I’ve mentioned before my fondness for the so-called ‘Hallmark’ holidays – I aim to show my loved ones that I love them as frequently as possible, but it doesn’t hurt to have a special day to celebrate that love, does it? For some people whose parents have passed away, Mother’s and Father’s Day become rather fraught, but I don’t feel that traumatised by Father’s Day. I find smaller things sadder, such as lamenting the fact that my pa never got to listen to the White Stripes, come to visit me in Edinburgh for a weekend when I was a student, watch his beloved Liverpool FC win the Champions League or enjoy a grown-up family Christmas feast now that my brother and I are older. It also saddens me that, because my love of cooking developed when I was in my twenties, he never got a chance to reap the rewards of that and I don’t think I ever cooked a meal for him.
However, I always prefer to dwell on things my father did get to do, and my lasting memories of him are always in moments of happiness: rubbing his hands together with glee when I got my GCSE results, recounting with great mirth how he hid from our dog during a comical walk on the beach, and when he was extremely ill and frail on our last family holiday to Center Parcs but threw caution to the wind and hurtled down the rapids, whooping with joy. Life is truly here to be celebrated and enjoyed and shared with our loved ones.
If you are lucky enough to be treating your dad this weekend, you could do a lot worse than this recipe. Bangers and mash seems like a good Father’s Day meal – it’s a traditional, comforting classic, and this recipe gives it a luxurious (read ‘calorific’ – it’s a Nigella recipe) twist with the cream in the mash, thus jazzing it up for a special occasion. Whomever you make this for, it’s guaranteed to be good.
Bangers, Mash & Gravy
Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson, serves 2
4 sausages (you could always make your own, if you’re really out to impress)
1 tsp oil
For the onion and cider gravy:
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp English mustard powder
1 tbsp plain flour
3-4 tbsp cider
For the Heaven And Earth Mash:
500g floury potatoes, peeled and halved
1/2 apple, peeled, cored and quartered
zest of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp double cream
pinch fresh nutmeg
1. Cook the sausages according to packet instructions (obviously if they don’t take long to cook, pop them in later).
2. Start the mash: cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes.
3. Add the apples and lemon zest and cook for another 20 minutes, until everything is nice and soft, ready to be mashed.
4. Meanwhile, start on the gravy: heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions slowly for about 10 minutes until they are very soft.
5. Add the apple, stirring around for another 5 minutes.
6. Turn up the heat and add the sugar. Cook over high heat for 3 minutes.
7. Quickly stir in the mustard powder and flour.
8. Pour in the stock and cider, then bring back to the boil, stirring constantly.
9. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes until thickened.
10. Drain the potatoes and apples, and put the butter and cream into the empty, hot pan to melt in the meantime.
10. Return the potatoes and apples to the pan and mash well with the cream and butter.
11. Add the nutmeg and salt, and beat everything together.
12. Pile the mash and sausages onto plates and pour the gravy over. Yum!