Highs and lows in the Bangers & Mash kitchen – part 2

I’m so happy to report a fortnight of consistent highs in the Bangers & Mash kitchen. I think I’m getting better at tackling more adventurous dishes at the weekend when I have more time, and keeping things very, very simple on the more hectic week days.

There was an almost-low at the weekend when my butternut squash gnocchi threatened to go pear-shaped at the last-minute. I’d spent an age preparing the squash and potato: first baking the veggies; passing it through a sieve before making the dumplings; gently simmering; and finally frying off. Of course when it came to the frying stage, my non-stick frying pan was in the dishwasher so I resorted to the non-non-stick pan.  And my gorgeous little dumplings instantly stuck to the pan and turned to mush. Quite infuriating. However, I don’t give in that easily.

Butternut squash gnocchi – so nearly a disaster but turned out quite gorgeous in the end

I retrieved the expensive frying pan and started again, and all the effort was worth it. A beautiful dish but quite a faff! I’ll post the recipe soon, but make sure you have a whole afternoon free if you fancy trying it out.

So on to singling out some of the highs. First up was a Thai-style cauliflower soup with coriander garlic bread. This made a perfect easy supper for a Meat Free Monday. It’s not one of the prettiest dishes I’ve ever come across but it tasted so good. My Mum wants the recipe, so I’m under orders to post it very soon on the blog.

Thai-style cauliflower soup with coriander and garlic bread

My Dad and Step-Mum came to stay for the weekend so I cooked wild garlic risotto again, after making them forage for the ingredients with the kids en route to a spot of Pooh Sticks. It seemed to go down very well. I followed it up with a simple plum and stem ginger fool, using Greek yoghurt instead of double cream, and it was absolutely delicious.

Plum and stem ginger fool, made with Greek yoghurt instead of double cream

A perfect dish for a busy week night is this grilled chicken parmesan from Karista’s Kitchen. Very simple grilled chicken breast with mozzarella (slightly confused about where the parmesan was though), which I served with steamed rice and stir-fried spring greens. I think this one could become a bit of a staple mid-week supper.

Grilled chicken parmesan (or should that be mozzarella?) from Karista’s Kitchen

Then there was the fantastically easy asparagus with poached eggs. What more need I say? New season asparagus with dippy eggs. Perfect.

A super speedy mid-week supper: asparagus with poached egg

Although this blog is called Bangers & Mash, I’m conscious I haven’t posted nearly enough sausage-related recipes, despite them being fairly fundamental to our family food. This week I made two very tasty but very different banger-based meals, showing the brilliant versatility of the humble sausage. The first was a quick and easy sausage and fennel bake, and the second was an indulgent slow-cooked spicy sausage penne, which I cooked when friends came over for dinner on Saturday night. Very good with a couple of bottles of red wine.

Sausage and fennel bake

Slow-cooked spicy sausage penne

Now, over to the last fortnight’s meal plans…

Monday 16 April
Lunch: rice salad
Dinner: kids – ratatouille and rice (F) adults – Thai-style cauliflower soup and coriander garlic bread 

Tuesday 17 April
Lunch: tarragon chicken pasta (F)
Dinner: kids – fish fingers, chips and peas (F) adults – purple sprouting broccoli with Thai dressing

Wednesday 18 April
Lunch: sweet pepper and mushroom cous cous 
Dinner: kids – salmon fish cakes (F) adults – Chinese sausage and noodle soup

Thursday 19 April
Lunch: salad wraps
Dinner: kids – tasty chicken rice (F) adults – steamed asparagus and dippy poached eggs

Friday 20 April
Lunch: pasta salad
Dinner: cottage pie

Saturday 21 April
Lunch: bread and cheese
Dinner: wild garlic risotto and salad; plum and stem ginger fool

Sunday 22 April
Lunch: spaghetti carbonara and salad 
Dinner: bread and cheese

Monday 23 April
Lunch: cheese and chutney rolls
Dinner: cottage pie (leftovers from Friday)

Tuesday 24 April
Lunch: red slaw (recipe to follow)
Dinner: kids – ratatouille and rice adults – grilled chicken parmesan

Wednesday 25 April
Lunch: rice and chicken salad
Dinner: pork, black pudding and apple pie (F)

Thursday 26 April
Lunch: ham and salad rolls
Dinner: baked sausages and fennel

Friday 27 April
Lunch: carrot and coriander soup
Dinner: spicy spinach and potato, chapatis and raita

Saturday 28 April
Lunch: falafels, pitta bread, tzatsiki and salad
Dinner: slow-cooked spicy sausage penne; rhubarb and stem ginger fool

Sunday 29 April
Lunch: butternut squash gnocchi with garlic butter
Dinner: bread and cheese

F = from freezer

4 thoughts on “Highs and lows in the Bangers & Mash kitchen – part 2

    • I thought for a long time I didn’t like fennel either! I think it’s because I’m not keen on aniseed. But I’ve recently rediscovered it and absolutely love it. Although still not too sure about it raw. Would love to take part in Presto Pasta Nights, but the spicy sausage penne isn’t a quick dish to prepare. It’s not difficult but it is slow-cooked and takes a few hours. Would it still fit the brief? If not, I’ve got some others I’ve been meaning to post for a while…

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