This Sausage and Red Lentil Stew started as a riff on Cassoulet… but it just isn’t Cassoulet. It’s lazy girl’s cassoulet! It’s still deliciously comforting and a filling but not too stodgy recipe to bring some tomatoey brightness to these dull February days!
It can work well with any sausages but I will say that my preferred ones are either Turkey (which are getting harder to find!) or sweet chilli sausages, which are just delicious in anything you put them in! I would steer clear of chicken sausages though, I just don’t think they have the depth of flavour you want here and they get lost with the vibrancy of the tomato.
8 sausages of your choice
2x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 clove chopped garlic
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, chopped
5 tbsp red lentils
1/4 tsp salt
- Brown the sausages in a large, lidded pan first.
- Add the remaining ingredients, give it a stir, pop a lid on it and leave it to simmer for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the water level, make sure you keep stirring occasionally to stop the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pan. If you need to add a splash more water do so.
- Leave to sit for 10 minutes before serving as this will be HOT!
A long name for a simple dish but this recipe for Lime, coriander and chilli chicken with tomato, red onion and sweetcorn salsa is a lovely, refreshing take on a basic favourite. Pepping up a simple chicken breast and salad with some zingy flavours brings a whole new dimension to it and I could eat this healthy meal every week at the moment!
200g cherry or baby plum tomatoes
1 small red onion, diced
1 small tin sweet corn, drained
1 tsp coriander leaf (fresh or dried)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 small red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
4 chicken breasts
1 tsp coriander leaf (fresh or dried)
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Salad, avocado and creme fraiche to serve
– Slice the tomatoes into quarters and put into a bowl.
– Add the onion, sweetcorn, corianders, chilli and lime juice and give a good stir.
– Set aside and leave until you’re ready to eat. If you can make this a couple of hours in advance, great, otherwise the half hour while the chicken cooks in the oven will do nicely.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5 (Or turn on a health grill!)
– Take your chicken breasts and score lines into the top being careful not to cut through the whole breast.
– Place the chicken in an oven proof dish sprinkle over the coriander, chilli, lime juice and oil.
– Rub this mixture all over your chicken.
– Bake for 30 minutes or simply use a health grill to cook for a more charred look.
– Serve with salad, avocado and creme fraiche.
Next up we have these Ricotta Veggie Lasagna Rolls using your home made Ricotta! These make a really nice lunch or light supper for 2. I like variety so I made 2 different kinds. Green Pesto and Courgette and Red Pesto and Red Pepper.
I think that my favourite kind were the Green Pesto and Courgette but that’s probably because I am crazy about anything with courgette in. I love it!
These are a little bit tricky to make but only in the sense of lots of little steps. It doesn’t take long to prep or assemble these! You can even make them ahead and then refrigerate until you are ready to cook them if you’d rather get the prep done at a quieter time.
4 sheets lasagna pasta
2 cups fresh spinach
1 roasted bell pepper (I keep the lightly pickled jars of them as a store cupboard staple)
1 ramekin Ricotta (Your yield will vary, I used all of mine)
1 tbsp green pesto
1 tbsp red pesto
Tomato pasta sauce (Awesome Sauce is a good one but if you use a jar I won’t tell!)*
1/2 cup grated cheese
– Heat your oven to gas mark 6 or so.
– Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add your pasta sheets. Cook for 10 minutes (or according to packet instructions).
– Carefully remove the pasta from the water (keep the water!) and lay flat on a plate or chopping board.
– Take your courgette and very thinly slice it lengthways so you have slices about 1/8″. I used a mandolin but with a steady hand you can do this by hand.
– Place your courgette in a sieve and lower the sieve into the boiling water, balancing it on the side of the pan. Cook for 2 minutes then lift the sieve and drain.
– Put your spinach in the sieve and lower it into the boiling water. It should wilt in less than a minute, then remove and drain.
– Split your ricotta in two and mix the green pesto in to one and the red pesto in to the other.
