Here for the sausage colcannon bake? Of course you are, and I’ll get to it, but I first I want to express my dismay. If you’re only here for the food, scroll down to the pictures!
A year or so ago I posted that I was going to try and ‘be nicer’, less quick to temper, warmer to strangers and generally, a more affable guy.
I finally got round to implementing that today and decided that from the moment I got up until the moment I went to bed, I’d be ‘good’. I let Paul get up and make my breakfast without intervening (I know, I’m a joy). That went well, and I was rewarded with scrambled eggs made from duck eggs as a result.
I then set off for work, giving the neighbour a cheery wave as I left the street. As usual, he stood there with his face that would make an onion cry and point-blank ignored me. He always does this, just because I once had the temerity to put up a Vote Labour sign and I don’t shit myself every morning when I read the latest tripe in the Daily Express) (oh, and the cock-loving doesn’t endear me to him, either). Off to a good start! The short drive in took an hour because someone put their brake lights on in Cornwall and thus every car in existence had to immediately stop. Nevermind, we’ll get there eventually, there’s no rush!
Against better judgement, I flashed some painted harlequin in a financed-Audi out at a tricky junction. Normally, given they were driving an Audi and were therefore the worst people in the world (you know I’m right) I’d have sailed past sticking my fingers surreptitiously up on the side of my face, but no, be nice! Did I get a wave? A blink of acknowledgement? A smile? Did I balls. I did however enjoy a far more exciting drive as she wandered all over the road in front of me with her phone in her hand. It’s hard to remain focussed on being nice when you’re hoping for her tyres to blow-out and impale her on a broken street-light. But hey. Worse things happen in Rome.
Work passed in its usual way and you better believe my day was lightened when someone on the phone asked ‘to speak to someone who could actually be of some use’ despite them ringing the wrong number entirely and asking for the wrong person. Doesn’t matter, James: smile when you dial hun. A quick toilet break was full of deleting posts from our group from people who think the rules don’t apply to them and no, really, I want a facebook full of ‘how many syns in my shitty knock-off Muller yoghurt’. But hey! They know no better!
Luckily, I had the afternoon off – plenty of opportunities to smile at people and pay it forward. I decided to drive to Craster and do a nice five mile trek up to the ruined castle and then around in a loop. Lovely! I especially loved the last four miles of windy road which was only made better by being stuck behind a caravan – who needs a sea-view when you’ve got the Turbo-Sprinter Deluxe 1999 in puce weaving in front of you at a slow crawl, driven by two people who died last year. Clearly pulling over was beyond them, and why would they? Why, they have as much right to be on that road as anyone else.
I pulled into the car-park only to find all 80 of the parking spaces taken up by 60 cars, all parked rakishly over the lines to ensure no-one scratched their expensive, fancy motors. I sat and waited – big grin now – as an elderly couple doddled back to their car – at last, a free space. Nope: they opened up their wee tupperware boxes of sandwiches and sat chewing themselves to death. My grin, now rictus, would only have been dashed had they choked on a stray bit of egg salad. It’s always egg salad, presumably because it masks the smell of decomposition that occurs when you seal the aged in a red-hot Suzuki Swift.
Ticked off, I parked outside of one of the bays and minced into town – I say minced, I can barely walk at the moment as I spent an hour doing squats on Monday and now every step looks like I’ve shit myself. Nevertheless, I gamely struggled along the path, approached the gate to access the field where the walk started only for some old fart in altogether too much knitwear to shut it pretty much in my face despite watching me painfully hobble up to it. I don’t think it’s too much of an over-reaction to hope he’d do a Harold Bishop and tumble unnoticed into the sea, dashing his beetroot-nosed skull on the sharp rocks, then be swept out to sea unable to call for help because he’d been paralysed from the fall and only had a lifetime of regret and missed opportunity to comfort him as he gasped his last in the water. On I went.
