Occasional recipes: chickpea and chorizo casserole

From The Times Saturday magazine. I feel like a cheat calling this a casserole, because in my old-school understanding a casserole meal is a meal cooked in a casserole dish in an oven, not in a wok on a hob. But I guess you could cook it in an oven if you so so desired and either way, hey, it works.

Some alteration was required to bring this meal for 4 down to 2, but not always reducing by 50%. I mean, 200g chorizo for 4 people? What are they, vegetarians? Homeopaths? Nah, we stuck with a Tesco Finest Spanish Chorizo Ring at 225g and didn’t feel remotely full. We also stuck with the half cabbage and again that was just the right quantity. Everything else we did indeed cut by 50%.

And we saw no point in adding another meaty flavour to a deliciously meaty recipe by using chicken stock. Vegetable stick is far more delicate and in no way overpowers the lovely chorizo.

Occasional recipes: Sautéed Courgettes and Basil with Tagliatelle

Another discovery from that hidden gem, The Essential Pasta Cookbook – but with differences. First, you will notice I do not call it what the book does, Fettuccine with Zucchini and Crisp-Fried Basil, for a number of reasons. 1) We use tagliatelle (though fettucine doesn’t involve eggs so would work for vegans). 2) We call them courgettes. 3) What monster would crisp-fry basil? What on earth is the point of that? Basil au naturel, freshly torn and mixed into the food, is the only way to go.

But other than that … the only word of caution is that this is almost too easy. See the recipe below, or just take my word for it: you grate the courgettes (1 per person) and fry them with as much crushed garlic as you can take, in plenty of butter, and you can do all of this from beginning to end in the time it takes the pasta (75g per person) to cook. But, you still need to be fairly sharpish because it’s quite easy for tagliatelle to overcook to the point where it slithers out of the holes in the colandar – not the best look.

It goes without saying that rather than perpetrate any atrocities involving oil upon a few innocent basil leaves, you shred them at the end and mix them in with the pasta and the courgettes. Then leave to mature in the pan while you enjoy your G&T. Scatter with the parmesan just before eating.

Occasional recipes: (venison)(pork)(veggie)(any) sausage and squash traybake

This was a treat for us as we accidentally came by some venison sausages, and we didn’t even have to catch our deer first. But frankly I see no reason why it shouldn’t work with any kind of sausage – or indeed, no sausages at all if that’s your fancy. Though something that is more rather than less strongly flavoured will work the best. You will end with a gorgeous, sticky mixture of multiple flavours and textures, all working together in perfect harmony and filling the kitchen with heavenly aromas.

The recipe is by Tamsin Burnett-Hall and can be found at https://www.sainsburysmagazine.co.uk/recipes/mains/venison-sausage-and-squash-traybake. For once I have very little to add or to alter, not even to correct the amount of garlic (which turns into a fantastic goo inside the skin and needs to be squeezed out, flavouring the whole dish) – except to say that where she mentions redcurrant jelly … Well, we didn’t have any redcurrant jelly. We did however have some sloe and apple jelly, which worked just as well.