Sunday, 30 September 2007
Not long ago, Hubby asked me if I could make him some caramel shortbread. Could I? I love the stuff, so an excuse to make it was very welcome, especially safe in the knowledge that it wouldn't hang around for me to eat if he wolfed it down! I'd never made it before, having a bit of a fear of boiling a tin of condensed milk for hours on end. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I would forget and let it boil dry. When I discovered that 'Nestlé' sell tins of 'Carnation' condensed milk already prepared into caramel 'Duche de Leche', I was thrilled. I used my regular shortbread recipe for the base, which features one of my favourite ingredients, fine semolina, but if you don't have any, just up the quantity of plain flour to 240g. I use unsalted butter for just about everything, but always make shortbread with salted butter. I just seems to taste better that way. As for the chocolate, use what you like. I prefer a half-and-half mixture of dark and milk chocolate - just break 150g of each into a bowl and stir together once they've melted.
200g plain flour
40g fine semolina
100g icing sugar
200g soft butter, diced
397g condensed milk dulce de leche
I make shortbread in my KitchenAid, just paddling everything together until it comes right. You can blast it in the processor, or take the long way round by stirring the dry ingredients together and then rubbing in the butter. Gently knead it into a softish dough.
Press the dough into a greased and base-lined 23cm square tin. Prick it all over with a fork and bake at 150°c. Cool it completely in the tin, then spread over the dulce de leche. Chill for about 30 minutes, then melt the chocolate in the microwave and pour this over the top. Spread it out carefully, then chill until just set. Remove from the tin and cut it into squares (or vice versa, depending on what sort of tin you have).
We had good old pasta and meatballs tonight - I got hold of some linguine (which I love) so I used that and Christopher had great fun getting himself into a mess with it all. We had garlic bread to go with it, and grated parmesan to scatter over.
Saturday, 29 September 2007
After abandoning our efforts for the day, some junk food seemed very appealing. I really don't like the idea of deep-frying very much of anything, but everyone craves those kinds of crunchy-textured foods occasionally. Chicken and chips is a bit of a favourite with all of us, and this way of oven-cooking it wins hands down with me. I've recently adapted the coating I use from plain flour to a semolina and cornflour mix after seeing Nigella Lawson use a similar coating on her new series Nigella Express. I generally use a ready-mixed Cajun spice blend for convenience, but you could use any seasonings you fancy. A mix of ground cumin and coriander, paprika and thyme or cayenne pepper are all good, though go easy on the latter!
8 chicken drumsticks
2 tbsp fine semolina (or polenta works well, too)
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp Cajun seasoning (and see above)
Mix the semolina, cornflour and Cajun seasoning together in a large bowl. Turn the chicken pieces in this mixture to coat them, then place on a rack over a baking tray and cook at 200°c for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is browned and crisp.
I made some real oven chips to go with the chicken, then cut up some salad veg for a nice big pile of crudités. Ketchup and mayo on the table, lovely!
Friday, 28 September 2007
While we were out I picked up some lovely salmon fillets. I ummed-and-aahed for a bit about whether to cook them with a crust of herby breadcrumbs, before consulting Christopher and deciding just to fry them as they were. I melted a bit of butter in a non-stick frying pan and fried the fillets on the 'fleshy' side for a minute or so, then turned them over and fried them on the skin side until they were cooked through. Soft, juicy fish, gorgeously crisp skin - what more could you want? Well, I added pesto-flavoured mash and some peas to the plates, which turned out to be a really good combination.
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
However, as Hubby is off work at the moment I wanted to make something a little bit special for myself. We had some leftover meat from yesterday's duck in the fridge, so I used a little of it in a salad. The idea for a mango chutney dressing came from a different kind of duck salad in The Silver Palate Cookbook, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. I must point out that my dressing varies enormously from theirs, but it was one of those ideas that just immediately grabbed me. I do love mango chutney, after all. As we don't often have duck, I've actually made this most often to go with cold cooked chicken, but I do think that it's better with duck, something about the sweet sharpness of the dressing against the richly flavoured meat. As we had some gorgeous Russet apples in the fruit and veg box this week, it would have seemed rude not to include one here.
