Gourmet Bangers & Mash

When you've got some good sausage in, it's a crime not to ...

Bangers & Mash is a classic British dish. It should be kept simple: sausages, mash and gravy. Done, that's all, no need to faff it up any more ...

... although we can.

High meat content sausages cook best in the oven, in my opinion, somewhere like 180C (350F?) for about 30 minutes, turned half way through and they'll come out coloured up and perfectly cooked through.

Do that ...

Meanwhile, peel and boil some potatoes and some butternut squash. This is the first deviation: butternut squash, which lends a real depth to the mash. You'll need about 30 minutes, so get on with it ... preparation, then about 20 minutes of boiling, drain, mash in butter and then using a spatula, really refine the mash. Some like to pass it through a sieve, but that's for restaurants.

You'll also want a gravy ...

I made up a simple gravy with a beef stock cube, poured over some portobello mushrooms sautéed in butter and some shredded onion. This is the second deviation: mushrooms. What they bring to the party is well worth having, and I bet restaurants will use them in their gravy but not serve them, which seems a real shame.

Cook that long and slow, reducing gently to concentrate the flavours ...

Ready to eat? Serve up!

Mash down first, mushrooms spooned over. Sausages on top, onions spooned over. Just poured carefully around the side.

Grab your diggers and get in there!


Renhjärta Risotto

Renhjärta Risotto
Risotto is a simple dish of gently cooked Arborio Rice.

Should it be here? On this website? Well, yes ... having read Paul & Shou-Ching Jaminet's The Perfect Health Diet I am left thinking that simple starches are not at all an issue if you're athletic and not trying to lose weight. I'm happy to include simple starches like this every now and again.

That, and what a wonderful way to finish off the last of the reindeer heart that my friend brought be back from Sweden.

Simply sliced, it was folded through cooked risotto just before serving.

The risotto is a simple enough dish to prepare ...

Have a good bowl of stock alongside, a heavy based frying pan and get on with it. Chopped onion softened in butter, a good chunk of butter, then the rice dropped in and stirred in the butter until it becomes almost translucent. Chopped garlic goes in now.

Now ladle in stock. First, a good amount and reduce it quickly. Drop the heat and ladle in less, stirring the rice as you go. Season to taste.

Fold in slices of reindeer heart at the end. Thinly chopped chestnut mushrooms would be nice if you're all our of reindeer heart ...


Smoked Renhjärta

Smoked renhjärta, or reindeer heart, is a no-preparation meal in itself.

A delicacy of Scandinavian cuisine, reindeer heart is utterly gorgeous; the finest truffle chocolate you have ever tasted and the fat, so rich without being cloy.

Simply slice and wolf down.

You could slice or cube up the heart and include in a hearty stew, but that does seem a shame and a waste of such a fine ingredient.

Making a dish of finesse to show off the delicacy, it should be served simply - specifically chosen leaves of watercress, rocket, pea shoots, and stems of dill and parsley.

Slice the heart into thin slices and serve under the leaves with berry compote to accompany.