Monday, 21 October 2013

Sausage Casserole

Adapted from the Hairy Biker's 'Special Cassoulet' diet recipe

Feeds 4ish dieting people or 2 normal people with a bit left over for lunch the next day. 
About 450-500 calories/portion

2-3 leftover rashers pancetta because they need using up
6 herby sausages, decent quality
1/2 an inadvisably purchased GIANT onion (or one medium one), sliced
2 cloves of garlic, walloped so's they split a bit
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 moderate leeks, topped and chopped
150ml red wine (drink the rest)
300ml and half a tomato tin of water
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp caster sugar
Pepper, black, freshly ground if possible
1 tin-sized tin butter beans, drained and rinsed.

1. Pour relatively generous glass of wine. Read the original HB cassoulet recipe. Realise have forgotten to defrost chicken, neglected to purchase gammon and that the tin of canalli... cannol... camellini... Italian-sounding beans you thought were in the cupboard have metamorphosed into six tins of red kidney beans. 
2. Recall the ridiculous article in the Sun last week that stated 5 kidney beans can kill a man. Snort derisively. 
3. Get on with it. 

4. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees fan, gas mark work it out yourself)
5. In a fancy iron casserole dish, heat a little sunflower oil over a medium heat.
6. Twist the sausages in the middle and cut to make 12 sausagettes. Reflect that sausagettes is a better band name than (for example) "Wand Erection". Cut up pancetta into bits. 
7. Fry the sausagettes and pancetta for a few minutes until browning, then chuck in the onion. 
8. Add the garlic, carrot and leek, tin of tomatoes (swooshing out the tin with your 1/2 tin of water), wine, water, bay leaf, chilli flakes and sugar. Stir. 
9. Realise have forgotten to raid the thyme in the garden and it is now spookydark. Substitute dried thyme.
10. Chuck in some pepper. Stir again. 
11. Let it bubble, bung on lid shove into oven for 1/2 hour. Pour another glass of wine. Accept that today's calorie count may be a little forgetful. 
12. Remove from oven, stir in beans, shove back in oven for 1/2 hour. 

Serve with chunks of homemade sourdough and an air of domestic capability that you probably don't deserve. Fend cats off of leftovers so you have something to take for lunch. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Chocolate Sables

Recipe via Edd Kimber, @theboywhobakes

200g unsalted butter, softened
100g light brown sugar
50g caster sugar

275g plain flour
3/4tsp baking powder
40g cocoa powder
1tsp flaked sea salt (ESSENTIAL for an amazing head-on salt-sweet collision, but probably take down to 2/3tsp next time)

175g dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used 65g of Green and Blacks Espresso chocolate, which was all I had but oh my, rawr)

Beat the butter and sugars together in a bowl until light and fluffy. You could do this with an electric mixer, I did just fine by hand.
Combine the cocoa, flour, baking powder and sea salt in a bowl, then mix this into the butter and sugar. You're aiming for a soil-like sandy texture, do not over mix. 
Add the chopped chocolate and briefly mix to combine. 
Turn the mixture out and press together into a ball, then divide in two and roll into 4cm diameter logs. 
Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the freezer for an hour; heat the oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees C fan)
Once thoroughly chilled, cut the biccies about 1.5cm thick and bake for 10-12 minutes. Once out of the oven, place on a wire rack to cool. 

Take to work and be appallingly smug. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Evolution of the Sourdough

Sourdough is, I am convinced, mostly made by magic. 
You need to care for it. Feed it.  
Astonishing it's just flour, water and (most importantly) time and patience.

And alright, a bit of salt and a lot of heat at the end. 
It has been a very zen thing to create. 
It actually feels like real creation. From simple things, I have made another thing. 
And it has combined to absolute freaking yeasty perfection and I am a very smug baker. 

Sourdough starter made as per River Cottage instructions. Baked according to the method. Eaten mostly by me. Nomnomnom. 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Things Achieved This Weekend

Aaah, a weekend of productivity! Excellent stuff, if you ask me. 

This weekend, I have: 

1) Made a good start of my medical education course. 1 task and the assignment to go for this module. 
2) Changed the beds.
3) Run my fastest 5K this year.
4) Mined the Laundry Heap and paired all the socks. 
5) Created Dilys, the Sourdough Starter... 

6) Hoovered EVERYTHING
7) Defragged the fridge
8) Made my first custard :) 
9) Made significant advances as Guardian H'minee of the Caretakers* with my mind worm army
10) Completely failed to do anything with my new fabrics
11) Nearly got to the bottom of the washing pile
12) Generally been a domestic Goddess. 

I shall count all of this as a WIN. 

* I suspect this will only make sense to a very small fraction of readers... If you are one of them, GET IN TOUCH. SMAC has to be the best turn-based-game ever made and I bloody love it.