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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

favorite cookbook: tamasin day-lewis' weekend food



i guess i can't really get off the comfort food track at the moment as i battle the flu that's going around (swine or otherwise, does it really matter?). and the search for comfort food makes me turn to a favorite recipe in tamasin day-lewis' weekend food. it doesn't hurt that the darkness is upon us and a cold rain is spattering against the windows, because that sends me even deeper into nesting mode. so on saturday, i took down tamasin and made her stuffed cabbage in the troo style (p. 17).



it sounds a bit bland, a big pot of sausage and cabbage, but there is magic in the combination. and the simplicity is just the ticket when you're feeling a bit under the weather and just want to get back under the covers with your book.  here's tamasin's original. i'll tell you about my modifications in a minute...

tamasin's

1.4-2kg (3-4 pound) head of cabbage - savoy or dutch
675 (1.5 pounds) of best organic pork sausages.
salt
pepper
butter

preheat the oven to 150℃/300℉. shred the cabbage into thin strips, coring it first, and blanch it in a huge vat of boiling, salted water for five minutes. drain it in a colander and run the cold tap over it to prevent further cooking at this stage. butter an ovenproof pot.

slit the sausage skins and push out all of the sausage meat onto a plate, discarding the skins. place a third of the cabbage in the bottom of the pot and season. place half the sausage meat in a layer over the cabbage. continue with a layer of cabbage and sausage, finishing with a layer of cabbage, seasoning each layer as you go, and dotting the top with butter. cover tightly with a layer of greaseproof (baking) paper and a lid and cook in the oven for 2-2.5 hours.

julie's

1 head savoy or ordinary cabbage
675 grams of ground pork (i get the sausages as she recommends if they're available, but my grocery store doesn't always have good ones)
salt, pepper, butter
handful of thyme, sage, parsley (whatever herbs you have on hand), finely chopped
glug of white wine
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds

core and thinly slice the head of cabbage. i don't bother to blanch it, as i think it gets plenty of time in the oven and doesn't need this fiddly step. mix your ground pork with the chopped herbs in a bowl, salt and pepper to taste.

butter an oven-proof pot with a lid (my orangey red le cruset is perfect for this - it's the ultimate pot, actually, which is why we have two). layer cabbage in the bottom, as tamasin does, then a layer of sausage, followed by a layer of thinly-sliced potatoes. repeat, finishing with a layer of cabbage. place a couple of pats of butter on top and pour over a good glug of white wine. in my view it has a tendency to get a bit dry if you don't add liquid and my liquid of choice is almost always wine. put the lid on and bake for 2 hours. it does seem to help keep it moist if you line the top with baking paper as she suggests.

i used to serve with boiled potatoes, but now that i add the potatoes to the dish itself, i tend to make a simple salad of baby spinach, avocado, orange pepper and a mustard vinaigrette to go with it. i also serve a good cider vinegar together with the dish, as a sprinkling of vinegar gives it a lovely zing that finishes it nicely. i once made it with sauerkraut instead of plain cabbage and my family hated it (i personally didn't mind it, but will admit it was a particularly salty sauerkraut).

tamasin is another of the very real brit cooks. her accent a bit posh and her aga to die for. her only drawback, as far as i'm concerned, is that she seems like a hardcore runner and as one who runs only when chased, i feel a pang of guilt watching the program that accompanies this book and hearing her talk about leaving dough to prove while she goes for a run.

paging through, i realize i have made a lot of the recipes in this cookbook, perhaps more than in any of the favorites i've listed so far. everything from sicilian peppers (i do love a good roasted pepper), to pasta puttanesca (could anything be simpler or more nourishing?) to stewed oxtail with grapes (it really works), to a simple aubergine, feta and mint salad, to cracked wheat and nut salad (i'm a sucker for a pomegranate) to roasted pumpkin and coconut soup, to her chocolate cookies (the only recipe i felt doesn't work--there's not nearly enough sugar in it, which sounds strange because it does call for 450g of sugar, but it's not enough) to her brownies, drenched ginger and lemon cake and homemade bloody marys. except for the cookies, it has been a success, all of it. and with the cabbage in the troo style, i go back again and again. get it, and i'll bet you'll do so too.

6 comments:

kristina said...

I have Tamasin's 'All You Can Eat'. I really should use it more often, but I'm rather intimidated by the size of it. Maybe buying a book with 1000 recipes was a bit too ambitious! K x

rxBambi said...

I thought I commented but it's not here. Anyway, very timely post, thanks!

Char said...

mmmmmmmmmmmm, cabbages and sausages - sounds so comforting really

feel better soon

Anne said...

Oh my, this sounds like a must-try. After years of thinking that cole slaw (*shudder*) was the be-all end-all of cabbage, I'm finally coming around and embracing this particular member of the Brassicaceae family. I will be getting a head of Napa cabbage in my box tomorrow, and I have some potatoes lurking in the fridge, so this is going on the menu tout de suite. I am so in the mood to tuck into something involving sausage and potatoes!

Sending you healing thoughts from sunny California.

Bee said...

Like Anne, I didn't really start developing a love for cabbage until quite recently. The other night I made a favorite Jamie Oliver recipe, which combines cabbage, pancetta, thyme, mozzarella and pine nuts -- tossed over pasta. This sounds great for fall; and a good change from the usual sausage and mash.

I don't have this Tamasin, but I do love her Kitchen Bible so much that I will probably have a look for it. I wonder if I can buy myself lots of new cookbooks and then ask Sig to give them to me for a Xmas present? Along with a new Le Creuset casserole dish. :)

HISSYFIT said...

Blanching the cabbage at the start of this recipe is for several reasons that are not to do with cooking time. The softer cabbage is easier to layer than stiff raw cabbage. Also after it softens during the cooking process you would have a very thin layer between the sausage if you layered it raw. Also, blanching in salted water thoroughly cleans and sanitises the tightly packed cabbage that could harbour grubs and grit if it is truly fresh. Clean, slightly tender, bright cabbage is ideal for this dish so definitely blanch it as Tamasin's recipe directs.

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