Tag Archives: sausages

Speedy, but slow, sausage and pearl barley with spinach, done in the slow cooker when you come home late and need something on the table in five minutes.

Catchy title isn’t it? This is less a recipe than an idea.

I’ve been flying solo a bit lately. That, coupled with long days, pick ups cross country and getting into the house, late, when it’s dark and cold outside and in need of nourishment fast, has meant I’ve had to resort to that sexiest of regimes: menu planning.

Last night I knew we’d not get in before 7.30 and I knew I’d be out from 3pm.  I have become a bit obsessed with pearl barley recently, we had some fine sausages in the freezer.

So this is what I did: I chopped up an onion which I sauted in a big slug of some rather fine olive oil in the slow cooker (mine has this function). To this I added six chopped up (defrosted) sausages for a bit. Then I slung in a jar (680g) of passata and 120g of pearl barley (which I had previously rinsed). I added a bit of water (I rinsed out the passata jar with it), then I set the slow cooker for seven hours. That’s it, no herbs, no salt, nothing else.

I put some spinach to soak, separately, in cold water.

When I came home I rinsed out and spun dried some of the spinach and slung some of it into the slow cooker and stirred it through and voila. Mangiare pronto!

I was just hoping for something edible, tbh, but it was one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time. My youngest said “Mummy this is amazing!”

(Cooking meat in passata like this really flavours the tomato sauce and you could also omit the pearl barley and add the sauce/sausages to pasta if you have time to cook some up, but I knew even that would be beyond me last night.)

Unlike many slow cooker things it was fairly thick (the pearl barley sucks up all the moisture) but I loved it for that. It doesn’t take a good picture but you know what? On a cold January night no-one cares about that.

The most AMAZING soft bread baps

My nine year old first made these with a bit of help from her dad. We needed something for burgers so my partner looked in my Dan Lepard Short and Sweet book. I was no doubt upstairs working, but when I came down to have one I could not believe how good they were. The memory of them stayed with me for weeks. The taste was amazing and they were substantial without being heavy.

I made them again recently to house a frankfurter. I have such a weakness for frankfurters and they are of course, mostly crap. I even went to a posh restaurant recently and ordered a hot dog. I can report that it tasted no different to the ones I buy in the supermarket (I do try to buy the best quality ones but, come on, they are hardly a health food).

Note that following the recipe just as it is, these make BIG baps. They were actually a little too big for me so I cut them in half. We froze half of them and late one evening, after we’d got in after a long drive home, we fished them out. They resurrected beautifully. My partner zapped them up in the microwave and they felt fresh and warm. I had one with just butter. I can’t even begin to tell you how good the flavour is, suffice to say that my mouth is watering at the memory.

Once you’ve tasted these, you will feel so cheated every time you eat a cotton woolly bap from the supermarket. And as they’re pretty easy to make, no excuse for not doing them, and freezing some for some very deserving burgers or sausages one Saturday lunchtime. Or hot dogs.

I’d make them smaller next time, so I’d end up with more, smaller baps, and no reason why you couldn’t make them in ‘finger roll’ shapes should you wish to, for sausages shapes. Or hot dogs.

I have a pretty ferocious oven and mine were done after about 15 mins. But do look at the original recipe here and check yours after fifteen and take them to the full 25 mins if you think they need them. Other than that, I had no problems.