and carrots into small chunks
In a large pan that has a lid – fry off the chorizo for a few minutes
Add all the vegetables and stir well, then add the sliced garlic clove
Cook them down for 10 minutes whilst you brown the sausages in a frying pan
To the veg pan – add the beans, tomatoes and a can or so of water to make a loose sauce
Add the chilli/paprika to taste and the stock
Add the sausages, cover and simmer for an hour, adding more water if needed
Check the flavour then add any of the seasonings listed above that seem right to you
Cook for 10 minutes more
Leave it to cool a little before you wade in
We eat it with crusty, buttered bread.