Braised beef and Doncaster ale sausages with onion and leek grav

Braised beef and Doncaster ale sausages with onion and leek gravy, sweet potato chips and apricot chutney.

I thought I’d start by talking about local ingredients and some favourites from our rather excellent market. Sustainability is becoming more important to more people. It seems everyone is growing and making, not least for economic reasons. There is a tradition of growing, skills and advice are passed down generations. It isn’t hard to imagine how economic conditions help to keep these skills alive. In future posts -into the summer, I hope to be blogging about how we are pooling sources, skill sharing and trading with produce. Today the focus on ingredients from the local award winning market.

 So what did I find to treat us with in a tasty supper? Wilkinsons award winning sausages caught my eye. I am not a fan of the frozen supermarket variety. To me there is nothing more foul than a chewy bit of gristle in your sausage, I would rather go without than that and then of course there is the whole terribleness of the meat industry and the abuses and contamination of the meat and meat products. Its been a good while since since I had any. What specifically caught my eye was that these are made with beef, and locally sourced meat (their website and counter staff will tell you exactly where from) and Doncaster brewery ale. The beef is marinaded for 3 days in the micro-brewery’s Cheswolds bitter and then breadcrumbs and black pepper are added. No wonder they are prize winners, the pork version was awarded gold at a British Pork Executive competition. Alas I had just missed them making sausages, else I could have watched and taken photos for you. They do it right there at the stall. (I have since been told on a Thurs morning if you want to see.) Obviously onion and leek go pretty well, I picked those up for pence, and whilst looking I got a large bag of apricots for £1.50 (most of the stalls on Friday had this offer and those kinds of surprises are the best thing about browsing a good market) and that, I thought, would be enough for a nice fruity sticky meaty supper. Theres nothing better on a cold dark January night.

I wanted a drink to compliment the food and what better than a nice ale to drink with it and to use for the onion gravy?  The boys at Wilkinson’s told me that Doncaster brewery had just opened their tap room on Young St so off I popped for a nosey and to get a recommendation and a bottle. They were all out and assured me that everywhere else was, so I sampled a glass of sandhouse ale (after Doncaster’s historic sandhouses) and headed back to the market to see what the new market alehouse and deli might have to offer. Turns out rather a lot, friendly staff, with time for you and the inclination to chat about a shared love of local and sustainably produced food and drink. Who crucially, knew more about ale than me. Based on my ingredients I was recommended Imperial ale. From ‘The Imperial brewery’ just down the road in Brian Blessed’s town of Mexborough. It is a nice dark copper with a slightly sweet aftertaste and did the trick for adding a bit extra whilst still allowing the flavour of the sausage to be the star of the show. Right. Recipe time!

Supper for two

For the sausage:

4 Wilkinson’s beef and ale sausages

1 bottle of ale (won’t need it all for cooking!)

Homemade stock or demi glace or 1 stock cube (if you must)

1 red onion

1 clove garlic

1 medium leek

Cheater’s chutney:

Roughly 1lb of peeled chopped apricots or other fruit

1 med white onion

2 garlic gloves

1 tspn chili flakesflakes

Approx 100g of brown sugar (sweeten to your taste)

4 tbsn cider vinegar

Spicy sweet potato chips:

1 medium sized sweet potato

Teaspoon cumin seeds

Tablespoon chili flakes


Olive oil

From the market alehouse and deli I also bought lmperials’ “Bees knee’s” because you know I like bees by now I guess, and its brewed with local honey from Mexborough, a pale straw coloured ale, light and slightly sweet with a hint of that honey, lovely to drink with my supper (I accidently drank all the rest of the ‘Imperial ale’ whilst cooking.) I also bought Axholme brewing co’s pumpkin porter (they grow their own pumpkins for it) which I had with my second supper of leftover chutney and  poached eggs.


Slice and chop your fruit, onion and garlic for the chutney first as this takes the longest and preheat your oven to 200oc or gas mark 7

Add all your ingredients into a pan on a high heat turn it down to a low heat for around 45 mins till the sauce is thickened but whilst the fruit still retains a bit of shape.

Whilst the chutney simmers, peel and slice your sweet potato. Coat it with the olive oil and spices (I put it in a bowl and use my hands.) Then place onto a baking tray, it doesn’t matter if you need to overlap, lightly smear a little marmalade over (a little goes a long way.)

Slice your red onion and finely dice the garlic (or crush with a little sea salt, which is better) add to a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and soften gently whilst you slice the leek. Add the leek

Next heat your frying pan on a high flame and add the sausages turning regular to braise them for 3/4 mins. Then add to your garlic onion and leek.

Now deglaze yoiur frying pan with a good splash of ale and add your stock.

Transfer this to your sausages and again deglaze and stir up. Add ale and stock as required and season to taste, leave the sausages 7-8 mins to cook through.

Warm plates in the oven and serve with a large ale. Enjoy. We did!


Local honey and coconut lemon muffins

Local honey and coconut lemon muffins

2 eggs (medium)

4 tablespoons of honey (I used local honeycomb)

250ml milk (semi-skimmed or whole)

125ml vegetable oil

 400g self raising flour

lemon rind to your taste, I used a tablespoon

4 tablespoons of coconut (use less if you prefer)

The flavouring ingredients can be substituted for whatever you like. If you want to make chocolate ones do NOT use drinking chocolate and be sure to substitue 100g SR flour for the 100g of cocoa powder.

You will also need:A muffin tray and muffin paper cases

Whisk your wet ingredients together in a jug. Combine your dry ingredients into your bowl and make a well to add the liquid, mix untill it all comes together. Note: if you have any fresh fruit to add, do so right at the end after youve combined all the other ingredients. Fill cases two thirds full (for the right shaped muffins) and bake for 25 mins (approx, til brown)

This honey just makes everything better and really is a touch of magic in everything and anything. I am quite keen to keep my own bees and am researching the topic in order to get going this summer. So I just had to share how pretty it is.

For the cinnamon sugar 

You can add sugar to an airtight jar and flavour it with a cinnamon stick (or any other ingredients) or you may wish to mix cinnamon and sugar as I did, it makes a lovely decoration on the top too. A good ration is 2 tablespoons of caster and one tablespoon of cinnamon. I took a couple of good pinches and spirinkled over before they cooled so that it ‘stuck’.

I tried out my new dehydrator with fruit so have a couple of jars of dried pear and apple. Pear and honey is a fabulous combination. Trust me I can’t wax lyrical enough about that, pear and honey muffins are fabulous!


Pear and rosehip tea

I added two small slices or one large slice, of dehydrated pear and a tablespoon of dried rosehips (mine are whole crushed ones) You can make tea with whatever you like and its fun to experiment with combinations. I added this to the infuser in the centre of my teapot and it made about 2 cups.