It seems an obvious thing really. Living in a caravan and cooking in a garage isn’t easy. At least I don’t think it isn’t (sorry, grammar was never my strong point). Not that I can really recollect what was easy about living in our house, pre-demolition anyhow, but dishwashers, hot water from a tap and normal sanitary conditions are long gone.
So meal times are a challenge. In the beginning we didn’t eat that much - whoopee, slim for Christmas! That didn’t last long though as it’s pretty calorie-intensive living primarily outdoors and hardly ever sitting down for prolonged periods. Especially as the weather is much colder now, moving around is crucial in order not to let the cold set in. I even caught Baby Smurf sweeping the gravel drive today. What a cruel mother.
So, soon after the enforced diet, extreme eating set in. And is seemingly here to stay. But what to cook. Really.
It would be totally simple if you didn’t mind eating fried eggs and baked beans for every meal. Or baked potatoes come to that. Or ready meals. Hey,I’m missing a trick here. Yes, I do have my oven, so am pretty spoiled really, but in all honesty the actual cooking isn’t the issue. Washing up is tiresome, you have to boil the water first and add in cold from a water carrier (usually empty), plus everything has to be dried up too, so it’s time consuming and leaves things rather damp, including me.
So we are back to minimalism. The fewer pots the better, ideally just the one. Multifunctional utensils and if you can eat it from said pot, with your fingers, then it’s a good day.
So ok, here it is. My most minimal and supremely scrumptious offering thus far. As we are all aware, apples are literally dripping from the trees, so I was inspired to use up a considerable pile of rather sad looking specimens so I could go and raid the local trees some more. And thanks to Abel and Cole, I had a pack of rather lovely Cumberland sausages to hand too, and approximately 15 green pointy cabbages languishing in the veggie drawer of the fridge…
Sauçisson a la garage
(you may need to reduce quantities for smaller than garage-dwelling appetites)
A big old dash of rapeseed oil
6 big fat sausages
2 big onions
3 big cloves of garlic
A big pile of eating apples, old, wrinkly ones are acceptable
A big pile of potatoes, scrubbed, skins left on
A big bunch of thyme, sage or rosemary
A big glug of red wine
A big glug of basalmic vinegar
A small cabbage – any kind will do, but ideally not a bulk standard white one
Salt + pepper in abundance
A big lasagne dish, skillet or heavy baking tray
Pre-heat your oven to really quite hot (baking potato temperature), 200 degrees C for my fan oven.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown off the sausages until almost charcoaled on the outside.
Peel and cut the onions into big chunks. Flatten the garlic with the same knife and remove the peel. Core the apples and cut into quarters. Cut the potatoes down their lengths and then cut in half again, lengthwise. Add all the ingredients to your chosen vessel and season well.
When your sausages are browned off remove them from the pan and cut into bite-sized chunks – but leave your pan on the stove, heat turned off. Add them to the dish and stir to mix with the other ingredients.
Add about a glass of red wine to the frying pan and allow it to deglaze the pan. Add the wine to the dish and splash over some vinegar. Tuck in your herbs so that they don’t burn in the oven.
Drizzle over a bit more oil to keep things from burning in the oven.
Pop the dish in the oven for about an hour, giving it a shake every now and then.
About 15 mins from the end of the cooking time shred the cabbage finely and stir into the mix, making sure it’s coated with all the juices.
Remove from the oven and eat straight from the dish if you are a garage-dwelling heathen, or serve in big dishes if not.
Enjoy with the rest of the wine, if it’s not already gone to counteract the effects of extreme coldness. In the interests of minimalism, drinking straight from the bottle is acceptable.
One final point. Leave the oven open during eating, to warm up the room. Nothing should go to waste.