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The other day I had fun flipping through Fresh Spice, the recipe book from the Spice Course, looking at recipes. All of them have what seems like a massive number of spices (2-3). And by spice I mean things like mace, nutmeg, anise, fennel, cardamon, and chili.  I, and it seems most of the West, is used to seasoning our meals with herbs, like oregano, basil, thyme etc. So for me, a recipe with two spices and minimal to no herbs is unusual. And exciting!

There were so many recipes in this book that were enticing, but also look like a lot of work or have unusual ingredients (aka pheasant, quail eggs and other not-so-often used meats) that might be hard to get a hold of. A few have stood out to attempt at a later date, but one looked do-able. It was called “My Mum’s Sausage Pie”. For something that sounds simple, it was simple, but a lot of steps.

It involved cooking each step separately and then baking everything together in a casserole dish. First step was the simplest, bake the pork sausages, let cool and cut in half. While the sausages were in the oven, I sliced two red onions gentle sautéed them in butter and then added a sweet cider and a heap of spices (including cardamon, anise, white peppercorns and ginger). Then it was a matter of ever so gently letting that reduce until the onions had soaked in all the cider and spice goodness.

After that it was a serious of peeling potatoes: saving some for later and boiling the rest to mash. Easy enough there! The mashed potatoes were mixed with butter, milk and cream.

Until it came to using the saved potatoes. It was a bit of a challenge to slice the remaining potatoes into even and very thing chips. I then took the chips and tossed the with oil, a bit of shredded cheese, cilantro, pepper and salt.

I got a bit lazy at this point and just opened and chucked in the chopped tomatoes rather than reducing them a bit as well. I did this a) because I felt a bit lazy at this point and b) because I only had one can and the recipe called for two. I was afraid if I reduced the one can there wouldn’t be enough liquid.

Anyway, once everything was cooked (except the seasoned potato chips) everything was layered into a pyrex dish. It went onions, tomatoes, sausages and then the potato mash. Then the recipe asked for the seasoned chips to be stuck into the mash at “random and interesting angles”. So I did. Then into the 200 degree Celsius oven for about an hour, or until the chips were cooked, the mash was browned and the tomato bubbling away.

Served hot it was tasty! It wasn’t as flavor packed as I would have expected and by the end it felt like more work than the taste was worth (not that I didn’t like it). The onions were my favorite part. They were meltingly soft and so full of flavor. That is my critical judgement of my own cooking, but my husband and mother-in-law thought it was overall really tasty and seemed to enjoy it thoroughly! That’s what counts anyway right?

Anyway, it was a fun first stab at the recipes in a fairly daunting cookbook. While I crack it open and flip through its pages, it will be awhile before I attempt anything else out of it. I will say though, that I am excited to try and make the garam masala cookies (like ginger cookies) at some point (when I have the energy.)

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