In addition to the blog I administer a Facebook group. I publish breaking stories and examples of projects during the execution stages, plus some ‘funnies’ that I come across. I recently shared a clip from the BBC TV show “Master Chef – the Professionals”. The task was to produce in 20 minutes the ultimate “Bangers ‘n’ Mash”. Before the contestants embarked upon the challenge I watched a judge produce the dish. The presenter, Greg Wallace, was somewhat sceptical at the outset as this is a very easy dish or at least a very popular one. It’s a form of modern day ‘peasant food’ which is served in many home kitchens up and down the UK, on a weekly basis. As was pointed out, it is also a ‘pub classic’, meaning you’ll find it on the menus of “Gastro Pubs” the length and breadth of the country.
I highly recommend you watch the clip which is available at bbc.co.uk. I was impressed by the amount of detail that went into the cooking and especially the care in making the gravy.
As far as my endeavours are concerned, I wished to make something similar yet different. The driving force in my cooking is a taste versus SYNs (Slimming World diet). A good pork sausage can contain 5 or more SYNs each. Mashed potato made with butter, cream and flour adds a substantial amount to the total. That’s without a rich gravy made with ale and flambéed in brandy!!
Conceptually, I wanted to control the amount of food served. I find mashed potatoes to be a fodder – goes down yet its not filling as such because you can’t chew – you could just swallow it. To get around this I fused two classics, sausage & mash, and Cottage Pie. To alleviate the SYNs I used for myself a SYN free Rosemary & Red Onion vegetarian sausage, and for ‘her-in-doors’, Richmond’s thick pork sausages.
I began by air-frying for 25 minutes the sausages from frozen, ensuring I turned then regularly. Separately I had quantities of carrot batons, peas, and a SYN free mash left over from the previous day. All that I need to prepare was the gravy. I sliced a small red onion, and a couple of mushrooms, and fried these with a squirt of 1-cal oil until the onions softened and the mushrooms started to brown. At this point I added balsamic vinegar, and in a cup diluted a beef stock cube (Oxo) with 1/2 cup of boiling water. As the pan reduced I poured in the stock, & allowed the pan to simmer for approximately 8 minutes or so.
When the sausages were ready, I sliced then into bite size pieces and layered then into individual pie dishes (these are quite small, hence my control of portion size). Next portioned the carrots and peas, poured over my gravy, then sealed the deal with the mash on top. I had the remains of a fat free sauce which I had made for the previous evening (veg stock cube, surplus veg water, mixed herbs, and Quark) so I gently moistened the sculpted mash with this rudimentary sauce.
The pies were grilled for 20 minutes and further reheated for 5 minutes (commuting issues). As a side I wanted to add some vegetables tending on the side of ‘Speed Foods’. Red peppers, celery, red cabbage, broad beans, green peppers, mushrooms, courgette and baby plum tomatoes were steamed in the pressure cooker for 5 minutes to yield a very seasonal, different form of mixed veg. I later added a splash of fat free vinaigrette just to give the veg a little kick. I often roast veg but this was quite different and a crowd pleaser.
I had prepared a starter of Feta cheese with Watermelon on a bed of Rocket. Again utilising allowances so it was 45g of Feta to make a Free Food starter.
What we enjoyed was an intimate dinner, watching the Autumn sunset, comfortably filled without the need for a dessert course.
Tags: Diet, Easy, Family, Food Optimising, Free Foods, Slimming World