Easy one, but looks great.

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      30 mins.

Course:        Main

Serves:        AMAN


  • Sausages – Big juicy ones – You’ll know how many because you know how many people you’re cooking for.
  • Spuds – Big old ones.
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Cream if you have any, or crème Fraîche
  • Onions – red ones preferably, but hey, you’re in charge.
  • Stock cubes – probably red Oxo
  • Cornflour
  • A few drops of balsamic vinegar
  • Any old red wine you might have sloshing about somewhere….


  • Peel the spuds. Old spuds are best for mash as they are less waxy than new spuds.
  • Cut ‘em into bits no bigger than about 3 or 4 cms.
  • Pop ‘em into cold, salted water and give ‘em about 15-20mins boiling nicely.
  • Sausages: If they’re big, meaty sausage, allow 2 per person unless they are Rugby players or Firemen.  If they’re weedy little cheap things….. well, y’know, allow a few more.  Tomato sausages are nice, but I prefer the butcher’s specials.  We have a butcher’s shop in Lavenham that sells incredible sausages.  But, as the quality increases, so does the cost.  Y’pays yer money an’ yer takes y’choice.
  • Grill your sausages, allowing them to be cooked right through.
  • “To prick or not to prick?…. That is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler….”  No, I won’t go on.  PRICK!  That’s what you need to do.  Prick them, because the fat needs to run out.  The fat will give the taste to the sausages before it runs away, so go on – PRICK!  You should retain the juices & fat afterwards though, because even though you will bin most of the actual fat, the other jellified juices that will sit beneath the fat in the fat cup in the fridge will be very useful indeed. Don’t bin the jelly!
  • Use the some of the fat, as it appears, to fry the onions vigorously but keep them moving; we don’t want burnt onions. ‘Caramelised’, but not burnt.
  • After 5 mins of heat treatment put in the red wine if you have it, alternatively use water from the kettle (boring). Crumble the two stock cubes in.  Stir and cook for 5 mins.
  • Thicken with cornflour (see Tricks’n’Tips), then taste and season appropriately after a little while. Add the balsamic vinegar to give just a hint of piquancy.
  • Drain the spuds. If you are making soup anytime soon, save the water for the base of the soup; it’ll make a difference.
  • Cover and let the spuds steam for a few mins. Then pop some butter into the pan and mash with a masher.  Add fresh cut chives (or dried).  Get into the corners of the pan and make sure that it’s all mashed.  Lumps are forbidden.
  • Add milk and cream, making sure that it’s all ok, smooth, creamy; wonderful texture.
  • Bung a great dollop of mash on the plate. Stick a couple of good, browned sausages on it, across it or in it, then pour the onion gravy all around the outside.




(Or chicken in a rough red wine that was simply too cruddy to drink but I was too tight to chuck it down the sink so I thought I’d get some benefit from it somehow):



Prep:           15 mins.

Cooking:      90 mins.

Course:        Main

Serves:        4-6

Rating:         2:  Easy – bordering on the inane, actually.

             I could tell you that this is the classic version of the French Coq au Vin – but I’d be lying.  Quite simply, I had some really cheap frozen chicken thighs in the bottom of the freezer – well, it described them as thighs on the bag, but they were more like offcuts!  I decided that a bottle of red wine – yes red – that was just too rough (even for me) to drink wasn’t going to go down the sink, so I thought that each sub-standard product could help the other out – and it worked!  I used two chicken bits per person and looked in the fridge for fresh veg….


  • 1 large red onion – or whatever colour you have handy
  • Two or more chicken bits per person (obviously, if they are big, just use one each!). Leave the skin on/take it off….. you choose.
  • Four big phallic carrots
  • One rather large and phallic leek (or two less phallic…)
  • 3 stock cubes
  • 1 bottle of cruddy red wine (cor, it was really ROUGH!)
  • As many cloves of garlic as you wish – prepare as described in Tricks’n’Tips
  • Seasoning to taste – certainly a good amount of coarsely ground black pepper…. Salt will be to taste later on.
  • Oil to fry with
  • Large frying pan
  • Ceramic casserole dish – a bigish lidded one (or whatever you can get that will go in the oven – if necessary use a foil lid.


  • Slop some oil into a frying pan on a high heat, chuck the FULLY THAWED chicken pieces in, skin side down and fry them to gain a bit of colour. Turn them over.
  • Coarsely cut the onion into big rustic bits. Chuck that in with the chucky bits.
  • Do the same again, turning them once more, so the skin gets a second blasting. Turn them again and pop the bottle of red wine in.  It’ll Ssshhhhhhh a bit. That’s fine – you can pretend to be a Chef!
  • Don’t bother to peel the carrots unless they’re really rough, just top’n’tail ‘em. Hold the carrot in your hand and just cut chunks off at an angle, straight into the pan, turning the carrot after each cut so that they are all wedge-shaped.  Not too big or they’ll not cook through and be hard as bullets.
  • Chuck the prepared garlic in and stir.
  • Prepare the leek or leeks (see Tricks’n’Tips for the easy way – I see no reason to make cooking difficult), slice down the middle and cut into inch long pieces. Pop those into the oven dish.
  • Break the chicken / veg stock cubes into the oven dish.
  • Grind a good amount of black pepper into the oven dish.
  • If you have any jellified stock from the bottom of a fat cup or if you have any left-over gravy in the fridge, chuck that in as well. Stir it up.  The wine will stand it.
  • Bring the wine, chicken, onion & carrot to the boil in the frying pan, remove and re-settle the chicken pieces onto the leeks in the casserole, skin side up, and then bung the rest of the contents of the pan on top. Settle it all down again and add hot water, if necessary, to just about cover the veg & stuff.  Don’t drown it.
  • Put the lid on (or make a foil lid) and put it into a preheated oven at 220 Centigrade for about 40 minutes.
  • Take it out and move the contents around a bit. It’s important that nothing is too exposed above the liquid line. Adjust the seasoning.
  • Turn the oven down to about 180 and pop it back in for another 50 mins to an hour.
  • Take it out. Serve onto plates.  The carrots should have retained a little bit of resistance to bite, and the leeks should have really softened beautifully.  Mine did.

And there we are:  a lovely chicken dish made from the very cheapest of chicken bits.  Or ‘thighs’ as the bag told me.

But they were NEVER thighs!