Friday, February 4, 2011


I got sent a box of goodies last week by British Onions. But it wasn't just onions. It was all sorts of other store cupboard essentials. The task was to make an onion gravy so they sent Mushroom Ketchup, English Mustard, Worcester sauce and Marmite. These are supposedly the key ingredients to making a good gravy. Like a good pupil with a job to do, I set about my gravy exercise.

My american cousin Rachel was due for dinner, so in uncharacteristic style I made bangers and mash and she, poor thing, had to suffer my experiment! It's not really my sort of food. Nursery food too much perhaps. And not enough scope for tweaking and playing with flavours. However, I soon realised that I could have some fun. I cooked up the onions in butter and olive oil until they were beginning to stick and turn golden (one regular onion and one red). Then I added a tablespoon of plain flour to give the gravy some body. It's not unlike making French Onion Soup really. I added some water and turned the heat up high. I added some star anise to give real depth and then some molasses to make it sticky and sweet. A dash of Chianti, some Marmite and Mushroom Ketchup (which smells more of cloves than mushrooms) and we had some really good axle grease. Once the sausages were browned and cooked I poured the gravy over the sausages so the flavours would combine, and placed it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. Accompanied with some carrot and potato mash, it turns out that bangers and mash aren't as boring as I thought, so long as there's some good deep warm flavours to wash it down. Don't forget though, the key is definitely the star anise and molasses.

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