Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!


My first ever attempt at making a casserole came about a week ago. Having ‘ummed‘ and ‘ahhed‘  up and down the aisles of the supermarket the previous week, I had equipped myself with an arsenal of ingredients that I assumed hoped would be satisfactory, even if they didn’t exactly match the items as listed in the recipe.

Yep, those are cannelini beans and cherry tomatoes, right there….

I added the olive to the saucepan, followed by the sausages and decided that there would be sufficient time to prepare the vegetables while they were frying.

My first slices of an onion.

But I fell at the first hurdle, when I found that simply peeling an onion was more challenging than it would need to be… As my laptop was on stand-by, I headed over to YouTube and found an excellent and concise demonstration.

I’d like to mention that, back at school when I was doing a cooking lesson in Year 8, I managed to peel the skin off my thumb with a potato peeler while trying to peel an orange.

Unfortunately ‘Sausages, charcoaled’ was not to be found beneath the list of ingredients.

This of course added to my time and, even without the celery sticks, I’d taken my eye away from the sausages.

(…Yes, I said an orange!)

No turning back. But I did reduce the temperature even further.

They tell you to then put the sausages ‘to one side‘ before throwing everything else in but I’m still not sure whether that means within the pan or, whether I was right to take them out and to throw them in again at the end for a brief re-heat…

I got some stick for posting this on Facebook.

With all those baked beans and the strong stench of burnt onion, it was too English breakfast for my liking. It made its way in to my stomach, of course but it did look half as inviting as the brightly-coloured illustration in my book… Perhaps they never do?

A banoffee shi… But the fruit and ice cream were fine.

I tried to redeem myself with an attempted banoffee split from the same book. But applying custard in the absence of cream was quite a mistake. It also made a very sticky mess of my only saucepan and the “sauce” I was hoping to drizzle over the banana and ice cream, well, it never lost its ‘custardicity‘! Next time I have a spare Mars bar, I’ll try it again.

My second attempt at frying onions last week came on the same night that our building was struck by a power cut. So, when all seemed to be going well after chopping, slicing and throwing everything in to the pan; I had to wait almost 90 minutes before I was able to complete and consume this attempt with noodles. It was a ‘leftovers meal’ more than anything else; adding some carrots because I felt confident in cooking those – but the vegetables required far more time than the noodles. I’ll try a different mix another time. :-/

One desert that worked well was about as simplified as you can get. A few scoops of vanilla ice cream and a Chunky KitKat, sliced and diced. Bear in mind though, that this is the current peak for my creative mind when it comes to working in the kitchen! Must buy some Maltesers…

Yesterday was Attempt No.2 for the sausage casserole.

If my sausages were burned last week, this time, they were seemingly skinned alive! Whatever went wrong, each time I tried to roll a sausage over, it left a portion of itself stuck to the base of the pan. This was, I’m assuming, either due to a lack of oil or, because the sausages were beyond their use by date.

This time, I had all the right ingredients, after spending a bit longer down the aisles last week. I could probably have sliced my carrots a bit thinner.

But I need to scour YouTube for a video on grating garlic. I reckon I might’ve skinned them too early or something.

Toasting in the halogen oven.

All was going well and with just the ciabatta roll to toast, I chose to use my new halogen oven. Partly because I burned it in the toaster last week but mainly because I’m excited about owning this oven and I wanted to see what it could do. 10 minutes is a bit long to toast any bread in my opinion but the results were perfect. No burning, just lovely and crisp!

A success!

This bowlful may look as dark and even ‘desperate’ as the first attempt but my phone’s camera doesn’t handle low-lighting conditions very well and it tasted very nice.

Cannelini beans, celery and the not-so-badly-burned onion… It all came together to make the difference and I’m pleased that I’ve been able to sample and experiment a different kind of bean to those supplied in a tomato sauce.

I’ve been cooking again this evening (righting another wrong) and I’ll write about that one soon. Thanks for reading and happy eating!

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