Duck & Apple Salad with Mango Chutney Dressing
cold cooked duck meat
flaked almonds, toasted until brown
Cover a plate with watercress, and lay the shredded duck on top. Slice the apple and tuck in the pieces here and there. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and scatter with toasted almonds.
Very ladies-who-lunch, isn't it? I should probably have gone to the beauty salon or out shopping or something afterwards, but instead I walked up to the postbox to post thank-you cards for Christopher's birthday presents while Karl looked after the boys. I scrambled about in a hedge to have a look at some rosehips, which I fancy turning into syrup sometime soon, and picked a handful of blackberries on the way back. I was very popular with Chris when I got home, for some reason...
Dinner tonight was one of my good old faithful savoury crumbles, this time with Chicken, Leek and Bacon.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Roasted Duck with Honey
2kg duck, or thereabouts
6 tbsp clear honey
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Score a few slits in the skin over the breast of the duck (just through the skin and subcutaneous fat - don't cut into the meat). Grind pepper all over the duck and rub it into the skin. You can use salt here as well, and I usually would, but James is still a bit young for added salt. Put the duck on a rack in a roasting tin and pour the honey over it . Smooth the honey across the skin of the bird with the back of a spoon, then put it in thje oven. After 30 minutes, baste the duck with the liquid from the tin, then add 200ml water and tent the bird with foil. Return it to the oven, turned down to 160°c for a further hour, basting halfway through this time. Remove the foil, baste again and cook for a final 30 minutes. Leave the duck to rest for 10 minutes or so on a warmed platter before carving.
The skin can look quite alarmingly black sometimes but it doesn't taste burnt, just sweet, smoky and caramelised; the perfect foil to the rich meat of the duck. I like to serve it with rice (basmati & wild, for preference) rather than potatoes and some still-just-crisp steamed green vegetables, broccoli and sugar snaps this evening. We finished off the last of Christopher's birthday cake for pudding.
Monday, 24 September 2007
So, while the penne was boiling briskly, I broke up the sausages a bit and fried them until they were cooked through and nicely browned, then poured the tomato sauce into the pan and let it reheat gently. The sausage-studded sauce could then be quickly tossed through the drained pasta. As always, I reserved a cupful of the pasta-water to stir in. This really does help all sorts of sauces to combine with the pasta, though sometimes you only need a spoonful or so, it’s still a habit worth getting into.
I serve ‘big’ pasta dishes like this one straight from the pan at the table, spooning out as much as everyone wants. Garlic bread, a green salad and some grated cheese to scatter over the pasta were just the right accompaniments for a damp and rather chilly evening. We all had a slice of Christopher’s birthday cake for pud.
Sunday, 23 September 2007
The party tea seemed to go down very well. I decided against making the usual sandwiches as, in my experience, they make a huge mess before remaining largely uneaten. Instead, I made a huge tomato-and-cheese pizza and cut it into squares to eat cold. The menu was, thus:
- Pizza Squares
- Cocktail Sausages
- Cheesy Bites
- Raw Carrot & Pepper Sticks
- Grapes & Raisins
- Salt & Shake Crisps (sans salt)
- Dinosaur-shaped Chocolate Biscuits
- Marshmallow Top Hats (see below)
- Birthday Cake!
These are a family classic, and a party favourite from my childhood. Particularly favoured by my brother, I now make them for my boys as a party treat. 'Scotbloc', or cake covering, is the taste I grew up with, so that's what I use. You can use proper chocolate if you'd rather.
100g chocolate cake covering
Melt the scotbloc and pour a little into the bottom of each of 12 petit four cases. Place a marshmallow centrally in each and dab a blob of chocolate onto the top. Fix a Smartie to this and leave the top hats to set.
We've got quite a lot of bits left over, but as Hubby is on leave for a while from tomorrow, he'll find something to do with it all, I've no doubt.
All in all, a great day for all of us, and a pleasantly old-fashioned birthday party. I suppose I try to base the parties I give for my boys on the ones I remember, full of love and laughter, from when I was a child, but I don't think that's any bad thing. I've been warned, by friends with older children, about the competitive kind of party-giving that seems to take over once children are at school, and which seems to say much more about the parents than the children. I loathe the whole idea of it: 30-plus guests, a fortune on 'entertainment', professional caterer-standard food and party bags to rival the goodies given out at the Oscars? Not if I can help it. Sorry, rant over.
