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Cook the week – sausagemeat and fennel pie

January 9, 2015

farmers market dubai organic vegetablesIt’s become a balancing act that’s a challenge and a pleasure. It’s improved my confidence and abilities as a cook and made me more experimental and intuitive about mixing flavours and ingredients. This source of many new tastes and recipes? What has caused this revolution in my kitchen? My main grocery shop of the week on Friday mornings at the Farmers’ Market makes me think on my feet and judge with my senses rather than following a shopping list.

Sometimes it’s hard to judge how much food we’ll need and what to do with it but I’m getting better and more ingenious in making sure that by Thursday night nothing is left or thrown away ready for the next unpacking of deliciously fresh, organic veg.

I’ll admit that my excitement sometimes gets the better of me and I get carried away. When I lay out my market still life before putting it away, KP rolls his eyes and I do think “what will I do with all this?”.  Do you think this too? So at the end of this first week of the year, I’ve documented what I made and what we ate. I hope it’ll give you some ideas and maybe I’ll manage to do this on a regular basis – no promises!

Last week our house was packed full to the gills with guests. Every bed was occupied and even mattresses on the floor. Hazel (dog) had a field day roaming from cosy nest to welcoming arms. KP’s Mum and a visitor from the ‘magic kingdom’ (Saudi) helped me to fill my bags at the market. Here’s my haul:

Roast with veggie options Friday – Some remaining carrots from last week were whipped up with tahini, lemon juice, orange juice, cumin and raw honey into a roast carrot hummus (recipe from River Cottage Veg Every Day by Hugh F-W ). I would add less honey and more spices next time.

A cauliflower was also left over from last week and made a classic cauliflower cheese with lots of good Davistow Cheddar, with Parmesan on the top. The cauli was still crisp, firm and perky making you wonder how long the ones on the supermarket shelves have been there (weeks is my guess). This went with an organic, free-range roast chicken with butter from some garlic and parsley bread rubbed over skin and half a lemon stuffed in the cavity.  There were also some hasselback potatoes with sage (from the garden).  The price of of the free-range organic bird meant there was no way I was slinging the carcass and it was boiled up into stock with an onion and some celery.

Tortilla Saturday – Potatoes and eggs were begging to be made into a Spanish omelette or tortilla with lots of fresh parsley stirred into the egg mix. A few more potatoes were cubed small, tossed in olive oil and roasted like croutons for the salad. A big dish of roasted med veg (peppers, courgettes, aubergine, tomatoes, onions, and garlic) were slathered with a parsley, basil, olive oil, red wine vinegar dressing (whizzed up in the Vitamix).

Barszcz - beetroot soup

My illustrated beetroot soup

Sausage and fennel pie Sunday – Elder teen suggested that the magnificent bulb of fennel would go well with sausage. A tube of sausagemeat unused at Christmas was whisked out of the freezer with some all butter puff pastry (Waitrose). I don’t buy the normal stuff as puff pastry isn’t nice made with lard, vegetable or trans fats). The pie was a triumph (a hybrid of two Tamasin Day Lewis recipes combined) – the recipe is below.  A small dish of Dauphinoise potatoes (using up the last of Christmas cream) and a salad made with the last of peas (the rest were eaten raw by veggie teen as they entered the house), radish, cucumber, green leaves (endive from Rashed), some of the fennel tops and parsley. Sweetcorn was boiled and served with butter and pepper. Sorry no picture of the pie as it was eaten immediately.

Out on a Monday – We ate out at a friend’s house and brought home some of her amazing courgettes in tomato sauce.

Leftovers Tuesday – I used up the rest of the roasted med veg over some couscous for a very late lunch which was my main meal. Veggie teen had a wrap with leaves, chick peas and pesto. We returned late from her netball to egg mayo sandwiches. Everyone else ate at Eat and Drink while we were out.

Spag Wednesday – A huge ragu simmered comfortingly on the stove, made with loads of carrots and celery, a red chilli or two; deeply savoury as the chicken stock went into it; served with salad on the side (and spaghetti). I made a buckwheat version for veggie teen.

Soup and roots Thursday – there were kohlrabi fritters and beetroot soup. Thai food was ordered for elder teens last night before she goes back to University.

carrot hummus

Sausage and caramelised fennel pie

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 500g good quality sausagemeat
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly, chopped sage
  • 1 large bulb of fennel, top and leaves removed
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1-2 dessertspoons sugar
  • 500g all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C with a baking tray inside. Mix the sausagemeat with the seasoning and 2 tablespoons of chopped sage.
  2. Slice fennel into about 12 wedges joined at root.
  3. Dry roast the fennel seeds in a cast iron skillet until just lightly golden, remove and grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle. Heat the oil in a skillet and carefully scatter the sugar over it. Sit the fennel pieces in the oil and cook over a fairly rapid heat until caramelised on one side then turn the slices over and repeat on the other side. Remove and slice off the root so the fennel is in slivers. Sprinkle with the ground fennel seeds.
  4. Line a 20 cm (8-9 inch) pie tin with one sheet of puff pastry. Spread half sausage mixture onto base, layer with the fennel then cover with the remaining sausagemeat.  Brush the edge with egg wash. Top with other sheet puff pastry trimming to size and using the cuttings as decoration if you like. Crimp edges with a fork and brush with egg wash.  Put the pie dish on the baking tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 20o C, then turn down the oven to 180 C and cook for another 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.