– Take a sheet of lasagna, spread a layer of the ricotta on it, leaving a good 1″ gap at the end.
– Layer over your spinach and then your courgette or pepper.
– Lightly spray your baking dish with oil.
– Carefully roll the lasagna sheet towards the gap. The filling will move with the roll and start to fill the gap, it may even squish out a little. This is ok!
– Carefully lift the roll into the baking dish.
– When they are all ready pour over the pasta sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
– You can pause here if you like and finish cooking later.
– Put into the oven and cook for about 20 -30 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted and everything is piping hot.
* But really, make the Awesome Sauce. It is actually AWESOME!
Now this isn’t so much a recipe as a collection of foods but even though I have been cooking and eating the Full English for many years this was the first time I felt I had managed to get everything just perfect! The most challenging part of the whole thing for me has always been the fried egg. I’m too impatient. Today I finally cracked it! I have to admit that I didn’t actually cook the fried bread this time, I left it in my mother’s capable hands. Hers is always much better than mine in any event!
Per person allow:
1 slice of white bread
2 rashers of bacon
1 salad tomato, halved if using
1/4 large tin baked beans
1 large portobello mushroom
-Sausages go in first. I grill then under a fairly high heat.
-The fried bread wants to go on next. Cut your bread into triangles then pass one side under the cold tap. Put into a frying pan of fairly hot oil (about 3tbsp) then turn down a bit and leave til the first side is a golden brown. Then flip over and brown the other side.
-When the sausages are brown on one side turn them over and add your bacon to the grill pan with them and turn down the heat to medium. If grilling tomatoes as well put them in here as well skin side up then turn later.
-Put the baked beans in a microwavable bowl with a knob of butter and cover with clingfilm. Microwave on full power for 2 1/2 minutes.
-Heat a few tbsp oil in another frying pan to fairly hot then turn down to low. Crack the egg into a small bowl or saucer. Slide it from the bowl into the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the white is set. Spoon the hot oil over the top of the yolk until it reaches the way you like it.
– Brush or spray your portobello mushrooms with oil and then microwave for 2 minutes and test, microwave in 1 minute blocks until cooked. (Ours took 4 minutes.)
– If necessary give the beans another minute in the microwave to get them piping hot again.
– Everything is ready when the sausages are nicely browned all over and cooked through, the eggs are set, the bacon is soft with crispy edges, the mushroom is tender, the bread is a light golden brown and the beans are hot!
– Plate up and eat!
This “recipe” of course is open to as much variation as you want to give it. Don’t like something? Leave it out. Like your eggs scrambled? Scramble them! Only got little sliced mushrooms? Pan fry them in a small saucepan in a little butter. It’s your breakfast, enjoy it!
This dinner was very much invented as I went along. I didn’t want to have to buy anything extra, which would have meant driving to town, so I had to work with what was in the cupboards. I decided on a simple tomato sauce, having tasted some lovely ones in Italy, and pasta. Then I decided that just the bacon in the focaccia wasn’t protein enough for me and went on the hunt for some meat. I came up with half a forgotten bag of Ikea meatballs. I love Ikea meatballs! No matter what I do I can never seem to make Swedish Meatballs any where near as good as the Ikea ones. I’ve run out now so an Ikea trip is in my future!
The recipe is for the tomato sauce alone, just serve over pasta and any meatballs of your choosing or just with pasta if you want something simpler. The day I perfect my Swedish meatballs you can guarantee I’ll post it here!
a knob of butter
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2x4oog tins of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp sugar*
12 grinds of pepper
a pinch of salt
a handful of basil leaves, shredded
– Melt the butter in a deep pan with a small splash of oil to stop it burning.
– Add the garlic and stir until just starting to brown.
– Add the tinned tomatoes, the tomato puree, sugar, salt and pepper and stir well.
– Bring to the boil and simmer gently for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer until the sauce is reduced and quite thick.
