I have been tripping on comfort foods extensively these days. I don’t know if it’s the hangover of bad times or the fact that the local weather thinks it’s in London?! I don’t advocate eating to comfort oneself but I cannot deny the values of it. Since the mantra is moderation, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to use comfort foods as hugs. Hugs on the inside! I am also crunched for time, I leave work at 4 but after my almost daily fresh product shopping and the commute, I am home only by 5. I have Ally’s school work to supervise and the house to oversee, so I get cooking by about 6:30, which gives me a clean hour before the baby wants dinner. Most of the time her meals are a tad different merely because her requirements are so different but then there are certain dishes which Ally has taken to very early in life. She likes Shepherd’s Pie, Meatloaf, Baked Tuna Casserole, Chicken Tetrazzini, Moussaka, most Gratins and of course Mac and Cheese. Her latest favourite is ‘Toad in a Hole’, a traditional British recipe that my mother made when we were kids.
My mother kept these old editions of Good Housekeeping and Woman & Home from the 70’s, she had relatives who bought her handpicked magazines. I sometimes wonder how she knew of them, without ever going abroad (back then), without internet... she was hugely interested in baked foods and meat and vegetable casseroles, I still swear by her Chicken Stew and we have it through the winter months, every day! This recipe is a family special, we add a special touch here and there and it makes a world of a difference. Try it on a weekend and keep the leftovers for breakfast. Good sides with this dish are basic green salads, I use rocket leaves in all my salads now, it has a nutty bite which helps me avoid walnuts etc. In my house the only way nuts are consumed is roasted, not in Pulao’s, salads, even cupcakes and cookies!
2 large eggs, beaten
1 white onion, sliced fine
½ cup plain flour
200 ml Milk mixed with 100 ml water
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 thick pork sausages
6 strips of streaky bacon
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp dry chives
Sift the flour in a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and add the beaten eggs, then the milk, mustard, onion and seasoning, use a whisky to remove any little lumps of flour. The consistency should be about that of ordinary double cream, but no thinner. Rest for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220C
Sort the sausages and wrap each one with a strip of uncooked bacon, you can hold it in place with string or a toothpick. Coat your baking dish (it should fit the sausages snugly) with the melted butter. Tuck in the sausages and bake open for 4-5 minutes till the skin sizzles. Pour in the prepared batter, garnish the top with chives. Transfer the baking dish back into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve with nice brioche bread, some green salad. You can also try a nice sweet onion gravy.
Sweet Onion Gravy
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, add 4 tbsp of grated red onions, 1 tsp of crushed fresh garlic, 1 cup of stock, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp chilli flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Cook it on low for 10 minutes and serve.