Tuesday 20 December 2011

Christmas bangers and mash

My neighbours and her two kids come over after work today to see our Christmas tree.  It was such a lovely visit.  Watching the kids giggling by the tree was pure delight.  Sitting chatting to Paula while the kids played together and E played ukelele was a pleasure.  Meanwhile the Mexicale Pie cooked in the oven.  It is a meal I make regularly and don't stress over.  Unlike Saturday night's dinner of fancy festive bangers and mash.

We had decorated the tree and I had planned on making a special Christmas meal for E and Sylvia and myself to share.  When planning the meal, I hadn't counted on my time being put out of whack by the sudden demise of my old camera requiring a trip to the city to buy a new one.  Taking photos with a new camera was frustrating.  My timing was out.

Sylvia was narky with waiting for dinner.  I didn't have any onions for the gravy.  My sausages were threatening to burn under the grill.  It was too hot to turn on the oven to bake the side dish.  Then Paula dropped over with a Christmas card and the news that the cool change was upon us.  I was just a bit stressed.  Probably just as well she didn't stay too long.

I had hoped I might have time to set a festive table.  As it was, I was lucky to find a skerrick of energy to fling a tartan runner on the table and a few decorations.  It isn't easy to organise dinner when your plans are over-ambitious and a toddler is at large!  At least dinner was delicious.

I had found a recipe for cheese sausages in Sam Stern's Eat Vegetarian.  A bit of gruyere cheese and a handful of cranberries gave these snags a festive feel.  My plans to bake pecan crusted sweet potato with sour cream morphed into a mashed sweet potato.  Much nicer in that heat!  I ended up using the leftover leeks and unused sour cream in a sauce.  I microwaved some broccolini for a bit of green.  It all worked rather well.  Especially those sausages.  They were fantastic.

We enjoyed the meal and packed Sylvia off to bed.  Then we could enjoy strawberry ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert.  A few days later E said something about how the mashed pumpkin was much nicer than usual.  When I told him it was sweet potato, he exclaimed that this was why he liked it so much. 

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Edible Gift Ideas for Christmas
This time two years ago: Royal Botantic Garden Edinburgh
This time three years ago: Apricot, Berry and Bran Muffins
This time four years ago: Nutroast for dinosaurs

Gruyere and cranberry veggie sausages
Adapted from Sam Stern's Eat Vegetarian
serves 4

175g gruyere cheese, grated
170g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 leek, finely chopped white part
1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
handful of dried cranberries, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp parsley, chopped (I forgot)
grated rind and juice of half a lemon (I forgot)
3 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp mustard
seasoning, as required

To crumb:
1 egg
1/2 tsp seeded mustard
70g fresh breadcrumbs
melted butter or oil spray for grilling

Mix all ingredients, except those needed to crumb the sausages.  Shape into 8 fat little sausages.  To crumb, lightly whisk egg and seeded mustard in a shallow bowl and place breadcrumbs in another.  Dip each sausage in egg mixture and then roll in breadcrumbs.  (They seemed a bit fragile while raw but held together wonderfully once cooked.)  Spray with oil and place under the grill (broiler).  Cook for about 10 minutes, turning regularly until evenly cooked and golden brown.

Smoky maple sweet potato mash
Inspired by Helen

500g sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup leek greens, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
freshly ground black pepper

Steam sweet potato and leeks for about 20 minutes.  Mash with remaining ingredients.  Give a vigourous stir with a spoon and check seasoning.

Red pepper and leek sauce

olive oil plus butter
greens from a leek, finely chopped
1 shallow, finely chopped
1/2 x 400g jar of roasted red peppers, drained and finely chopped
pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 generous spoonful of light sour cream
water, to thin sauce

Cook leek greens and red peppers gently in olive oil and butter for about 20-30 minutes, until wilted and smelling good.  Add seasoning and sour cream.  Heat sour cream, stirring frequently.  Check seasoning and add water if you need to thin the sauce.

On the stereo:
A dark noel: the very best of excelsis projekt: various artists


  1. I really love the sound of that red pepper and leek sauce!

  2. Yum! The sausage recipe sounds great! I've never had bangers and mash, meat based or otherwise, what "kind" of sausage is it? I really love the sausage recipes in Vegan Brunch, but I think they're more of the Italian sausage variety.

  3. Oh, you make me so ashamed of having no tree nor any decorations! :S So, instead, I'll focus on how delicious the mash sounds :)

  4. A lovely seasonal type of meal, I love the idea of the smoked paprika and maple in the sweet potato mash. Happy Holidays!

  5. I think these take prize for the fanciest veggie sausages I have seen or heard of! I love the addition of cranberries too. I'd like that any time I think. Great effort Johanna!

    Also, that comment from E about the mashed potatoes made me chuckle :)

  6. Ummm wow. Now I know what I'll be having on Christmas! This sounds fantastic!

    I'm so sorry about the camera! Such a pain. Hopefully you'll get used to the new one soon!

  7. Thanks Lisa - it was quite piquant from the peppers but a nice contrast with the sausages

    Thanks Gina - the sausages are not at all like the gluten flour sausages that are quite popular - they are more like cheese and breadcrumbs but surprisingly have the right flavour and texture to seem like a good substitute for sausages - quite a british style - a bit like these which I photographed when sliced - Cheesy pumpkin sausages

    Thanks Hannah - mash is easy - I like to try throwing in different flavours but E likes to stick to his tried and true - highly recommend it for comfort if you haven't any christmas docs up (or buy some tinsel and throw it over your computer)

    Thanks Adam and theresa - those are my idea of festive flavours - have a great holiday

    Thanks Kari - they are rather fancy but the Mushroom, chestnut and couscous sausages that I made some time ago are probably even fancier and just as good - who can resist a fancy veg sausage!

    Thanks Joanne - the camera is still feeling odd but I am enjoying using it - good luck with your christmas meal

  8. Everything sounds delicious! Having never had real bangers, I am so curious to tyr these. Cranberries, hmm? Interesting combo. And the photos look great!

  9. Everything sounds and looks amazing, especially the sausages. I've made my seitan sausages before I think, but never ones like this. Must try them. :)


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