Enjoy being 3, my darling Christopher. Mummy xx
Friday, 21 September 2007
Underneath the icing the cake is my birthday standard; a vanilla-flavoured sponge, filled with some of my homemade blackberry jam. I keep a jar of golden caster sugar with a few cut-up vanilla pods in it for baking, but you could add a teaspoonful of vanilla extract with the eggs instead, if you prefer.
200g vanilla sugar
200g soft butter
4 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs one at a time, with a spoonful of flour after each. Sift in the rest of the flour and combine gently. Divide the mixture equally between two 20cm greased and base-lined sandwich tins and bake at 190°c for 20 minutes. Remove the cakes from the tins and cool them on a rack. Sandwich the two cakes together with jam. I brush the top of the cake with a little apricot jam to help the icing stick to it.
Hubby is at work late this evening, so it was just me and the boys for supper. I got some more of my huge Mexgrocer pack of corn tortillas out of the freezer and made quesadillas for us, using a mixture of grated cheddar and mozzarella and some leftover roasted vegetables from last night. You could use whatever you fancy, I suppose. Within reason.
leftover roasted vegetables
Heat a non-stick frying pan. Use the tortillas to make a 'sandwich' with some cheese and vegetables. Plop the tortillas into the pan and dry fry for a couple minutes until the cheese is melting. Flip the quesadilla over to toast the other side too, then slip it out of the pan and onto a board or something to rest while you cook the rest. Cut into wedges to eat; I had a dollop of soured cream with mine, but Chris, being a boy, wanted ketchup. These were fantastic finger food for the boys, but particularly for James; the cheese sticks everything together so he can't pick it all apart, like he so often does when I give him a 'normal' sandwich.
Thursday, 20 September 2007
100g soft butter
50g cheddar, finely grated
75g mozzarella, grated
200g granary flour
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp English mustard powder
Beat the butter and grated cheeses together, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mustard powder. Add a splash of milk to bring the mixture together into a soft dough. Roll into 32 small balls, then place on oiled baking sheets. Flatten the balls a little with the bottom of a glass (dipped in flour). Prick each flattened round two or three times with a fork.
Bake for 12 minutes at 180°c, then remove to a rack to cool. They keep for about a week in an airtight box, but they're very moreish, so they might not actually make it that far...
After the baking extravaganza, I really needed something straightforward to cook for dinner. I'd ordered a carton of ready-made mole (mo-lay) sauce as part of my Mexgrocer consignment the other weeks, so tonight I tried it out.
I roasted some chicken thighs, pouring the mole sauce over them for the last 15 minutes' of cooking time. Served with some plain basmati rice and some roasted vegetables, it was a really good, easy supper. Christopher was a bit suspicious of the sauce until I told him it had chocolate in it (which is true), then he tried it and it went down a storm. James gobbled it up, same as he does with everything at the moment. Growing boys and all that. I think I'll have to get some more of this stuff in; supper tonight felt like a total skive!
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
Chile Potato Burritos
I prefer to steam potatoes rather than boiling them, but do as you like. To steam them, peel and cut into large chunks, then place in a steamer over boiling water for about 25 minutes. Quickly empty the water pan and use it to dry off and mash the cooked potatoes.
4 large potatoes
1 scant tsp ground de arbol chile powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
150g cheddar cheese, grated
8 corn tortillas
400g can chopped tomatoes
about 5 tbsp Mexican Pepper Recaudo Marinade & Grill Sauce
Cook and mash the potatoes (and see above). Beat in 100g of the cheese, the chile powder, cumin and oregano. Spoon some of the potato down the centre of each tortilla and roll up. Place the tortilla rolls ('seam' facing down) side by side in an ovenproof dish. Stir together the tomatoes, the pepper sauce and 100ml water. Pour this over the tortilla in the dish and scatter over the rest of the cheese. Bake at 180°c for half an hour until the cheese has melted and the protruding edges of the tortillas are crisp and browned.
