When the clocks fall back and the nights grow cold and dark there is nothing better than sitting in a cosy, tea light twinkling, home with your loved ones scoffing down some fabulous, heart warming comfort food.
A couple of weeks ago the children and I were invited to supper with Paul Rankin. The RSVP flew straight back with a big fat yes of course, why wouldn’t I, sorry we, want to spend an evening talking about food with a Michelin star chef who also happens to have an Irish accent? 😉
Comfort food. What do those words mean to you? Dishes from your childhood? Recipes passed down from generation to generation? Dishes that remind you of a happy memory? Or just food that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
Paul has recently developed, along with Finnebrogue (an amazing artisan Irish food producer) a range of sausages using his own traditional authentic Irish recipe. They have a high meat content, are very tasty and the kids must have eaten about 6 EACH on the night! He is trying to encourage families to bring back classic recipes back to the dinner table and you can’t get more classic, or British, than Sausage & Mash.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Sausages have been prepared and enjoyed for nearly 2000 years.
- The modern word ‘sausage’ comes from the old French word ‘saussiche’, which is derived from the Latin word ‘salsus’ meaning ‘salted’.
- The term ‘Bangers’ originated from the fact that sausages, particularly the kind made during World War II under rationing, were made with water so they were far more likely to explode under high heat if not cooked carefully.
On the evening Paul and his team gave us a cooking demonstration which thankfully did end with us eating the results too! Here are a few bitesized pieces of knowledge that I acquired that night….
- Maris Piper potatoes – the winner as far as mash is concerned.
- Champ is a mashed potato recipe that has ensured I will never cook them another way (6 spring onions, 1/2 pint of cream, 4 tablespoons of butter, salt – pure heaven)
- Onion gravy is a necessity. Cook the onions slowly for at least 15 minutes and then add a stock and pretty much anything else you want to it: brown sauce, Worcestershire sauce, your choice, your gravy, you rules. Remember that even Michelin Star Chefs need quality time at home and sometimes just add a ready made gravy mix to the onions!
- Good quality sausages don’t need pricking to cook them.
- Get the kids involved in the cooking process. My kids hung on Paul’s every word and remembered everything he said. He inspired them so much that they’ve become a bit critical of my cooking techniques! Cooking skills are a necessity though and the sooner they learn to cook a full meal the sooner I can sit back with a glass of wine whilst watching The Chase.
Although the evening was just about the humble sausage the overall message was also about family time, bonding, sharing and enjoying life in general. We’d love for you to tell us what your go to comfort food recipes are. Please comment below and lets recipe swap too!
Get recipes and watch videos from the man himself by clicking here.
PS. Paul, Scarlett and Violet have told me that’s it’s rude not to invite someone back for dinner so they extend the invitation to you, HOWEVER, Silly Sean must come too, complete with his master of disguises 🙂