Like anyone who loves to cook for their partner, I’ve found certain foodstuffs that they don’t particularly like. The reasons will range from the texture of the food to its taste in isolation. Like pretty much everyone else in the universe, my initial reaction if this dislike is directed at something that I actually happen to like is one of confusion. This is then followed by attempts to get my partner to eat the foodstuff in one way or another, convinced that they’ve simply not had it prepared properly.
My partner, for instance, likes neither olives or chorizo, and pulls the most amazing faces when I buy them. She’s also not a fan of Marmite – which we have taken to referring to as “the yucky brown stuff”. Personally, I love all of these items, both as individual elements and as ingredients in main meals. I will happily consume vast quantities of it on toast, but as an ingredient in my stocks and sauces I find it adds a depth and saltiness that can help rescue what might otherwise be quite a bland dish.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with cooking what I call my Spanish sausage-ish casserole – which is basically a bake that uses the following ingredients:
- Mild chorizo sausage (about a third of a loop)
- 4 lincolnshire sausages
- A red onion, finely chopped
- A handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
- A handful of baby sweetcorn, chopped into thirds
- A handful of whole mange-tout peas
- A whole red chilli, diced, including seeds
- A couple of handfuls of diced stuffed olives – I usually use a mix of garlic and peri-peri stuffed giant olives from the deli counter.
First I grill the sausages to brown them evenly. While that’s happening I dice and slice everything else up and load it all into a casserole dish and mix in about 150ml of cold water to create an orangey sauce to coat everything. Then I chop the grilled sausages into thirds and stir them into the rest of the ingredients. I cover the dish and then put it into the middle of a preheated oven at about 200C for roughly forty minutes.
I usually accompany it with some potatoes that I’ve parboiled and diced before frying on a high heat in some oil with some more chorizo pieces, but it also goes well with salad or plain boiled rice, depending on taste and time.
With so many strong sweet and fiery flavours going on in there, my partner wolfs down the olives and most of the chorizo without comment (though there are usually a few bits left over at the end in the bowl). This is hugely satisfying to see, although it does still leave me open to being called a fussy eater when I turn my nose up at parsnips…
That said, t’other half’s roasted honey parsnips are amazing, so turnabout is fair game and all that…