After spending the weekend moving house, we are all well and truly wrecked. Although only half a mile from the old house, it took 10 trips in a large hired van with a few mates and the father and brother in law in tow. With my daughter Cerys safely away with Grandma, I was hoping that with the healthy help of the lads on the promise of a huge curry night and no kids to trip over, the move would go smoothly.
Of course, life is never that simple. I had my first scrape, quite literally, with a Shogun. £50 cash in hand for the damaged bumper on the unfortunate gent, £400 for yours truly back at the hire shop. Ooyah! With a sore head, bruised body, empty stomach and even emptier wallet, I returned to the new abode determined to not let this get me down. The thought of a shared hot bath full of bubbles with a glass of champagne made things easier. But there was still the ravenous appetite to appease.
Boxes are strewn everywhere and the new kitchen is upside down. I can’t find a thing and with time ticking on, I can feel anxiety taking over as my stomach cried out for some comfort. The obvious option at this time is to go and grab a takeaway. But I’ve tried both Indians and the Pizza place nearby and they were never going to make me a happy man. Could I find an ounce of energy from somewhere in my resolve to knock up a quick, but satisfying plate of comfort food with my low resources? It is food. I’m ravenous. I love cooking. Of course I can.
Just around the corner from my new house is the best butchers a growing lad could ask for. They do unbelievably good sausages, a huge prize winning variety, oh heaven! There is something that makes me feel safe and secure when I know a good traditional butcher. One that cares about his meat and business enough to produce such fantastic produce. Unfortunately for my waistline, I’ve now walked out of there with half a dozen sausages every other day for the past week. Fortunately, I had half a dozen of these beauties salvaged for such emergencies. The pork and caramelised onion version which really are top quality. The spuds are easily spotted, as is the half cabbage sitting sorrowfully at the bottom of my fridge. Bangers and mash it is. One of the Top 10 comfort foods in the whole wide world. And I can knock a pretty decent one up in 45 minutes.
I use the same method every time to achieve perfect bangers and mash. Onions are essential. The only tweak I make is with the flavours in the gravy. Follow this recipe and experiment with the flavours. I could only find fennel seeds today, so I used these. But try things like thyme, or juniper berries, or caraway seeds and different mustards. Perfect gravy. Perfect meal. Perfect happy new house.
Perfect Bangers and Mash
To serve 2 (I’m assuming you know how to make mash)
Half a dozen top quality sausages
1 large onion, peeled, halved and sliced thinly
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp flour
300ml hot chicken or vegetable stock (fresh or stock cube, when you are desperate, who cares!?)
Salt and pepper
1 – Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C, GM6.
2 – In an oven proof frying pan, heat the olive oil and quickly brown the sausages. Remove the sausages and out aside.
3 – Drop in the onions and cook until caramelised. Add the fennel seeds and bay leaf and stir in the flour until thoroughly combined.
4 – Pour in the stock stir until thickened. Stir in the mustard, return the sausages and put into the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the sausages are cooked and crisp.
5 – Serve with mash and if you desire, a piece of greenery such as cabbage, pan fried leeks or spinach.