A sheep gave me a shitty look. I stepped in a cow-pat. I got stuck behind a group of haw-haw-jolly-good ramblers braying on about their hiking boots for a good ten minutes, unable to slip past because I can’t walk at speed. The castle itself was fascinating and the man behind the counter had a lovely Scottish burr in his voice that almost made me pay another year’s membership to English Heritage, save for the fact I had to wait ten minutes whilst a coach party dithered and dathered at him about places to go in the area. I wanted to suggest the crematorium, but kept quiet. Be nice. When I was eventually served, all my positivity had disappeared, and paying £1.90 for a Diet Coke did little to help. I finished my walk in a gloom and made my way back to the car, only stopping to leap out of the way of a giant pristine white Range Rover (of course) driven by a gammon of a man who thundered down the road with his phone to his ear. Again.
I realised at that point that being nice was to have no reward for me, and bollocks, let’s get back to being mean-spirited and cruel. As I was leaving the car-park I spotted another pair of Saga-louts pulling in and driving around looking for a space. I handed them my pay-and-display ticket and trilled ‘it’s good for another few hours’. They looked positively delighted, and for a moment I felt guilty. See, in a fit of ill-temper, I’d deliberately given them the pay and display ticket from a different car-park from last week, and I know they’re shit-hot on parking control in Craster so that means they’ve doubtless got a ticket.
My drive back was far more pleasant as I spent most of it deciding how I’d ruin the Earth if I ever became an overlord. Let’s be honest: it’s so much more fun being an arsehole, yes? But if you see me out and about, give me a smile. Try and change my view on life. Make me hopeful that there’s something other than blackness out there.
Tell you what will cheer you up though: our sausage colcannon bake. You’ll love it, because it’s easy to make and tastes damn fine. Let’s do the recipe.
sausage colcannon bake
Yield 4 servings
Sausage colcannon bake - listen, it's sausage casserole topped with mashed tatties and kale. It's proper comfort food and listen, it's not going to make itself. It freezes well, serves four (MASSIVE portions, mind) and is easy to knock out. Get on it!
- 6 medium-sized potatoes, cut into large chunks
- 80g kale
- 1 egg
- 8 sausages (see notes)
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp plain flour (4 syns)
- 3 beef stock cubes dissolved in 500ml boiling water
- 125g sliced mushrooms
- 100g frozen peas
- 1tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- preheat the oven to 200ºc
- put the potatoes in a large saucepan, fill with cold water until covered and bring to the boil
- reduce the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes, then drain
- meanwhile, splash in a little bit of water to another pan and add the kale
- cook over a high heat for 3 minutes until softened a bit
- crack the egg into the potatoes and mash with the kale and add some salt and pepper to taste, and keep to one side
- next, cook the sausages however you like (see notes)
- spray a large frying pan with some oil and add the onions
- fry over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and beginning to caramelise
- add the flour and whisk with the onions for about a minute, then slowly add a little stock at a time, continually whisking, until you have a thickened gravy
- add the sausages to the pan along with the mushrooms, peas, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf and give a good stir
- tip into a large dish and gently spoon the mash on top, spreading evenly across the top
- bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes
- we used the syn free sausages from our Muscle Food deal in this - you can use whichever sausages you like but remember to check the syns
- you can leave the egg out of the mash if you like but it really does make it taste creamy - trust us! if you prefer to use milk or butter or whatever you can, just remember to syn it
- we cooked the sausages in our Tefal Actifry (best to remove the paddle) and you can cook yours however you like, under the grill, in a frying pan, Optigrill, George Foreman, Airfryer... it's up to you!
- not a fan of kale? swap it with whatever you like
- use this oil sprayer instead of Fry Light if you don't want your pans to be ruined
Courses soul food
See? Easy! Want some more comfort dishes? Why not have a review of some of the following:
- one pot super quick cheat’s lasagne (syn free)
- chicken and mushroom one-pot paella (syn free)
- one pot chicken and lentil dinner (syn free)
- spicy dynamite baked beans (syn free)
- absolutely perfect chilli (syn free)
- instant pot spaghetti bolognese (syn free)
- aubergine and cherry tomato curry (syn free)
- one pot chicken, orzo and moonblush tomato risnotto (syn free)
- leek, potato and cheddar soup (less than 1 syn)
- homemade bacon baked beans (0.5 syns)
I’m off to smile at people.