Vegetarian sausage (with red beans, pecans, and roasted reds)

Vegetarian sausages

I’ll start, if I may, with a quote from Wind in the Willows.

“…till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing…”

Well! I’ve been trying to describe something like that lately! (You might have discerned incoherent traces of it if you’ve been following along.) But not the last couple of days, because they’ve been positively february-y or novembery. Cold, rainy, grey upon grey upon grey. And Isaac has strep throat, which is a wintery worry, in my mind. I was stuck at work on Sunday, with Isaac home sick. I hate that! I really do! I just want to be able to sit next to him and kiss his hot forehead anxiously every other minute. Is that a lot to ask?!?! But I determined, while I was still at work, that I would make bangers and mash when I got home. It seemed comforting, for a cold drizzly day. Did I eat bangers and mash in my nursery, when I was a child, surrounded by talking teddy bears? I did not!! Did I think that my Isaac, even on a good day, would eat a “sausage” made from roasted red peppers, pecans and red beans? I did not! I knew he’d eat mashed potatoes, though, if I made it into a volcano of butter. And he did. And my Malcolm would (and did) like the idea of a roasted red pepper sausage. He helped decide what would go in. He helped mash the red beans. He helped mash the potatoes. I think this is a fun meal to make with little ones!!

Bangers and mash

The sausages were delicious! Smokey, a bit spicy, a nice flavor of fennel. They were softer inside than an actual sausage, lacking gristle. But there’s something quite pleasant about a crispy outside/soft inside bit of sausage.

Here’s James Brown with Mashed Potatoes. This is a nice one!
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Vegetarian toad in the hole

Remember the scene in Bedknobs and Broomsticks when Charlie rebels against eating nettles and declares that he wants some “toad in the ‘ole”? My boys were intrigued. What is this toad-in-the-hole, of which he speaks? So I broke out my handy dandy Rupert the Bear cookbook (circa 1974), and Malcolm and I schemed together to make our own, vegetarian version. It’s fun flipping through the pages of my Rupert cookbook. These must have been some of the first things I learned how to make. I’ve been wracking my brains lately, trying to think of the absolute first thing. I just don’t know! David said his was cinnamon toast, which seems like such a nice thing to know how to make. Do you remember the first thing you knew how to make, all by yourself?

So we decided to follow the recipe for toad in the hole (which is a strange practice for me!) accept that, obviously, we wouldn’t be putting sausages in! We could easily have used fake sausages from the store, the boys love them! But I wanted to try something a little more inventive, so we used mushrooms, marinated in sausage-y herbs and spices, and then roasted till they were quite crispy. It turned out delicious!! I added a little bit of smoked gouda to the pudding batter (Just can’t leave well enough alone!) because I think it adds a nice meaty flavor to mushrooms. Other than that, we stuck to the recipe pretty carefully. Which I might not do next time – the book only calls for one egg, but I think with two it would have puffed up much more nicely. That’s how I’ll write the recipe – with two eggs!

Here’s Teddy the Toad by Count Basie
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