All in all a good week for veg but lighter eating and no home deliveries or eating out required to get January back on track. I’m getting back to yoga after holiday induced lapse and thinking of joining Jumpstart 2015 to shift that Christmas pud round my middle.

How was your first week of the year?

22 Comments
  1. January 9, 2015 12:31 pm

    your sausage and caramalised fennel pie sounds divine. I love fennel anything. We too have had a good week of eating less, but there is a long way to go! Your veggie photos are stunning. I can’t wait to see those markets!

  2. daver001 permalink
    January 9, 2015 12:39 pm

    Apart from the meat elements, would have happily dined off any of your dishes, though some of this ingredients are just crying out for seafood! Not been well since Christmas and have completely lost my appetite and so no Farmers’ Market, but feel significantly on the mend today and looking forward to next Friday, when I’ll be driving back from Abu Dhabi to try and beat you to some of the best veg!

  3. January 9, 2015 1:22 pm

    Gorgeous and simple looking pie – tasty recipe for sure.

  4. January 9, 2015 2:32 pm

    This pie sounds delicious and your illustrated beetroot soup is soooo beautiful, I’d love to see more of your drawings! I love this “They Draw & Cook” website too.

  5. January 9, 2015 3:19 pm

    Great meals. I can never get enough of veggies…

    This pie sounds amazing.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  6. January 9, 2015 3:32 pm

    Sally, you’re idea of sharing what you made with the fresh veggies from the Farmers Market is really brilliant! And I totally relate when you say that shopping at the market, based more on the inspiration than on a shopping list, is at the same time challenging but intriguing. It’s lovely to see you on Fridays!

  7. January 9, 2015 4:03 pm

    Pie sounds fabulous, please make again so you can tempt us with its visual deliciousness! 😀

  8. January 9, 2015 5:59 pm

    Appetizing. Hugely appetizing. The carrot hummus is on for tonight, great!

  9. January 9, 2015 6:38 pm

    Mmmm can I come over for dinner? I love the sound of everything you’ve made, and what a Farmer’s Market haul! I feel similarly when my veg box arrives in peak season – my cooking is decided by what appears in that box, and I do love the challenge. 🙂

  10. January 9, 2015 7:34 pm

    Wow! What an array of colors and flavors in so many delicious dishes. The pie sounds amazing!

  11. January 9, 2015 11:21 pm

    Amazing… I have tried making beetroot hummous but not carrot hummous. Your haul from the Farmers Market is calling out… brilliant display of colour and freshness.

  12. January 10, 2015 2:06 am

    The veg look amazing – here in the UK it’s not quite as bright and cheerful … What a great start to 2015 you’ve had, Sally!

  13. January 10, 2015 6:40 am

    Well done! One year we were in 2 different CSAs. It was a fun challenge! So jealous of your bounty right now, though. In the turnips and a few hoop house greens season here…

  14. ramblingtart permalink
    January 10, 2015 9:25 am

    Such beautiful photos you’ve captured. 🙂 I’m also trying to do better about using the produce I have. It’s not always easy, but all we can do is try, right? 🙂

  15. January 10, 2015 8:48 pm

    What a tasty pie and gorgeous pictures. Very jealous of your vegetable horn of plenty there, I never can resist the fabulous stuff my market stall has on offer and usually come back with much more than possibly manageable for two. But a good plan to eat more veg when we have to use it all! N xx

  16. January 11, 2015 7:18 pm

    Well you know sausage isn’t my thing, but everything else about this post is grabbing me – especially the roast carrot hummus and those beautiful photos of veg. Sounds like a great week. 🙂

  17. The Real Geordie Armani permalink
    January 12, 2015 8:36 am

    I like the sound of that pie very much 🙂 We need to meet up so you I can loan you my Paul Hollywood Pies and Puds, not that you need any inspiration!

  18. January 12, 2015 1:06 pm

    I love this post Sally! If you ever have left overs, they can be made into soup and frozen for a quick meal when you don’t feel like cooking 🙂

  19. January 12, 2015 4:35 pm

    There is nothing prettier than a collection of fresh vegetables after a good shop. I wish more people would realise this! It’s great that you are so creative with your meals and the sausage meat and fennel pie sounds gorgeous, the flavours go so well together. Happy New year Sally!

  20. January 12, 2015 5:21 pm

    Wonderful ideas and recipes. Thanks for sharing.

  21. January 14, 2015 5:52 pm

    I really adore that top photo of yours. The greens and reds and splashes of plum colour. Wonderful. What a beautiful selection of veg. Also love the sound of that pie. mmm

  22. January 29, 2015 2:33 am

    Lovely ideas – sausage and fennel pie sounds great.

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