Bangers and Mash

Nothing beats the warm comfort of a bowl of Bangers and Mash, especially if the potatoes are mashed with lashings of brown butter and apple cider onion gravy is ladled liberally on top then all served with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

This Saturday is bonfire night, although since I have the market stall this weekend and will be baking all Saturday, we are delaying our celebrations until next week and joining my in-laws for the firework display in Ely over the cathedral. It will be Cole’s first bonfire night and I think he is going to love it. Or be scared senseless by the cracking bangs and terrifying shower of fire, forever scarred by the experience which will lead to nightmares and nervous tics, meaning we’ll all be in therapy when he reaches his teens. I’m gunning for the former.

Bonfire Night

It is absolutely obligatory to have sausages on bonfire night, I guess traditionally the sausages were roasted on the fire. I remember being bundled up in winter woollies clutching at my sausage in a bun, enamoured by the glittering hiss of the guy sizzling on the bonfire. Seeing a bonfire at firework displays, especially in London, is a rarity due to health and safety, hopefully Ely won’t let us down. Sausages though are definitely a must, oh and a cup of hot apple cider. We need to keep warm in the frosty November air.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

This recipe is the best of those two traditions. The sausages are simply roasted but the mash is made infinitely more superior by using brown butter which was a tip I garnered from Half Baked Harvest and I’m now going to implement every time I mash a potato. The taste is amazing.

The apple cider gravy is the only part of the meal where you might have to pay a bit of attention if you are not well versed in gravies. Gravy might have been the very first thing I learnt to cook as it was so vital to our Sunday roasts growing up. The consistency of your gravy probably depends on what part of the country you grew up in, the further north you get the thicker it is. I’ve had gravies you can pretty much stand a spoon up in and my Nan was from Liverpool so hers took some beating. I always err on her side for my Bangers and Mash, this is not a time for sophistication. The only advice I would adhere to here is to use proper dripping and meat stock. Although you could substitute with butter and vegetable stock (never a stock cube – please!!) the difference is immeasurable. Sorry veggies and vegans.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

I always have dripping in the fridge, again my Nan was from Liverpool, and we would think nothing of dripping on toast as a teatime snack. I cook a Sunday roast every weekend and after the meal has been done, before the washing up has been started I scoop out all the meat dripping from the roasting tin and store it in a jar in the fridge. Then we (this is usually Luke’s job) place the meat bones, along with some veg and lots of water, in our stock pot so the stock simmers away nicely on the Sunday evening. That way, we always have the makings of gravy on hand for any Bangers and Mash emergencies.

The final piece of the puzzle is the caramelised apples, they take moments so are worth the extra five minutes. They are cooked quickly with butter and sugar to retain a bit of bite then sweetened with a pinch of cinnamon.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

I can’t wait to share fireworks night with Cole, I have a bank of lovely memories of this time of year and hope he’ll have just as many. Although regardless of the fireworks, I know he’ll go crazy for the Bangers and Mash.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Print Recipe
Bangers and Mash with Apple Cider Onion Gravy and Caramelised Cinnamon Apples
Warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
  • 8 sausages from the butcher, gluten-free or non gluten-free
Caramelised Cinnamon Apples
  • 2 granny smith apples sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice
Brown Buttered Mash
  • 1 kg red potatoes peeled and halved
  • 125 g salted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
Apple Cider Onion Gravy
  • 20 ml dripping or butter
  • 500 g onions peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 50 g salted butter
  • 50 g all purpose flour gluten-free or non gluten-free
  • 400 ml chicken or beef stock
  • 150 ml apple cider
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
  • 8 sausages from the butcher, gluten-free or non gluten-free
Caramelised Cinnamon Apples
  • 2 granny smith apples sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice
Brown Buttered Mash
  • 1 kg red potatoes peeled and halved
  • 125 g salted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
Apple Cider Onion Gravy
  • 20 ml dripping or butter
  • 500 g onions peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 50 g salted butter
  • 50 g all purpose flour gluten-free or non gluten-free
  • 400 ml chicken or beef stock
  • 150 ml apple cider
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Instructions
Sausages
  1. Place the sausages in an oiled roasting tin and then into an oven pre-heated to 170° C. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the sausages are golden and juicy.
Gravy:
  1. Melt the dripping, then add the onion slices and heat on medium until the edges are beginning to catch in the pan.
  2. Pour in the apple cider vinegar and stir well, continue cooking on medium until the onions are turning golden brown.
  3. Stir in the butter until melted then add the flour, mixing well until the flour has absorbed all the fat. Continue cooking for 10 minutes to let the roux take on more colour.
  4. Pour in the stock very slowly, stirring all the time to remove lumps until it is beginning to resemble gravy. Once you’ve added all the stock then pour in the cider in the same way.
  5. Add the bay leaf, thyme and stir in the dijon, bringing the gravy up to a gentle boil. If the gravy is too thick for you, add some more stock or just water to get to your desired consistency.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from the heat.
Mash:
  1. Place the potatoes into salted boiling water and boil for 20 minutes until soft.
  2. Remove the potatoes then pass them through a potato ricer.
  3. In a small saucepan melt the butter until browned, making sure to remove from heat before the nutty brown bits start to burn.
  4. Stir the brown butter into the mash and season well.
Apples:
  1. Melt the butter then add the icing sugar, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice and then add the apple slices.
  2. Fry for about 5 minutes until the apples are beginning to colour then remove from heat.

