I know things are getting a bit chaotic out in the world at the moment, especially with people panic buying and stock piling. We keep seeing images of empty shelves on the news and it’s almost impossible to get hold of staple goods like flour, pasta and…toilet paper. What I would say, especially from my experience in Italy, is that no matter what happens, we won’t be stopped from going to buy food or essentials. So, yes we should buy what we need, and ideally buy enough that we can avoid simply popping to shops to buy an onion but we don’t need to stock pile. In fact, I almost believe that if London gets to the stage of lockdown, it will actually be easier to get hold of goods as supermarkets will have the time and capacity to restock their shelves. A reminder also to not forget local businesses – smaller grocers and local stores may be slightly more costly but they may have more available and you’re also helping to support them in this difficult time. Use Instagram and see what offers places are doing – a lot of bakeries are doing deliveries or pickup for example.
I think this is also a great time for us to really assess the way that we cook, and look for more ways to use ingredients we may have sat at the back of our pantry whilst also finding ways to lengthen meals or avoid food waste. So, in the coming weeks, I will be posting recipes that I feel will be easily accessible using available goods, or even recipes where ingredients can easily be adapted depending on what you can and can’t get hold of in your stores. For now, some of my easy recipes which use minimal and basic ingredients already on the blog are:
This newest sausage casserole recipe uses a few fresh ingredients and then the rest should be things you can usually find in your pantry and there’s a lot you can swap out depending on what you can find in the supermarkets. It’s a great meal to feed the whole family and is packed full of veggies making it perfect for kids too. Pair this with some rice, mash potato or a mixed green salad and it will keep the whole family full!
This sausage casserole uses my favourite caramelised red onion sausages which add extra flavour, but if you can only find basic pork sausages then that’s also ok. You could replace the white onion with a red onion if you wanted to! The peppers and courgettes can be removed if you can’t find them, I was trying to load this with as many veggies as I could. I also used dried lentils, but if you have tinned lentils that’s also fine – just pour them in at the same time as the beans in step 5. With the beans, I used haricot beans as that’s all I could find but you can use any kind of bean you want. If you want to save the white wine for drinking that’s also ok and if you’re low on chopped tomatoes, you can use passata. Dried thyme and parsley will also do the trick! See how easy it is to adapt a recipe to your needs!
This is the beauty of cooking and I want to be able to show this with you over the coming weeks and I hope both my blog and social media will become a happy place where you can come and experiment and maybe even find a new love for cooking. If you have any requests or questions feel free to drop me a comment or message me privately and I will do my best to answer them as quickly as possible.
For now, all that is left to say is – stay home as much as you can, keep an eye on your own mental health and WASH YOUR HANDS! We’re all in this together and we will come out the other end together too!
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Ingredients 12 Caramelised onion sausages 2 Medium carrots, diced 3 Celery sticks, diced 1 Medium white onion, diced 2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 Red pepper, deseeded & chopped into 1cm chunks 1 Courgette, sliced into quarters 200g Dried lentils 400g Haricot beans, drained & rinsed 1 Tsp Cumin seeds 2 Tsp Smoked paprika 85ml White wine 500ml Chicken stock 400g Tinned chopped tomatoes 1 Tsp Salt 1/2 Tsp Pepper Fresh Thyme Fresh Parsley 3 Tbsp Olive oil
In a large deep casserole dish or frying pan, heat olive oil and fry the sausages until browned all over – around 10 minutes. Set aside.
In the same pan, pour in some additional oil, add the carrots, celery and onions and sauté on a medium-low heat until softened – around 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for an additional minute before adding the pepper and courgette along with the cumin seeds and paprika. Continue to fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Increase the heat and pour in the wine to deglaze the pan. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrap all the goodness from the bottom of the pan and allow the alcohol to evaporate before pouring in the chicken stock and chopped tomatoes.
Add the dried lentils at this stage along with the thyme and parsley and carefully return the sausages to the pan ensuring they are covered by the sauce. Season with a little salt and pepper, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on.
After 30 minutes, remove the lid, stir, add the haricot beans and allow to simmer for a final 15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken before serving with rice, mash potatoes or a green salad.
Ps. If you end up with any leftovers, especially the sauce/lentils, this keeps really well in the fridge and you can simply reheat it with extra rice the next day.