Thursday, 14 November 2013

It's not Christmas... yet. And a Sausage and Bean Stew

It's about this time of year that I get silly excited about Christmas. I know, Halloween's just passed. I apologise for my younger-than-acceptable mental age.

However, none of this means that I want shops to start playing Christmas tunes. No, not yet. Save that for December. It's still November. I blame this reason for the fact that I am incredibly disorganised when it comes to buying Christmas presents. I tend to save all the shopping till the last minute and then complain and whine about how busy it is the last few days before Christmas. Wondering why on earth there are so many people rushing around town and how they could be so disorganised, leaving it till the very last minute to get it together. Meanwhile, doing exactly the same thing myself and planning out how to wrap all my hypothetical presents the morning of the actual day... #sittinginmyivorytower.

Nope, I was excited about Halloween, now I want a month off in November and then to start thinking about Christmas in December.

That is what logical me says.

The more excitable, slightly holiday-crazed side of me however can only extend logic to this; "Dear goodness, the first mince pies are out in shops. It must be Christmas."

So yet again, I apologise. I realise I'm one of those annoying people at this time of year but I just can't help myself. I will try to keep it repressed so you don't have to read about my abundance of Christmas cheer until December. I guess it's a very fortunate thing that my blog doesn't have speakers linked to it otherwise my incessant Christmas related humming may very well drive you to the edge.

Anyway, instead I will be focusing my energies on Autumn/Winter warming foods.

The second thing I wanted to get out of my system is I find this time of the year can be difficult to eat sensibly. I tend to find that Summer brings about fresh salads, cooling drinks and it's easier to grab whole foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. Making meals quicker and easier. Autumn and going into Winter however, is a different story. The colder weather makes me yearn for warm, filling foods. Nutrient dense foods served heaped up in comforting bowlfuls. Cooler weather also means nostalgic comfort foods are on my mind. The sweet treats associated with Halloween and the spiced cookies and pastry heavy foods associated with the event-occurring-in-December-which-I-am-not-going-to-mention-until-December (maybe that's even more irritating?!).

So as a congratulations for making it through this post mostly unscathed by tinsel and glitter, here is a recipe to plant us firmly in the spirit of Winter-related celebrations.

Sausage and Beans Stew

Remember to remove the Bay Leaf before eating!
Sausage stews make me think of coming home after a long day. Pulling my boots off, leaving them discarded by the door, alongside my gloves, scarf and coat. Curling up on the sofa with a steaming bowl of Sausage and bean stew nestled in between cupped hands.

I don’t eat beans often but when I do, they have to taste good. Pairing them up with this classic combo makes for a hearty stew with a flavourful sauce. Making it a fab meal for a casual night-in or a hearty get-together with friends.
Serves 4
Good quality sausages ( I used 8)
1 can of cooked mixed beans*
1 can beansprouts*
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste (I started out with ¼ teaspoon and add more bit by bit if required)
Sprinkle of white pepper
½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
1 bay leaf (remember to remove before eating)
Generous sprinkle of dried oregano
About half a jar of tomato passata (about 300ml)
2 onions
200g white mushrooms
1 green pepper
Coconut oil
How to make it;
·         Deseed the green pepper and chop into strips
·         Finely chop the onions
·         Peel and slice the mushrooms
·         Squeeze the sausage meat out of its casing in thirds into the saucepan
·         Add the chopped veg  and sausage meat to a saucepan with a teaspoon of coconut oil and allow to gently sauté over a low heat
·         Add the drained beansprouts, salt, white pepper, mustard powder, ground mixed spice, dried oregano and balsamic vinegar to the saucepan and give a good mix
·         Once the sausage has slightly browned and the veg has significantly softened, add the tomato passata and mix in.
·         Boil the kettle and add water to the saucepan until the sausages and veg are covered
·         Bring to the boil for a couple of minutes and then turn down to a simmer
·         Place the lid on the saucepan and allow to simmer for a further 40 minutes
·         Once the sausage meat has cooked through, serve in bowl whilst still hot with fork or spoon (or like me, a spork :) )
·         Enjoy!!

*If beans and beansprouts aren’t your thing then you can replace these with other types of veg, such as; boiled new potatoes, sweet potatoes, chickpeas or other green veg.

Let me know what you try in the comments section!


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