Man, it’s cold outside. I guess it is mid November, but I still wasn’t prepared for these plummeting temperatures. The extra layers have been applied, the heating is on and I need some pleasing food to warm me up and take the ‘autumnal’ blues away.

I’ve given the slow cooker an airing today (I’m also thinking it may get a great deal more use over the next couple of months) as I had some lovely plump Cumberland sausages fresh from the meat counter just begging to made into something tasty and fulfilling. I had a hunt around and we devised this lovely casserole for our dinner tonight from a few store cupboard ingredients that I had to hand – certainly under a fiver to feed two (generously):

You will need a 1lb of Cumberland (or any other semi decent sausages), one large chopped onion, 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, a packet of chestnut mushrooms (could substitute for button), a tin of chopped tomatoes, 250ml chicken stock, a tablespoon and a half of curry powder, a tablespoon of tomato purée, two teaspoons of sugar and seasoning.

Here’s how you make it:

– Start by browning off the sausages on the stove then remove and slice into rounds. Leave to one side.
– Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan and cook for five minutes.
– Throw in the mushroom (whole) for another five minutes.
– Add the curry powder and cook off for one minute.
– Pour in both the tomatoes, stock, purée and sugar. Season to taste.
– Transfer to a slow cooker and cook on high for at least 1 hour (or alternatively, simmer on the hob for the same amount of time).

We served ours with a rather large helping of creamy mashed potatoes. It certainly hits the spot and gives you all the comfort of a good plate of sausage and mash, but pepped up a little by the curry flavour – with the added bonus of some juicy whole mushrooms to get your teeth into (they soak up the spice perfectly). I think next time we will add some carrots too for a little extra sweetness.

A great winter warmer on a budget.