By the end of last week it looked like spring might finally be arriving – there was sunshine, it was warm enough to venture outdoors without a coat, and the first bumblebee and butterflies of the year were spotted in the garden.
Saturday was a busy day – with lots of catching up to be done in the garden. I planted out the broad beans that were sown last autumn and overwintered in pots in the greenhouse. They were flowering and really needed to more growing space than they had in the pots, so now they are in a raised bed protected by an improvised cover to keep the worst of the frosts off.
Another job that had been put off because the ground was too wet and cold was clearing some space for the potatoes. The soil has dried out nicely now, and should be warm enough for planting soon. First though, there were bucket loads of weeds to dig out – mostly couch grass, with roots that go on forever. This is one of the worst weeds in the garden here. It grows just about everywhere and it’s so hard to dig out every piece of root to prevent it regrowing. I had a good go at the soon to be potato patch – removing as much of the root as I could. The hens had a good time too, picking out anything that moved in the soil as it was dug over and generally getting in the way. Although they did take some time out for some sunbathing too…
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sowing lettuce, rocket and herbs into modules. Usually there would be lots of self-sown coriander and parsley seedlings appearing in the garden round about now, but this year there are just a few parsley plants starting to grow, and no sign of any coriander. This is probably down to a combination of the cold start to this year and last year’s rubbish summer when fewer seeds were produced. Never mind, I’ll just need to sow more seeds myself for an unlimited supply of coriander – we do use a lot in the kitchen. And that makes a terrible link into today’s recipe… but it’s a recipe I wanted to post because it’s my entry for this month’s Recipes for Life.
Vanesther over at Bangers and Mash is doing a great job of collecting recipes for a cookbook to be published by the charity Swallow. This month’s three ingredients are pork, sweetcorn and tomatoes. Now pork isn’t a great ingredient to work with for a family of vegetarians but, being a lovely person and keen to encourage even awkward types like me to join in, Vanesther has said that a recipe with veggie sausages that could be substituted with the pork version would be OK. So here it is, my sausage chilli recipe – we had it for tea on Saturday, and served with rice it made a very good end to a day’s gardening.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 tsp mild chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1x400g tin plum tomatoes
1x400g tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
1x165g tin sweetcorn
6 vegetarian sausages
To serve –
Greek yogurt or soured cream
A small handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, stir and cook gently for about 5 minutes, so that the onion softens but doesn’t brown. Add the garlic, celery and carrots to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the chilli powder and cumin to the pan and stir so that the vegetables are coated in the spices.
Tip the tinned tomatoes into the pan – if you are using the kind that come whole, use a wooden spoon to break them up a bit into medium sized chunks. Stir in the kidney beans, red pepper and tomato puree, and leave the chilli to simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes.
While the chilli cooks, grill or bake the sausages until they are starting to brown. Chop the sausages into bite-sized chunks. When the vegetables in the chilli are getting tender, but still have a bit of bite to them, add the sweetcorn and chunks of sausage and cook for a further 5 minutes or so, until everything is warmed through.
Serve topped with some Greek yoghurt or soured cream, and a sprinkling of fresh coriander leaves. The chilli goes really well with some rice, a jacket potato or some homemade garlic bread.
Vanesther has very kindly agreed to road test this recipe using spicy pork sausages – I’ll let you know how she gets on…
I’m not sure how long I’ve been reading your blog but its been a while and this is the first time I’ve clicked that you don’t eat meat. Its interesting – there’s a café down the road from us with a purely vegetarian menu but they don’t really promote themselves as vegetarian. Anyway it took me three visits the last of which was with my highly carnivorous partner to notice they didn’t do meat – and yes he pointed it out (in a more irritated voice than I thought necessary at the time too). I guess we only notice the absence of meat when we are seeking it out. Oh and I share your pain about couch grass – my lawn is a mess of couch and weeds – both of which spend most of their time invading my beds.
Couch is a horrible weed, but I keep telling myself that it could be worse – I used to have an allotment that grew a fine crop of mare’s tail… and that really was a challenge to garden with! Your vegetarian cafe sounds good – I reckon if the food’s good enough, you shouldn’t notice the missing meat.
We sound as though we have been doing the same things over the weekend – and wasn’t it nice to be outside without shivering. Your hens look in fine fettle the sun is making their feathers beautifully golden brown. Thanks for the recipe definitely one to try when I am running out of ideas of what to do with sausage.
It was great to be able to get on with some garden chores at the weekend. Bit different today though – coat back on, and no sunbathing for the hens!
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Good to hear you had some warm sunshine! It’s still very cold here, but this week it should get warmer. Hope I can do some sowing soon too!
I hope you get some sunshine and warmth soon Cathy… we’re back to cold and grey again this week!
Andrea Mynard said:
I’m missing the weekend sunshine & cracking on in the garden already. Your broad beans look as if they’re doing so well – I love broad beans and am going to have bean envy when you start having recipes for them long before mine have flowers! The chilli recipe looks just the thing after a day gardening.
The broad beans aren’t really that impressive – only six plants from the autumn sowing, and the spring sown plants are way behind. I am looking forward to being able to harvest something from the garden though…
Love the photos of the hens. They look so happy, warm and beautiful. Surely a sign of spring. 🙂
The hens love to sunbathe when they get the chance!
mmm… I think I’d prefer my veggie sausage this way. Your hens look so chilled out 🙂
They are incredibly spoiled hens, so they should look pretty contented with their lives!
What a great veggie recipe, I do like veggie sausages but had never thought of adding them to a chilli, a very good idea. I am hoping to get out into the garden & allotment this weekend. Have so much to do!
Sunday is supposed to be the day for getting on in the garden – if the forecast is to be believed…
That looks yummy will have to try it soon. I am really enjoying your blog.
Thanks Anna, you’re very kind!
Promenade Claire said:
Now why have I never thought of over wintering the broad beans in the greenhouse!! Wake up Claire! Great tip for next year 🙂
And what a lovely thing to do to collect recipes for a charity book.
The charity book is a lovely idea – and anyone can join in if you are inspired… all the details are over at <a href="Bangers and Mash” title=”Bangers and Mash”>Bangers and Mash
Making the sausage chilli for tea on Friday – the version with pork sausages. Can’t wait! And we finally got out into the garden properly after work this evening to plant out our beans and peas – fingers crossed we don’t get any more frosts…
Hope you enjoy your Friday tea – looking forward to hearing how you get on!
My husband cooked us the sausage chilli using pork sausages and I can confirm it was a resounding success. Such a tasty and colourful dish. Both children and adults wolfed it down in seconds! A perfect entry for Recipes for Life – and so versatile too.
Thanks Vanesther! Must admit, I was a bit worried over whether the recipe would work for someone else, and using different sausages… phew, I can sleep easy tonight!
No need to worry at all! Plus, if my husband could follow the recipe, then anyone can 😉
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