Tag Archives: cheap

Chorizo and Bean Stew

Variations on a Theme

When life gives you chorizo that’s perilously close to its use-by date, make sausage casserole.

That’s my new mantra.

I made three meals this afternoon, which will save me time in the long run. The first, mad after finding I had  ¾ of a chorizo at the back of the fridge, was to make a variation on last week’s sausage casserole.

This time I managed to find mild chilli powder to use instead of the Cajun  Seasoning. I also used black-eyed beans and chorizo. There was a red pepper in the fridge next to the chorizo so that went in too.

We also have vegetable hotpot and Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry in the fridge so all is looking good on the catering front. A lot of it is looking like plates of red stew, but you can’t have everything. If you cook by pouring cans of chopped tomatoes into things, you are going to end up with red food.

The curry is actually reddish with black bits in it, on account of me simmering too vigorously and ignoring the pot as I watched Father Brown this afternoon. A few burnt bits will add texture.

I think I’ve found a winning combination. Cheap, simple, and not bad to eat. It probably won’t pass inspection by the quality and health police, but it will do for me. I have a blog to write and time is too precious to waste on cooking.

The bread in the picture is Corn Bread from TESCO. I was going to use it for Welsh Rarebit for lunch on Sunday, but  the arrangements went adrift.

Chorizo and Bean Stew

Chorizo and Bean Stew

The Bempton Trip – a Shaky Start

The reports from Bempton Cliffs indicated there were 100s of Puffins at sea and hundreds more on the cliffs.

The weather forecast looked good.

We set off early, I had the reserve’s postcode in my pocket, the telescope in the back of the car and a song in my heart. A wife, the prospect of Puffins and plans for a large, cheap breakfast – what more could a man want?

We called at a Toby Carvery in Doncaster for breakfast.

£4.49 for a serve-yourself all you can eat breakfast isn’t bad, even though the tea is £2.09 extra.

The choice is –

  • Bacon (varying from about right to leathery and burnt)
  • British Pork Sausages (they were good, but sadly I could only fit four on the plate)
  • Homemade Potato, Bacon, Cheese and Onion Hash (distinct absence of bacon and lack of cheese – pretty flavourless really)
  • Plum Tomatoes (as in tinned tomatoes)
  • Free Range Fried Eggs (looked rubbery but I didn’t have any)
  • Baked Beans Breakfast (not particularly good flavour)
  • Yorkies with onion and bacon (again, a distinct absence of bacon)
  • Free Range Scrambled Egg (a big solid mass with water in the bottom of the pan – I suspect sous-vide, as we now call boil-in-the-bag)
  • White or Brown Toast (unlike Harvester, which also provides muffins and crumpets)
  • Roasted Button Mushrooms (bland)
  • Tobys Breakfast Gravy (see my later comments)

There was also jam and marmalade available to spoon out of massive bowls and red and brown sauce, also to be spooned out of bowls. There was some pre-packed jam but, unlike harvester, no honey.

So, how was it?

It was cheap, quite a lot cheaper than Harvester, which is my benchmark now Little Chef has gone. But it didn’t quite offer the choice of Harvester, even though the sausages are much better at Toby.

The gravy was a mistake. It ran through a hole in the bottom of the Yorkshire Pudding, which I had filled with sausages. Sausages and gravy – yes. Bacon and gravy, hash and gravy – passable. Tinned tomatoes, beans, mushrooms – I’ve had them all with gravy. Scrambled eggs and gravy…

That memory is going to live with me for a long time.

There are no Harvesters on the way to Bempton, which is why I’d decided to try a Toby. The food was OK, but I think next time we go that way we’ll try Sainsbury’s, which is just 50 yards away.

Was this to be the worst bit of the day or merely the thin end of the wedge?