– Add the shredded basil leaved 15 minutes before serving and stir through.
*Use your own judgement when flavouring things, these tomatoes needed the extra sugar but yours may not, always taste first. If something just isn’t quite right then I find what’s usually called for is a small pinch of salt as in this case.
I have another tomato sauce recipe that is a lot chunkier and just differently flavoured here. I like both equally but this one is perhaps closer to the bog standard Italian tomato sauce you get over there.
First up let’s hear it for cooking with wine. In this case I did not put any in the food. Tonight’s menu was pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce accompanied by a focaccia. The wine was a lovely Montepulciano D’Abruzzo we picked up in Italy. I apologise in advance for any typos.
I dithered endlessly over what to cook tonight and eventually I came up with something that I wouldn’t have to go out and buy anything for. We came home to find dad hadn’t picked any of the cherry tomatoes so we had a nice bowl full of those and the rest was all store cupboard stuff. The tomatoes were great though, so sweet they almost tasted like plums! I found out that I only had 200g bread flour so I just used plain flour to round out the whole 500g. As this is a flatish bread I just made sure it was well worked but I don’t think I’d use plain in any bread that needed the height. I noticed a definite difference when working the dough.
I actually made two focaccia tonight, the one with bacon for the three of us and a smaller one for our neighbour without the bacon but with rosemary as she is a vegetarian. I find that this recipe makes too much for just the three of us but my neighbour is always glad to take spares!
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
500g strong white flour (I used 200g bread, 300g plain)
7g fast action yeast
2 tsp salt
325ml warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
12 or so cherry tomatoes
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 ball mozzerella, shredded
– Put the garlic and olive oil in a small bowl. Put to one side.
– Combine the flour, yeast, salt and water in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
– Add the oil and continue to mix.
– Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth.
– Place in an oiled bowl an leave in a draft free warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.*
– Meanwhile quickly cook your bacon bits and leave to cool.
– Knock down the dough and turn out onto an oiled baking tray. (For two like I did simply slice off about a third of the dough and prep two trays)
– Press out into a rough rectangle, cover and leave to rise for another 30 minutes
– Heat the oven to Gas Mark 7.
– Once the dough has risen again use your fingers to poke the indentations into it all over.
– Press tomato pieces and bacon bits into these holes and drizzle with the garlic and olive oil.
– Bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and poke the shredded mozzerella into the indentations too.
– Return to the oven for 15 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and serve straight away.
* I heat the oven on Slow Cook while making the dough then switch it off and put my dough to rise in the oven as the house is quite cool during the day as it starts to get cooler. I also give it an hour and a half. When it comes to the second rise I have the main oven heating and put the trays in the top oven so the heat carries up.
I was walking past the market today and the piles of tomatoes inspired me to make tomato soup so I grabbed a bag full and off I went. Only to discover as I continued walking that the stall I’d bought them from was the most expensive one, oops!! That would explain why the other stall had a massive queue I guess. Even so I think it was still cheaper than Tesco woud have been. Probably better flavour too as they weren’t refrigerated to death. Next time I’ll be cannier. Now on to the soup!
8 large tomatoes on the vine, or plum tomatoes*
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, shredded
salt and pepper
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5.
– Slice the tomatoes into quarters and put in an oven proof dish or roasting pan with the garlic and drizzle with olive oil.
– Place the dish (use two if necessary) in the oven and roast for at least 30 minutes.
– Remove the tomatoes from the oven and tip the contents of the dish into a large pan.
– Heat on a medium heat using a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes a bit.
– Remove from the heat and add the sugar and basil.
– Use a hand blander to blend the tomatoes until completely smooth.
– Put the pan back on the heat, bring just to the boil and season to taste (I added just a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper).
– Serve warm with a swirl of sour cream,bread and butter.
* I prefer the flavour of plum tomatoes but regular tomatoes on the vine are good enough. You may need to add a little more sugar to bring out the full flavour though.
Filed under Easy, Starters