I have set myself a challenge to blog a new recipe every single day for a few weeks – I used to blog regularly, when I was a single mum on the dole scraping meals together from loose change and a food bank box – and I would write about what I had to hand and what I would make from it.
That was six years ago now, and both my spice rack and repertoire have expanded beyond recognition. I missed writing regularly for pleasure, however, especially as I cook on average three brand new recipes Every Single Day. Most of them are scrawled on scraps of plain A4 paper, then filed away in a huge lever arch file, to be pulled out and shuffled into some kind order and shaped into a book at some point in the future.
I’ve decided to keep a kind of kitchen notebook here on my blog; keeping to my original principles of cooking great food for a little money, with a simple collection of basic ingredients, and costing them out to show what’s possible on the smallest of budgets and the simplest of kitchens. I’ve reactivated the comments section on my site – having seen off the worst of the abusive trolls now – and would love to hear from you if you make any of the new recipes!
This one came about as my friend John was putting up some shelves for me, and Caroline was here sorting out my endless paperwork, and they both needed to be fed. I have a running list on the front of the fridge these days that has the dates of the week on it, and by each, is anything that needs using up. It helps me keep track of use by dates in the fridge without endlessly rummaging, and also takes some of the pressure of meal planning off, as half the decisions are already made for me! Todays little note said ‘cabbage and leeks’, and there was half a packet of sausages that needed to be used too, so, this was born. And according to my two testers, it was absolutely delicious. Good to know!
Vegan readers – You can make this with veggie or vegan sausages too – I recommend Linda McCartney Red Onion And Rosemary ones, but if you have another favourite, feel free to use those instead.
Gluten-free readers – simply replace the pasta with your favourite gluten free pasta, and check your sausages and stock cube to make sure they are safe too. (If I’ve missed something, let me know!)
Serves 4 from 41p each. (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients.)
160g onion, fresh or frozen, 16p (90p/1kg)
4 fat cloves of garlic, 8p (20p/bulb)
1 tbsp oil, 2p (£1.09/1l)
a pinch of salt
500ml chicken or vegetable stock, 3p (39p/12 stock cubes)
400g cannelini beans, 42p (42p/400g)
1/2 tsp english mustard, 1p (32p/200g)
1 tsp mixed dried herbs, 2p (30p/18g)
6 sausages, defrosted, 27p (91p/20 sausages)
300g dried pasta, 17p (29p/500g)
160g green cabbage or spring greens, 20p (62p/500g)
160g leeks, 24p (£1.05/700g)
First peel and dice your onion, if using a fresh one, and toss into a large nonstick pan. Peel and finely chop the garlic, and add that too. Measure in the oil and cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes to start to soften the onion and garlic. Pour over the stock and add a scant pinch of salt, and bring to the boil.
Drain and thoroughly rinse your cannelini beans, and add to the pan, along with the mustard and herbs. Reduce to a simmer, for around 30 minutes, until the beans are soft and creamy.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat a little oil and fry the sausages for 10 minutes, turning a couple of times to cook thoroughly throughout. Remove from the heat and slice thinly, around half a centimetre if you can manage it, then add to the pan of beans for the remainder of the cooking time.
After thirty minutes have passed, measure the pasta into the pan and add 300ml more water. Stir well and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes more.
Finely slice the leeks and cabbage and throw them into the pot for a few minutes to soften, then serve with plenty of black pepper to finish.
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All text copyright Jack Monroe.