I served this with a simple salad of chopped tomatoes and cucumber and a bowl of soured cream. It was actually quite hard, having to leave some in the dish for Karl, who was due to arrive home from work after the boys and I had eaten dinner this evening. I would have eaten it all, given half a chance! I can hardly even begin to describe how tasty it was, nor urge you to try it strongly enough.
Tuesday, 18 September 2007
This, then, is my interpretation of the dish. I've tried to stick to the Mexican ideal, but I make no promises as to its authenticity. I used cooked chicken left over from our Sunday roast, plus stock that I made from the carcass yesterday. I got the canned black beans, chile powder and tortillas as part of my shopping trip to Mexgrocer last week.
Chicken Soup with Tortilla
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1.2 litres chicken stock
75g white rice, uncooked
300g cooked chicken, shredded
560g can black beans, drained
340g can sweetcorn, drained
1 tsp ground de arbol chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
corn tortillas (I used 5)
oil for frying
Heat some oil in a large pan. Fry the onion and garlic until just soft. Pour in the chicken stock and tip in the rice. Bring to the boil, then add the shredded cooked chicken breasts along with the beans and sweetcorn. Stir in the chile powder, cumin and oregano. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
While the soup simmers, cut the tortillas into thinnish strips. Heat a couple of centimetres' depth of oil in a deep, wide pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the tortilla strips, in batches, until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle of cheese on the top of each portion. Top with a handful of the tortilla strips. This was a really hearty meal, much enjoyed by all of us. I think it could do very well with vegetable broth and more beans and corn as a veggie alternative, if you like. It had a nice little twang of chile, but if you like your food spicier (than I dare to cook it with two little ones to feed), add up to another teaspoon of chile powder. It also occurs to me that for speed (and fewer pots to wash), you could top each bowful with some ready-made tortilla chips.
Monday, 17 September 2007
When the box turned up there was a gorgeous waft of spices as I opened it and I could hardly wait to get started. I'd already decided to start with something fairly straightforward and make fajitas the first night, using the spice blend I'd bought and some of the corn tortillas. I used steak for Karl and myself and cooked some chicken for the boys; James can't really cope with chewing steak yet and while Chris likes a bit of steak, I knew he'd want some chicken as well if I did some for his baby bro.
1 large onion, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
2 thin-cut frying steaks, cut into strips
1 chicken breast
Mexgrocer Fajita Spice Mix
Heat some oil in a pan and fry the onion and peppers until soft, sprinkling over a large pinch of the fajita spice mix as they cook. Scoop into an ovenproof dish and keep them warm in the oven while you fry the steak strips, then the chicken strips. Add some more of the spice mix as you cook each batch of strips. Warm the tortillas briefly in the oven, then serve everything at the table for self-assembly.
I also put some soured cream and a dish of grated cheese out on the table. The boys loved their hands-on dinner. The actual construction of the fajitas defeated them rather, but they still seemed to enjoy fiddling about and getting in a bit of a mess. As for me, I alway like to play with my food, and the spicing was just right. Warm and fragrant but not blast-your-socks-off HOT.
I must mention that the corn tortillas looked quite small and I was a little bit worried that they wouldn't make much of a meal, but actually they were incredibly satisfying, much more so than the flour tortillas I've bought from the supermarket to make 'wraps' in the past: the texture was much better too, pleasantly mealy and not at all 'chewy'. This meal also proved to be a good way of stretching quite a small amount of meat a long way. Even my notoriously hollow-legged husband found himself full after this dinner. All in all, a stunning result fo a first try; I'm looking forward to the next round tomorrow...
Friday, 14 September 2007
The parsley sauce can also be used with pieces of plain grilled fish, or with gammon steaks (and mashed potatoes please). I like to infuse the milk, but if you don't have time, don't worry. Just make the sauce as below. If you want to, put the milk in a saucepan with the stalks from the bunch of parsley. Bring it to the boil, then remove it from the heat and leave it to cool completely. Strain the cold milk into a jug and use it for the sauce. You can do the milk in the morning, or even the night before and keep it in the fridge once it's cold. Don't put it in your tea, though.
