This post is dedicated to my Glamorous Gran and namesake, Catherine Noble, who just turned 78 on Wednesday!
(What… don’t all pensioners have drum-kits at their birthday party?)
My darling Grandmother is a wonderful human being, and I’m not just saying that out of some kind of grand-daughterly obligation. She’s the only person I know who can have such grace, style and elegance, whilst simultaneously taking the crown for the most riotous party animal I know. And, being from Glasgow, I know a fair few people who can handle their “bevvy”.
For example, I remember we sat up all night, gabbing away at a family house party. I had to give up at 7:30am, completely partied out. Gran was (and is always) the last one standing, with not a hair out of place on her perfectly styled bouffant.
A lot of people (especially food bloggers) talk about how they used to bake cakes with their granny as a child, or learned everything they knew about cooking from them. I don’t fall within that category. My Gran doesn’t have much time for cooking. As someone who has a blatant food obsession, this should fill me with complete dismay.
But, aside from her home-made Tablet (which I must try soon!), I have inherited one gorgeous recipe from her. Something that she used to make for my Dad growing up, which was then passed down to become a favourite of ours.
It’s a simple enough stew-type dish, but in order to make it sound more exciting to my Dad and his brothers when they were wee, she gave it the name: Americans.
I doubt that would wash with today’s youth. Nevertheless, the name has stuck and is used regularly in our particular branch of the Noble family. Please humour me and overlook the fact that there is nothing remotely American about the dish. 🙂
Dad is a veggie-phobe, so the original version was just sausages, potatoes and Oxo cubes. I like to add carrots and onions to mines. My brother likes to use Cumberland sausages with his and add mixed herbs. Since I’m the one with the blog, I get to write about my version of events. Naturally. 😉
Here are the ingredients, in all their splendour:
12 skinless pork sausages, cut in half
3 carrots, sliced
2 onions, diced
3 large potatoes, cut into 3″-ish chunks
3 Oxo cubes
Dont cut the potatoes and sausages too small, or they will disintegrate.
If your sausages aren’t skinless, I would boil them in water for 5-10 mins, then drain before adding the rest of the ingredients. It will be really oily otherwise. You can use beef if you like; I prefer the pork.
Simply bung all the ingredients in a big pot, fill with enough water to cover it all, then crumble your Oxo cubes in.
Season with a little salt (the Oxo cubes make it salty too), give it a stir then bring to the boil.
Once boiling, bring it to a simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
And that’s it! It’s ridiculously tasty, especially with lots of bread to soak up the delicious gravy. I bought some of that “hedgehog” bread the other day, and it was perfect with this!
It’s such a simple dish, which can be prepared in minutes and quickly fills the house with a wonderful, homely aroma. Even though there’s nothing particularly remarkable about the recipe itself, it was always regarded as a treat when Mum made it, when we were growing up. Perhaps the Americanisation of it thrilled us as much as it did my Dad and his brothers!
It freezes really well, as long as you don’t make the pieces too small (then it would go a bit mushy!). So if there’s a “Buy One Get One Free” deal in your local supermarket for sausages, I would thoroughly recommend doubling up the recipe and freezing half of it. If you have a microwave in work, then this is a perfect comfort-food lunch to break up a busy day!
It’s one of those dishes that will most definitely result in you sneaking back to the kitchen every now and again, for a sneaky ladlefull or two!
And if you happen to find yourself feeling rather fragile after a certain someone’s 78th birthday party, it is fabulous hangover food! 😉
Enjoy! 🙂 x