When I was at uni and short on pennies, I often turned to sausages as an easy meal. A couple of quid and you’ve got a versatile meat aspect to your meal. Well, a few meals actually – sausage, egg and beans, sausage and mash, sausage casserole and whatever else you fancy. Easy peasy! So when national sausage week rolled round, it was an opportunity to bring out the old faves, and maybe learn some new tricks in my neverending quest to improve my culinary skills.
I love a food ‘week’, or ‘day’. It’s basically an easy excuse to eat more of something you enjoy. Have you noticed they’re never about boring, mundane foods, but always the fun stuff? There was national curry week recently, and national chocolate week, and now British Sausage Week – another winner.
Sausages may have been my go-to student snack all those years ago, but they don’t have to just be cheap fodder. These days in supermarkets there seem to be as many options of sausages as there are steaks. I was lucky enough to be sent some vouchers to try some Debbie and Andrew’s bangers, who are keen to show people that “premium” snags are the way forward, and it’s worth parting with a few more pennies to get decent sausages. I thought I’d put them to the test.
We tried out the Harrogate 97%, apparently made from 97% pork (the clue’s in the name I guess) shoulder and belly, with balsamic vinegar and seasoning. They’re also wheat, gluten and dairy-free which makes them popular.
So, what to make with these yummy meaty snags? As part of my little aim to get a bit more adventurous in the kitchen, I decided to make a departure from traditional bangers and mash and try something a bit different (well, with a bit of help from Mr M…)
Toad in the Hole
Toad in the Hole isn’t something we have very often, and I’m not really sure why, since we both love sausages and both love Yorkshire pudding. Maybe it’s because there’s only two of us yet we can’t seem to help but make enough for eight when we do something like this so it’s better to steer clear. Who knows.
So, this is Jamie’s Toad in the Hole recipe…
Pinch of salt
- Put the sausages under the grill to part-cook. Remove once they’re lightly browned.
- In the meantime, make your batter by mixing equal quantities of flour, milk and eggs (Jamie used a cup of each). Use a whisk or a blender and mix until smooth, seasoning at the end.
- Pour vegetable oil into a roasting tray and put into the oven on the highest temperature you can. Once hot, take out and pour in the batter. Don’t wait and faff around, the batter should go in as soon as possible while the oil is boiling hot.
- Lay the sausages in the batter equidistant from each other then put the tray back in the oven. Leave it for about 20 minutes and don’t open the door, however tempting it is, because your pudding might sink. When you open the door eventually you should be greeted with a lovely fluffy Yorkshire pudding, dotted with succulent tasty sausages. Unfortunately, I missed this moment with the camera, so you’ll have to imagine the lovely fluffiness.
We served our Toad with steamed greens and broccoli and carrots, and the trademark Manning gravy that I could literally drink by the jug (I’ll give you the recipe one day). The sausages were actually really good, meaty and tasty, with the right amount of seasoning. Sometimes sausages can just disappear into Toad in the Hole, overwhelmed by their rich cocoon of Yorkshire Pudding, but these held their own, with their flavour coming through, even despite the tsunami of gravy that covered them.
Our second sausage meal of the week had to be something quick and easy – the stereotypical weekday meal in our house. Since the weather has been grotty grotty grotty, I decided to go for a nice easy sausage casserole. We used to have this at school years ago – chunks of sausage mixed with beans and tomatoes in a spicy sauce. It’s quick, warming, and tasty. And even I can make it, so that proves it’s easy.
Pack of sausages
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin mixed beans (you can actually use any kind of beans you like), drained
Chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- Fry the sausages until they change colour. Chop into pieces.
- Fry onions and garlic until soft and turning brown.
- Add the tin of tomatoes, the beans and the tomato puree. Stir together.
- Add spices, put the lid on and simmer for a while. Add a bit of extra water if necessary.
- Taste, and adjust seasoning accordingly.
You can serve this with anything you like – mash, rice, bread, whatever takes your fancy. I had a lovely little pumpkin I’d bought around Halloween, having no idea what I was going to do with it, so I chopped it up into pieces, took the seeds out, and roasted in chunks with some cumin and olive oil. It was great – crispy skin and soft pumpkin inside. A beautifully-coloured plate too, full of warm autumnal colours of oranges, yellows and browns. The whole dish was a lovely warming bowl of comfort food – tasty chunks of sausage and extra zing of spices in a rich, warm tomato sauce packed out with tender beans.
And there you have it – my little culinary efforts in honour of British Sausage week. What’s your favourite sausage dish? Any suggestions?
I was sent some vouchers for some Debbie & Andrew’s sausages. I wasn’t required to write a positive review.