Fish Crumble Bake
500g firm white fish
250g smoked fish
198g can sweetcorn, drained
600ml milk, infused if possible (and see above)
240g plain flour
bunch of parsley, leaves chopped finely
Rub the remaining 100g of butter into the rest of the flour, then season and use to top the fish mixture. Bake at 200°c for 20 minutes.
Christopher wanted peas to go with it, so that's what we had. No potatoes, obviously, for reasons of tardiness already discussed.
Thursday, 13 September 2007
One of the things I do to keep our everyday breakfasts interesting is bake different breads. This is made very easy by having a bread machine. My most usual 'special bread' is a Spiced Fruit Loaf, which has a flavour akin to teacakes and hot cross buns, but I branched out this week, adapting my usual white loaf recipe to make some chocolate bread. We were not disappointed by it; the boys have enjoyed snacking on it, as well as eating it at breakfast time. I rather love it too, and it toasts particularly well, filling the kitchen with a gorgeous smell.
¾ tsp easy-blend dried yeast
360g strong white flour
40g cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
200ml warm water
Add the ingredients to the bread machine in the order required by your machine. I have a Panasonic™ Bread Bakery, so the yeast goes in first, but machines do vary. Check your instruction manual for details.
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Spiced Lamb with Butter Beans
1 onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
few sprigs thyme
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
500g cubed lamb
500ml lamb stock
2 x 400g tins butter beans, drained and rinsed
Heat some olive oil in a large casserole and fry the onion and celery until softened. Add the thyme leaves and spices, stirring well. Brown the lamb and season with black pepper, before pouring in the lamb stock. Add water if you need to, to just barely cover everything with liquid. Bring to the boil, then transfer the pan to the oven. Cover the pan and cook for 1 hour at 180°c, then stir in the beans. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°c and cook, uncovered this time, for a further 45 minutes.
I always like a pudding of some sort to round off a meal. Most evenings we have fruit, either a mixed plate to share or something special like a pineapple. Last Thursday we got a coconut in the organic box, which provided a couple of nights' worth of post-prandial nibbling. Our other 'everyday' pudding option is to raid the tins in the kitchen for cake or biscuits of one sort or another, whatever I've been baking recently. Tonight we cut into the bara brith I made on Sunday. This is a lovely cake to have around the house; one of those fruity cakes that is just right with a cup of tea and very simple to make. I made this one because I had some tea left in the pot after a friend had been over on Friday, it was a tad stewed but perfect to soak the fruit for this cake. I actually ended up leaving the fruit soaking for two days, as I forgot about it on Saturday, but it was none the worse for that. If you don't have 'leftover' tea, just make a fresh mug and use that. Use whatever mixture of dried fruit you like. I keep bags of 'mixed dried fruit with peel' in my baking cupboard, so I tend to use some of that.
Bara Brith Hawdd
You can, if you like, add some orange or lemon zest to this very basic recipe.
250g dried fruit (see above)
250g self-raising flour
Soak the fruit in the hot tea until it is cold (and see above). Stir the finely chopped zest into the fruit-and-tea mixture, then beat the flour, sugar and egg. Turn the batter uinto a greased and floured 1lb loaf tin. Bake at 160°c for 50 minutes. Cover with foil durig cooking if it is browning too much. Cool the cake in the tin. For the best result, wrap the cake in foil when it has cooled and leave it in an airtight tin for a couple of days before eating it, spread with salted butter in the true Welsh way...
Monday, 10 September 2007
Tuna and Tomato Pasta
2 cloves garlic, squashed with a knife
2 tbsp olive oil
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
185g can tuna in spring water, drained
Cook the pasta. Meanwhile, heat the oil and garlic together until the oil is fragrant and the garlic just beginning to brown. Sccop out the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard. Fry the diced celery until soft, then add the tomatoes. Cook briefly to heat through, then flake in the tuna. Stir the sauce very gently to avoid breaking up the fish too much. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the water, then toss in the sauce, adding a splash of the pasta water to bring it all together nicely. Serve with a green salad.
