Don't know about you, but the weather stuck to its guns about not cheering up until the kids went back to school and last Sunday where we were was miserable. We weren't quite at home, but camping on the side of Southampton Water (such exotic locations we get to) where we belong to a modest dinghy sailing club with our modest dinghy (last thing I want to do is alienate any of you by giving the impression that I'm some kind of rampant yachtie....) The best thing about this sailing club as far as I'm concerned is that fact that it has this camping field tucked away in the Royal Victoria Country Park, so that even though the view is of Fawley oil refinery and Marchwood military port, we can very easily be camping right by the water should we choose to do so. That counts for a lot in my book.
Anyway, I digress. Camping the last weekend of the school hols was not ideal but due to an almighty nonsense with the 'new improved (ha ha)' online duty management system, the dates we had originally volunteered for to do our required club duties for the year, had disappeared, and we were left with 'Beach Help' duty during some championships for some dinghies that are much slicker than what we sail. This ended up meaning that we stood on the beach helping boats launch, then ordering all the trollies up, then helping them all at the end of the race to recover their trollies and get off the beach. All of which would have been fine if the weather had been OK.
In fact on Saturday it was OK, only the Husband was required to help, and the sun almost shone. We managed to dry out our van awning (which we'd had to pack up wet in France due to some inconvenient drizzle on the morning of our departure) and otherwise had a fun day. We all slept in the van which was a challenge because Blue has decided that he doesn't like sleeping up in the top. The Husband selflessly suggested that Blue share the pull out 'double' bed with us, while Pink sprawled luxuriously across the entire roof space. Not the most comfortable night, but there we go.
Sunday dawned cloudy and deteriorated as the cloud lowered and the drizzle began, persisted, and turned into rain. Launching boats was not much fun. Helping them land was even less amusing, but we fulfilled our obligations and headed back up the M3 in time for a last minute panic round the house to make sure everything was ready for school on Monday.
I had bought some sausages on Friday, seduced in the Co-Op in the village by a 100% extra free offer (so 12 for the price of 6) on some sausages made by 'The Fuller Flavoured Sausage Company", with Matt Dawson's face plastered all over them. Destined for supper on Sunday night, I spent the journey home trying dry out, and to decide between toad in the hole and sausage casserole. In the end the casserole won because it would be easy to bung in some courgettes, my mind kept wandering to the tin of smoked paprika in the cupboard, and with 12 sausages, I could make enough for 2 meals - bonus.
Sausage Casserole is one of those things that just tends to evolve here depending on what's available, but on this occasion it included:
12 pork sausages, each cut into 2
2 thinly sliced onions
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 large-ish courgette, chopped as big or small as you can get away with before the kids refuse to eat it. You could use red peppers, or a combination.
1 tsp of hot smoked paprika
2 cans of chick peas, drained
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
1 chicken stock pot (I'm still using them up from my Forman & Field win!)
Pre-heat the oven to 180 fan
Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large casserole and add the onions and garlic. Cook for a little until starting to soften, then add the sausage pieces and carry on cooking till browned. Boil the kettle (you'll need about 500 ml hot water). Add the courgettes, sprinkle on the paprika and add the tins of chopped tomatoes. When you've emptied the tomatoes, put the stock cube/powder or whatever you're going to use into the bottom of one of the tins and pour in hot water from the kettle. dissolve the stock and add enough water to get a full tin. Use to swill out the second tin into the casserole dish and add all the water to the casserole. Add the chickpeas, stir, add salt and pepper as required, then bring to the boil, add the lid and transfer to the oven.
|green beans - what a surprise...|
Because it was so miserable, we had crumble for pudding too - all the fruit came out of the garden - apples, blackcurrants and redcurrants, and we ate it up with my favourite Birds custard . Yum.