My Nan’s Salmon Fishcakes

My Nans Salmon Fishcakes
This week has not been the most productive. It’s mainly involved me feeling sorry for myself on the sofa wrapped in a rug chugging back the paracetamol whilst constantly being tossed onto the floor by a particularly space hogging puppy.

I have been seeking my creature comforts this week and today seemed an especially appropriate day to wake up an old timey recipe from hibernation. My Nan’s fishcakes. She was absolutely famous for them in our family. Now, my Nan wasn’t a great cook, she was very much a child of rations, plain food and making do, but there are a few things in her repertoire which I still make as an adult and get such a childish pleasure from. Her trifle was in a class of its own, made from Bird’s custard, tinned fruit puree and a packet of sponge fingers, but it couldn’t be bettered. Her beef stew consisted of beef simply stewed with potato and carrots until it had boiled down to almost a thickened soup, but its comfort factor cannot be surpassed. It was her salmon fishcakes though which we have always considered her culinary masterpiece.

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When we needed a bit of cheering up, perhaps we’d had a long week at school, it would perk us up no end when we’d get home from school on a Saturday lunchtime (yes, we went to school on Saturdays, don’t ask) and Mum would say that Nan had made us some fishcakes for a treat. There was no better reward for double maths, double chemistry on a Saturday (seriously that was the lesson plan, sadists ran our school) and we could easily eat the whole plateful she had made us to last the weekend in a single sitting.

My Nans Salmon Fishcakes

These are probably the most simple salmon fishcakes you will come across and they have a very special and secret ingredient, tinned salmon. When I first found out that was how she made them I was horrified. It just seemed so wrong. But really the taste is unique, and despite how much I love a good fresh salmon fishcake, these ones are imbued with a more intensely sweet flavour which is entirely different. And to be honest, there isn’t a whole lot of salmon in these anyway. These fishcakes are more like mashed potato cakes kissed with a sweet blush of salmon. However that salmon flavour perfumes the whole cake.

My Nans Salmon Fishcakes

When I asked Nan once how she made them she just said mashed potato and tinned salmon. That was her recipe. Now, I’ve taken a liberty or two with my Nan’s recipe as I have added a few snipped chives, just because I couldn’t resist. I also included a generous amount of ground white pepper for a bit more of a kick and salt, which I know Nan definitely wouldn’t have used. She didn’t really buy into seasoning.

My Nans Salmon Fishcakes

The way to serve Nan’s fishcakes is and always will be non-negotiable, with HP sauce. It is in fact the only time I will ever eat HP sauce as if I’m pressed I’m not sure I really like it. However, here, when the crunchy crumbed shell which encases the sweetly soft interior is paired with the deep tang of the brown sauce, the result is sublime and the only thing in the whole world I feel like eating at the moment.

My Nans Salmon Fishcakes

My Nan’s Salmon Fishcakes
Makes about 6

800g potatoes
100g salted butter, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 x 170g tin wild skinless and boneless red salmon
1 tablespoon of snipped chives
1 egg, lightly beaten
85g breadcrumbs (panko breadcrumbs or gf if you like)
50g flour (plain or gf)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Peel and quarter the potatoes then place in a large pan of salted boiling water.
  2. Bring the potatoes back to the boil then simmer for 25 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
  3. Drain the potatoes, then add them back into the pan with the butter. Add the white pepper then mash until the potato is incredibly smooth.
  4. Tip the potato into a bowl then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the potato is cold.
  5. Drain the salmon and mix with the cold potato and the chives, until evenly dispersed.
  6. Shape the potato and fish mixture into patties of equal weight, about 125g, then place on a plate and put back in the fridge to settle for half an hour.
  7. Separate the flour, egg and breadcrumbs into separate bowls, then remove the fishcakes from the fridge and coat each fishcake; first with the flour, then with the egg, then the breadcrumbs.
  8. Heat a very wide heavy based saucepan and drop in 2 tablespoons of the oil until warm.
  9. With the heat on low, shallow fry the fishcakes in batches, 7 minutes on each side, then place on kitchen towel to drain.
  10. Replenish the pan with another tablespoon of oil after each batch has finished cooking.
  11. Serve the fishcakes with a light salad and plenty of brown sauce.
  12. These fishcakes freeze very well so make a huge stash for emergencies.