Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The perfect sausage cassoulet recipe for a cold or rainy day

I don't know about you, but on a cold and rainy day I love coming home to a warm stew. After amassing various sausage stew recipes over the years, the below is one of my favourites. It's hearty. It's comforting. It's like being wrapped up in a big duvet

As sausages can be quite gristly and fatty, I always recommend spending a little bit more on premium quality sausages if you can, for more actual meat and less nasties and filler. For this recipe I used game sausages instead of traditional pork sausages for a leaner option. Combined with pulses and lots of fresh herbs, it was a marriage made in heaven. Almost like a thick soup.

Another huge bonus is that this can be quite a purse friendly recipe as lots of the items are the sorts of things you should have lying around the house already (and if not, a single carrot and a single onion aren't exactly expensive!) Also because it makes so much, it's perfect for leftovers which translates to a low cost per head. I managed to feed myself and my partner for dinner one night and then we had x4 takeaway boxes worth left afterwards which did us for an extra 2x lunches each!


You will need...

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 100ml red wine (I usually use more because I'm naughty)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • A generous sprinkling of smoked paprika
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (I was liberal with these)
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 400g tin of butter beans, drained
  • 400g tin of borlotti beans, drained
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 8 rashers of bacon or 200g lardons
  • 12 Wild & Game pheasant & venison sausages


METHOD

1. Set your oven to 190°C / Fan 170°C / Gas 5 and cook the sausages in the centre of a pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, turning mid-way through.


2. Meanwhile fry the onion, gradually adding the bacon / lardons, carrot, and then the garlic

3. Add the red wine making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get every last scrap of flavour (the tastiest bits!)

4. Add the tinned tomatoes and also all the beans, tomato purée, paprika and remaining herbs

5. Leave to simmer for as long as you can to really seal in that flavour!

6. As soon as the sausages are fully cooked, remove from the oven and add them to the pan, continuing to simmer


7. Season to taste and add more herbs, wine etc according to your taste (I usually add extra smoked paprika and wine at this stage, but that's just me!)

8. Serve with an extra sprig of thyme to garnish if you have (stops the dish from looking too beige I find!) and a sliced French baguette (although to be perfectly frank, it is more than satisfactory without bread thanks to all the beans!)


It really couldn't be simpler. If you aren't into cooking, or don't want the hassle, this recipe could be one for you. No need to worry about frying sausages and them spitting up in your face like with other sausage stew recipes. No 8-10 hours wait time for a slow cooker. Instead boosh the sausages into the oven and leave be. Get your pot simmering and leave be. Add the cooked sausages and leave once again. Meaning more time for you. Grab that glass of wine. You deserve it.

I'd never tried making a sausage stew with game sausages before, but they were a really nice change. I did set aside x3 sausages to taste outside of the stew and they were delicious. Traditional pork sausages carry a lot of flavour,  but fortunately the pheasant & venison sausages had a good meaty flavour and held their own. Admittedly I couldn't taste venison or pheasant specifically, but on a positive note, you could actually see big pieces of game when cutting into the sausages. This in itself was refreshing as game pies and produce I've brought from other game suppliers in the past have been lacking in game and mainly padded out with pork meat - which happily wasn't the case at all with Wild & Game!

As you may have seen on social media, I've also been sampling some of their pasties, sausage rolls and pies, all of which have been really generously filled and wrapped in beautifully buttery pastry.


I was also really impressed with how well my delivery was packaged. It was delivered on one of the hottest days of the year in a huge polystyrene box surrounded in a generous amount of ice which amazingly was still frozen by the time I got home in the evening! I was suitably impressed and will definitely be ordering from Wild & Game again (please do check them out and their Facebook page here for additional cooking inspiration!)


* Wild & Game produce kindly sent for review purposes. As ever, all opinions are my own

Thursday, 23 August 2018

The most rawrsome of t-shirts

Guess who's back at it again with the white vans amazingly imaginative blog post titles...THIS GIRL

Let's shake things up a bit.

Long time readers will know that I love fashion. And talking about it. And wearing it by virtue of  weird poses on this blog. Case in point here 

But today I'm talking MENS FASHION.

The lovely people at Jacamo got in touch asking if I'd like to treat the man in my life to a new look from their SS18 collection. M. isn't much of a shopper but I do think that he secretly quite enjoyed picking out some new bits from the Jacamo website. And having a parcel arrive for him and not me for a change. So here he is in action.

Jurassic Park tee here

First of all he chose this Jurassic Park tee as we're both huge fans of the films (no word of a lie: I could quite easily watch the films most weekends... that soundtrack though).

Walking through the woods, the park, and the long grass, it felt like a perfectly apt choice. Occasionally there was a rustle from a nearby bush and you know that feeling you get that you are being watched? Well, yes we were. But admittedly less raptor and more squirrel.


And what better shorts to walk around "Jurassic" park in then cargo shorts? This coming from a guy who loves his pockets (if the shorts or jeans in question don't have pockets, he's not interested). Forever wearing khaki shorts, he opted for a smarter black pair which received two thumbs up for pocket capacity.

Cargo shorts here (currently in the sale and also available in blue, khaki, navy & rust)

Lastly, he also chose this Jack Daniels tee as a throwback to our first ever holiday together where he used to have a shirt like this and locals would constantly be heckling him with novelties like: "JACK! Where are you going?" and "JACK! How's the whiskey?" Years on, and he can still rock a Jack Daniels t-shirt like a boss (admittedly I'm extremely biased).

Jack Daniel's tee here 

I always thought Jacamo only catered to the larger gentleman, however this whole experience taught me that this isn't the case at all! Jacamo stocks a wealth of sizes ranging from S to 5XL which was perfect for M. as his torso is what you'd call a pizza slice (broad shoulders, muscly arms and slim waist) so he had a good selection to choose from despite being of a slimmer build. He did say it was refreshing to have some t-shirts which weren't crazily slim fit and which offered some space so he wasn't 'hulk-ing' out of them. Particularly in this heatwave we've been having lately.

Both t-shirts featured above are standard fit, but the Jurassic Park tee also comes in long here if you are of taller stature and need the extra length. Do look up Jacamo here if you get the chance. They currently have a great range of clothing which you can find here. I will officially be borrowing both of M's new t-shirts because caring is sharing, right? ;)

A huge thank to you Jacamo for making my husband look like a rock star. And thank you to M. for being a good sport and modelling for me! ;)

* items in this post very kindly gifted by Jacamo. As ever, all words and opinions are my own