One dish wonders

Sat, Mar 26, 2011, 00:00

Two simple, tasty midweek suppers for your repertoire, writes DOMINI KEMP

MOST COUPLES I know seem to have a relatively decent household chore-sharing thing going on. And when you question who does what, more often than one would think, I find out that it’s the blokes who seem to do more cooking around the house, with well-fed partners quite happy to do the washing up in return. At my home, though, I do most of the cooking, which is fine and works for us, but there are times when I am extremely grateful to have a plate of food plonked down in front of me. I genuinely enjoy cooking at home, but sometimes it can tip me over the edge when I’m tired, grumpy and starving, with looming deadlines and childer on the loose. There are also times when there is nothing to eat in the house and it’s just pasta with olive oil and garlic and, if we’re lucky, a shaving of rock-hard Parmesan, or the other emergency favourite, scrambled eggs with grilled cheese and tomatoes on toast.

So, despite my husband’s pathetic attempts to wriggle out of cooking, I find that, like most people who don’t particularly enjoy cooking, he’s got a couple of dishes up his sleeve that he does particularly well. Maybe because his cooking repertoire isn’t vast, he feels it’s somehow inferior. But for my money, one or two great dishes are perfectly acceptable, especially if cooking isn’t your thing.

Both of these dishes are good for people to make if they’re not adventurous or confident in the kitchen. They are both heavy on the fat content and so are very much for evenings when you need a bottle of red wine and some good bread. Salad can make a brief appearance, but they are dishes that you will gladly eat when really hungry.

The sausage casserole is a great way to jazz up a bangers-and-mash-type dinner and is also a great dish to leave in the oven indefinitely, which is especially handy when ETAs are up in the air. The chorizo and pasta dish is fantastically tasty and one of my favourite dishes to eat, mainly because I love the fact that a bit of time and care goes into chopping the chorizo and tomatoes into very small chunks and reserving every little bit of tomato juice that spills out on to the chopping board. It’s a dish that’s bullish and rustic and very delicious.

Casserole of sausages with mash

This is based on a Galton Blackiston recipe. Any eating apples will do, and feel free to add some Tabasco sauce if you like to spice it up.

Serves 4-6

12 pork sausages

Splash sunflower oil

2 large Spanish onions, peeled and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

Good glug of olive oil

6 smoked streaky rashers

1 tsp caster sugar

Approximately 24 button mushrooms

250ml red wine

Worcestershire sauce, to taste

600ml beef stock

2 apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

Preheat an oven to 180 degrees/gas mark four. In a large, non-stick frying pan, fry the sausages in a little sunflower oil until they are well browned, but not necessarily cooked. You just want to get good colour on them. Set them aside, after draining them on kitchen paper.