Simple Rustic Tomato Sauce

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This is one of the easiest and most economical dishes we know. It can be produced using store cupboard ingredients, and is incredibly flexible, served as a pasta sauce, on top of rice, as a pizza topping or as an alternative to ketchup with fish or steak.

Dawn: Is this another of your student specials?

Andrew: It is! By seeking out the discount ranges, a meal for four can be produced for about a pound! 

Dawn: A bargain!

Ingredients

Serves 2 as a pasta sauce

1 red or white onion, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tin of tomatoes

Olive oil for frying

Method

  • Over a medium heat and in a little olive oil, cook the onion for 5 minutes until it turns translucent.
  • Add the garlic, chilli and basil and cook for a further minute.
  • Now pour in the tin of tomatoes and turn the heat to a low simmer.
  • Stirring occasionally, allow the sauce to thicken over half an hour or so. This will allow the flavours to develop and the sauce to turn a deep shade of red.
  • When cooked it can be served as warm with pasta, or allowed to cool it can be used as an accompaniment.

Dawn: Can we be flexible with the herbs and spices, too?

Andrew: We can. Whatever is to hand can be used. If we were Italian of course we would be using fresh ripe tomatoes!

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Potato Bread

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Top of the mornin ‘to you! It’s St Patrick’s Day! And what a fabulous feeling it must be in Dublin this morning! A certain Mr O’Driscoll may be quite excused a few glasses of the ‘Black Stuff ‘on his retirement; and what a way to go out!

Dawn: I haven’t the slightest idea what you are talking about!

Andrew: A few episodes of Father Ted and you will catch up!

Ingredients

Serves 4

2 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 Egg, beaten
100g butter
3 tbsp flour
1.5 tbsp chopped parsley
1.5 tbsp chopped chives
1.5 tbsp chopped lemon thyme
A splash of milk
Salt and pepper
Seasoned flour
Bacon fat or butter

Method

  • Boil the potatoes and mash straight away.
  • Add the egg, butter, flour and herbs and mix well.
  • Season with plenty of salt and pepper, adding a few drops of  milk if the mixture is too stiff.
  • Shape into a  2cm thick  circle and then cut into eight pieces.
  • Dip in seasoned flour.
  • Fry in bacon fat or melted butter on a gentle heat.
  • Cook the ‘bread’ until crusty and golden on one side and then flip over and cook on the other side 4-5 minutes on each side will do.
  • Can be served hot with a knob of butter melting on top, or cold.
  • Whichever option, a touch of the black stuff is a great idea!

Dawn: Sounds a lovely dish!

Andrew: Indeed it is! 

For more ideas for your suppers, lunches and dinners, follow us at https://forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and at @Love-Food_UK on Twitter,as well as our Facebook and Mumsnet accounts.

Rustic Sausage and Pepper Pappardelle

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The humble sausage. Not the one with the very low meat content and tons of rusk and unmentionables, but a substantial and meat filled variety. It is part of the staple of many a European dinner table.

Andrew: Here we have used a really good pork sausage and red pepper to provide a robust and filling supper for a family. High meat content sausages hold their shape better here.

Dawn: Remember sausages were really developed as a way of making the meat go as far as it could. An excellent dish for economy. Also many sausages come already flavoured and make a wonderful variation on this dish. 

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely sliced

1 tsp chilli flakes

6 thick sausages

1 red pepper, deseeded and cubed

Olive oil for frying

Salt and pepper for seasoning

400g pappardelle pasta

Method

  • In a frying pan, heat a little oil and fry the sausages for 10 minutes, turning frequently until well browned.
  • Using a fork and kitchen scissors, cut the sausages into 2cm lengths and allow to continue cooking, so the cut ends take on the same colour.
  • Add the onion to the pan at this stage and fry gently for five minutes until it starts to soften and turn translucent.
  • Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further 30 seconds. Then the peppers go on and can be cooked until they soften too.
  • A splash of wine here, or even vodka, makes for a great flavour.
  • Meanwhile put a pan of salted water on to boil and cook the pappardelle according to instructions.
  • When the pasta is cooked, stir into the sausage mix,then serve in a large bowl so everyone can help themselves.

Andrew: This was very filling on a chilly late winter evening. 

Dawn: I like the vodka twist. The alcohol of course evaporates, but the flavour remains.

Andrew: Which reminds me! Coq au vin? 

Dawn: We had better cook that soon hadn’t we?

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