Tuesday, 7 August 2012

From peasant food to posh

A couple of weeks ago I went into the lovely Define deli and wine merchants on Chester Road, Sandiway, Cheshire (more on that fab place in future blogs) to pick up a bottle of wine for a cosy Friday night in. I left with not only the wine but also with a packet of Tuscan sausages too. It was ridiculous really as Monsieur Victory was treating me to a night off from Vivi’s pantry and kitchen so I didn’t need them whatsoever that day. But Define is packed full of Mediterranean temptations and I knew that on the sly I’d have to have a little something something. The fact that they’re made just outside of Pisa was too exciting for words so the transaction just had to be made.

Knowing I’d be away for the weekend, I popped them in the freezer loving the fact that I’d temporarily forget about them and then get a surprise when looking in the freezer for something to defrost. And boy did my heart sing with joy when I re-discovered those bad boys and knew they’d be just the thing to lift me from the Monday blues.

 Papa's Italian Casserole is the title of this recipe (click here for it) as my dad is a great food lover and he’s one of the people who I can talk to endlessly about “scran” and recipes. I always text him about what I’m making as I know he’d be drooling but will be making something equally as sumptuous himself. Plus he’s been learning Italian for a while and can natter away in the beautiful language so this recipe pays homage to him. It’s made up of onions, garlic, chickpeas, kidney beans, red and yellow peppers, passata a dash of red wine vinegar, basil and oregano. Had I been more organised I would have probably bought a few different types of beans but I like using up what’s there in the Victory Pantry. I mashed the chickpeas since my husband Monsieur Victory isn’t a fan but it gave the casserole a real robust and thick quality so it was a winner. Thankfully Mr V thought so too.

Mr Victory was happy with the chickpea situation
I was totally outrageous (yes it’s Rock n Roll in the Victory household) and crisped up some prosciutto ham under the grill and crumbled it over the casserole for extra flavour and a bit of crunch. I was going to serve it with pasta but I had left over bread rolls so in full war time ration fashion (and wearing super cute 50’s pinny which heightened the experience!) I whacked them under the grill and rubbed them with garlic and sprinkled with basil for a low fat garlic bread option. Yes the sausages are posh but the rest of the ingredients are really cheap and cheerful from any supermarket and packed full of vitamins and minerals so a good compromise on posh vs peasant food! Plus you can use any sausages you like and will suit any budget but a higher meat content will be the best.

Meaty Goodness!
If you absolutely must have the Tuscan sausages I used in the recipe then get yourself to Define if you’re in the Cheshire area or visit http://www.definefoodandwine.com. They cost about a fiver but otherwise you can buy them online from the company Vallebona www.vallebona.co.uk. However be prepared to part with well earned cash as they’re pretty pricey at £7.49. BUT if your budget permits - think about it; the rest of the ingredients are next to nothing and you can even use scraps of veg that are on the turn in the fridge and they’re cheaper than treating yourself to a takeaway. But they are just gorgeous too, really lean and meaty and I can’t even begin to describe the flavour. I could cry it’s all eaten and over. Hopefully yours will be lovely too. Let me know how you get on!


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