Bonfire night will soon be upon us and the skies full of wonder and colour – and noise!!!
I remember when I was young we always had our own bonfire and fireworks in the garden – perhaps there were not so many of the well organised large events there are now.
Health and safety was probably a tad different back in the 60s and 70s!!! with us kids being told to stand back whilst Dad stoked the huge fire he had been building for weeks and setting off numerous fireworks at the same time.
In those days we drank from mugs of homemade soup or hot chocolate and hotdogs whilst standing around the fire but nowadays with many folk attending large supervised events – often without a fire at all – they are either eating before they venture out with the wellies, gloves and scarves or once back home.
So, a hot nourishing wholesome meal is probably what is needed – one that needs no last minute preparation and can either cook itself in the oven and be served before leaving or left bubbling away in the oven ready for the return of the frozen brood.
There is a dish that I learnt from my dear late mother in law, that ticks all the boxes and which I have served to both my own family and to my Merrow Savouries’ Halloween night or Bonfire night guests many times. It is pretty old fashioned and even ‘retro’ – but it is still very good and just right for a cold winter’s night.
It is ‘Pauline’s Sausage and Apple Bake’…
Fry lots of onions and tip them into the bottom of a deep casserole dish.
Then slice some eating apples – keep the skin on if you like – and place the slices on top of the onions.
Now on top of this place some good quality sausage meat – don’t buy the cheap stuff or you will have cup loads of horrid fat running out of the dish onto your oven floor or worst still coagulating into your family’s tummies. Or you could slice some of your favourite sausages lengthways and place onto the apples. Now what do you like with sausages? It may be tomato ketchup? Or English mustard or some sweet chilli sauce or dill mustard? Whatever it is – spread some over the meat.
Then you need a topping – and it is potatoes. Pauline used to pipe mash potatoes on top – like a shepherd’s pie, but I have also par-boiled sliced potatoes and placed on top with a good sprinkling of strong cheddar. Or mix n match with half sliced potatoes and half sliced sweet potatoes. Or top with colcannon where you mix spring onions and cabbage into the mash – delish. Or how about slices of par boiled potatoes and parsnips or a butternut squash?
That is it – or build it higher and add some sautéed carrots or leeks(mmm) to the pile.
Now place the dish in the oven and leave it there for a good hour or so bubbling away – making sure the meat is well cooked. I like to serve Pauline’s bake in just a bowl with a fork as it does not really need more vegetables or a plate and knife and fork.
A perfect tasty winter supper to welcome you home.