Tag Archives: sauce

Sausage, barbeque sauce, new potatoes

I feel like sausages tonight, like sausages tonight.. that one doesn’t really fit.
I was shopping this afternoon and struggling to decide what to cook tonight, when I remembered that a week or so back I’d bought a jar of “Sausages Tonight”, on the back of the success of “Chicken Tonight”.

So I went wandering Tesco’s aisles in search of sausages, and was surprised at how many different types of sausages there are. They even had some stuffed with cheese – which sound interesting.
I’ve always liked sausages in fry ups, and also sausage rolls if done well. They’re few and far between, but Parsons stores in and around Bristol do superb sausage rolls.
Sadly, I’ve never been able to cook sausages really. I tried in my old flat several times and huge great plumes of smoke resulted. I’ve since learnt this was likely because I had the oil too hot in the fryer. After the smoke experience, I tried with a deep fat fryer, with less than satisfactory results. I tried grilling them but they seemed to turn out very dry.

So, with that in mind, I browsed the sausages, and picked some ordinary pork sausages.
I considered the organic ones, but they were crazy expensive and all very small. Which is odd. I can understand why some organic things might be smaller, but sausages? It’s all random bits of meat stuffed in a skin anyway – surely organic sausages could be the same size as ‘normal’ sausages?

Strangely enough, sausages are all the same price. Tesco’s own, branded (walls, etc), organic – all seem to be priced around 2-2.50 for 300-400g. Obviously there’s “value” crap cheaper, but I make enough money to eat better these days, and I’m trying to teach myself to appreciate good food, so this is no time to get short-arms/long-pockets syndrome.

The most normal ones I could find that looked like proper sausages (“90% pork” on label), were part of the range offered by “The Black Farmer” aka Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones. These stood out, because I saw a kind-of reality show on Channel4 a while ago where he took inner city black kids and taught them about farming. He claims (or certainly used to) to be the only black farmer in the UK. Was an amusing documentary though – seeing the reactions of extremely white people in Devon, when the local black population has gone up 10-fold overnight.

So ingredients used tonight:
– Knorr “Sausages Tonight” – Ranch Barbeque sauce – with tomatoes, onion, and paprika. Also contains soy sauce, lemon juice, parsley, and a few other bits and bobs.

– The Black Farmer – premium pork sausages.
It says on the top of the (400g) packet “flavours without frontiers”. This set me off in the supermarket singing a rehashed version of “Games Without Frontiers” by Peter Gabriel to myself. “Flavours without frontiers….and without…err….fears, if looks could kill they probably will….” and so on.
Actually “if cooks could kill” would work better. With a bit of work, it could definitely be a cookery song, to go on the tv/radio advert for the sausages.

– New potatoes. Bought in the poncy bag because from the day Tesco started selling pre-packed potatoes, their loose potatoes have become almost non-existent.

So at home, in the kitchen, I go for a wok to fry these sausages in based on moderately good past experience.
Instructions on the sausages says “Heat a dessert spoon of oil in a frying pan. Cook on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes, turning regularly. Drain before serving”.
I got the potatoes on, then started heating the oil. I added some sausages, and wait.
This is taking a long time. I’m hoping thats a good thing because I’m told the reason they go black externally, but uncooked internally, is down to cooking them on too high a heat.
They seem to go brownish, so I turn them.

Sometimes its amazing what makes me laugh when I’m bored. One of the sausages seems to have kind-of ballooned in one part so its not quite as sausage-shaped as the others. The fat spitting sets it off kinda rocking back and forth like it’s moving on its own. I mention to a vegetarian housemate in the kitchen at this point how it might not be dead yet, as it’s still moving. Sadly, it stops rocking before she looks, making me look like I’m totally mad.

After a long time of cooking, turning, etc. I’m still not convinced these sausages are done. They’ve browned in some parts, but they still look whiter on the ends. I decide to cut one up and taste it to see if it’s edible. It tastes kind-of hard, but edible.
Still not convinced it’s cooked right, I give it another few mins.

Shortly after, i try again, with another sausage.
Thing is – I’m poking them with a very sharp knife. I ditch it and decide to use a normal dinner/eating-knife to see if it’s harder than I’d expect a cooked sausage to be. Still not sure if it’s cooked.
Rather than risk food poisoning, I decide to cut the sausages up into smaller pieces, as small-pieces-plus-sauce seems to work a treat with the chicken stir-fry.
I give it another few mins frying and although I’m still not convinced the sausage-bites are cooked properly, I’m bored of waiting.