Sunday, 9 September 2007
The Sunday roast is a great British institution, but some weeks the full works is just too much to cope with. Tonight we had some simple steamed vegetables; carrots and runner beans from the organic box, and what are known in my family as 'Nanny Potatoes'. This is one of my late Nan's genius dishes; along with her fabulous meat pies (my favourite) and her crunchy-topped pork chops, which are also much-loved family classics. The whole dish is far, far greater than the sum of its parts would suggest. You can make this with whatever quantities you like, and add a little garlic to the layers if you want. I use 750g potatoes to 1 large onion to feed four as a side dish.
Butter an ovenproof dish. Peel and thickly slice the potatoes and put them in a pan. Cover them with cold water and bring to the boil. Drain. Meanwhile, halve and slice the onion and cook in a little butter until soft. I do this in the microwave so they don't colour at all. Layer the potatoes and onion in the prepared dish, seasoning as you go. Pour boiling water into the dish to just below the top of the potatoes. Bake at 200°c for about 45 minutes.
Thursday, 6 September 2007
Smoked Fish Chowder
1 large onion, sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 litre milk
340g can sweetcorn, drained
300g smoked fish
fresh chives, finely chopped
Put the sliced onion, potatoes and milk into a large pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the sweetcorn and plenty of black pepper, then add the fish. Simmer for a further 5 minutes, then add the chives and stir well to break up the pieces of fish. Serve with some bread to soak up the juice and wipe the bowl clean. This is not an elegant supper.
If you have any leftovers, they will keep in the fridge for a day or so. I managed to keep some to have for my lunch tomorrow, which I am looking forward to already. As a side not, I should point out that the chowder will freeze really well for up to a month, provided that you use fish that hasn't already been frozen.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
Deep-frying chips at home is emphatically not for me. Once upon a time we did have a deep fat fryer, but after it broke when Karl dropped it on the kitchen floor, we never bothered to replace it. My method of cooking chips in the oven works brilliantly, is much healthier and safer to cook. The firemen who visited our playgroup earlier this year put the fear of God into us all when they talked about the statistics for chip-pan-related house fires. I’ve got a ‘Misto™’ oil spray which I fill with sunflower oil for this, but use whatever oil spray you have, or indeed just drizzle the chips with a little bit of oil.
Real Oven Chips
Peel your potatoes and cut them into chips. Rinse them in cold water, then plunge them into a large pan of boiling water. Wait for the water to come back to the boil, and then set the timer for 5 minutes. Drain the chips in a colander and leave them to cool a little. Spread them out on an oiled baking sheet, giving them plenty of space - use more than one sheet if you need to. Spray or drizzle with sunflower oil, then cook at 200°c for 20 minutes or so, until the chips are crisp and golden.
While the chips are in the oven you can lay the table, fry your eggs and sort out whatever else you need in relative peace. Even better, the house doesn’t stink afterwards. Or burn down, which is always a plus.
After that little lot, I thought we'd better have some fruit for pudding. So we did.
Tuesday, 4 September 2007
Summery Pasta Bake
200g dried pasta (see above)
2 rashers bacon, chopped
handful mushrooms, chopped
handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
Cook the pasta, then put the spinach into a colander in the sink and drain the pasta over it. This will wilt the spinach. Meanwhile, fry the bacon and mushrooms together. Stir these, and the tomatoes, into the drained pasta and spinach. Tip it all into an ovenproof dish.
100g cheddar cheese, finely grated
Beat all the ingredients together in a jug and pour over the pasta in the dish. Top with another 50g of grated cheese, then bake for 30 minutes at 180°c.
It did feel very summery, actually. A bit of green salad on the side was all it needed; the boys gobbled it up and Hubby, without any prompting, pronounced it "smashing", which pleased me inordinately.
Sunday, 2 September 2007
butter and oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
mixed dried herbs
Heat a large knob of butter and a little oil in a large, deep-sided frying pan. Fry the onions over a low heat until soft and just golden. Turn up the heat and add the sausages, browning them a little all over. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Add a good pinch of mixed dried herbs and grind over some black pepper. Reduce the heat once more and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Serve with mashed potatoes. I steam the peeled and halved potatoes for 20-25 minutes, then mash them with a large dollop (or two) of créme fraîche.