“Stir in the sauce and heat through for a few minutes”.
Gives me time to drain the potatoes and put butter on them.
Only realised after I added the sauce, I missed a step listed both on the sausages and the sauce jar, where it said to drain off the excess fat before eating. It’s a bit late to remove it now i’ve added the sauce to it, so I’ll have to put up with it now.

Heated sauce for…3-4mins (not sure what the definition of “a few” is), and plated.

It’s not so bad. It’s not anything like normal HP Bbq Sauce. Probably healthier I guess. It’s not revolting, but my screwed up tastebuds are taking a long time to adjust to eating stuff that doesn’t have more E-numbers and artificial colourings than real things.
I probably poured on a bit too much sauce really as the sausages were drowning in it. I do also wish I’d drained the oil out before adding the sauce.
And even now I’m not sure those sausages were cooked properly. I feel a little weird at the moment, but I’m hoping it’ll culminate in “early night and awake refreshed”, rather than “long night in the bathroom”.
I’ll probably have another go during the week, as I’ve got half a pack of sausages left, and half a jar of sauce to use up.

Pasta – Carbonara Tortelloni

Friday nights have traditionally (for a few years anyway) been where I’ve had no real evening meal.
I would come home, relax, watch tv, and eventually about 9.30ish get hungry enough to need food. I would then snack on toast, chocolate, biscuits, or sometimes just go to bed and skip dinner altogether.
This very evening for example I got home just before 6, had a twix ice cream, a cup of tea, and a large vanilla and chocolate cookie I got from the bakery this afternoon.

So tonight I thought I’d break that habit with the second new meal of the week for me.
I went to Tescos a couple of days ago and picked up what’s described as “Carbonara Tortelloni” or “pasta”.
The reason I went for this is because I never used to like Chicken Pies when I lived with my parents. Now I like them a lot.
I’ve tried pasta before and not liked it.
When I say this to people, they normally ask “how can you not like pasta?”. I don’t know.
I’ve tried noodles (excuse my terrible cooking/food knowledge if this doesn’t count as pasta) and hated them. Supernoodles they were.
So tonight, pasta.
It’s part of Tesco’s “italian” range and it looks nice enough in the packet.
It is apparently “italian egg pasta parcels filled with pancetta, smoked ham, ricotta and Edam cheeses”.
I like cheese, I like ham.. what’s to go wrong there?

So I got it out, and read the instructions (open packet corner, add 75ml of water, microwave for 1minute, then shake, microwave for 1 minute). It sounds easy enough.
After I’d struggled to find anything that could measure 75ml of water, and decided 80ml was “close e-f**king-nough” – I measured the water, opened the packet and….well I’ll be honest I thought it smelt quite disgusting.
I’m not letting that stop me though, so in the microwave it goes.
At the mid-cooking shake it smelt decidedly different. A bit like something I’ve smelt before. Smoky bacon crisps perhaps? I actually like them, so maybe it will taste like them too and I’ll have something else I can eat.

Cooking time over, removed, left to stand for 30 seconds or so, and I nervously put an egg pasta parcel into my mouth. Tastes…well..I don’t know really. Quite bland to be honest.
I force myself to try another and not mix “bland” with “don’t like”.
I’ve eaten 10 or so of them and they’re still a bit bland. Less bland than they started but still not particularly exciting.
Also they have cooled a lot, so I whack them back in the microwave for another 30 seconds.
Is pasta meant to be hot? I don’t know.
Surely not, if its only cooked for 2minutes?

I remove it from the microwave, and place another pasta parcel in my mouth.
Still quite bland.

So I try something that has worked for me in the past when I’ve not known how else to make things taste different, but have known I didn’t like them much as they were.
When I lived with my parents, I refused all sauces. I’d have burgers and chips without ketchup or any sauce.
At some point since moving out of parents’ aged ~18yrs old, I’ve gotten a likening for HP barbeque sauce. I generally put it on everything from Birds Eye “simply cod” fillets, to new potatoes, to chicken burgers.
Most everything except sausage sandwiches (where I prefer brown sauce) get HP barbequed to the max.

Tesco’s finest carbonara tortelloni – in barbeque sauce.
It doesn’t really work. Tastes of barbeque sauce if I put enough on – other than that, bit bland.
I eat another few (probably still less than 1/4 of the 300g packet) and stop because I don’t really feel that hungry anymore.
God knows how anyone is meant to eat all of this in one sitting. Maybe they’re not meant to have the twix, biscuits, cup of tea, etc..first?

I’ll likely try it again somewhen, but I might buy a pasta sauce to go on it. I’m putting that down as a general positive – I didn’t totally hate it – but it is just as boring as anything else I might have cooked tonight, as it was.