Thursday 4 February 2010

Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music... Ad Infinitum

And the winning dish is...? Sausage hotpot. With vegetarian sausages.

For a few months now the most-requested recipe chez moi has been a hearty, filling, delicious concoction that came in a cookery book for children. It is easy to prepare and the whole family has reached a unanimous decision: Thursday is sausage hotpot day. Saying that, though, my wife and children were not very impressed a couple of weekends ago when I revealed that I used the left-over fat from the Sunday roast to pan-fry the onions, garlic, sausages and the rest of the ingredients. Cue cringeing faces all round the table. Sometimes the Sunday roast left-over fat has been in the fridge for a few weeks. Or months. But, as I explain to them, that's what we do in Cuba, so, get used to it, my lovelies, it's just a lesson on multiculturalism.

Back to this tasty recipe and the music to go with it. Here're the ingredients, preparation and melodies I recommend you listen to, as the warmth of this superb dish serenades your belly with an ardent culinary lullaby.

Sausage Hotpot


2 eating apples (fruit provides a natural sweetness and an extra vitamin boost)
2 tbsp olive oil
6-8 sausages (we use Linda McCartney ones)
1 onion (chopped)
1 carrot (diced)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 tbsp mixed herbs
110g (4oz) lean bacon cut into bite-sized pieces (optional)
400g (14oz) tinned borlotti or pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
400ml chicken or vegetable stock
4 tbsp tinned chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
Salt and pepper

Carefully remove the skin of the apples using a vegetable peeler. Quarter them and remove the cores. Cut the apples into bite-sized pieces. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F/Gas 6). Heat the oil (or Sunda roast left-over fat in my case, oh, yes, I'm sticking to it) in a large saucepan or ovenproof pan and cook the sausages for 5 minutes, or until browned all over. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside. Put the onion and carrot into the pan and fry over a medium heat for 5 mnutes, stirring frequently. Next, add the garlic, bacon and herbs, stir well, and cook for 6 minutes. (Transfer to a large casserole dish if you aren't using an overproof pan). Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato purée, apples and sausages and stir. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Add the beans and stir well. Cover with a lid and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 25 minutes. The sauce should reduce and thicken and the apples will become tender. Take care when removing the casserole dish from the oven as the hotpot will very hot. Season with salt and pepper. I serve this with rice for my daughter and me and jacket potato for my wife and son.

My first track to go with this yummy recipe is one of my favourite songs ever. And no, it was not originally written by Manhattan Transfer, although it was part of their 1987 album 'Brasil'. Djavan is one of those composers whose music is difficult to label, but not hard to like. He's got the lyrics, the rhythm and the voice, oh yes, the voice. Enjoy.

And if we're discussing voices, I dare you, my fellow blogger/reader to listen to the next track and not to be carried away. I challenge you to remain passive and blasé. What's that I see in your hand? A lighter? And why are both your hands in the air now, waving from side to side? I knew you would succumb to this melody in the same way we all do at home to the might of the sausage hotpot every Thursday. Just, please, don't set the house on fire. As for you, sir, step forward, David, or Ziggy, I don't care what you call yourself anymore, to me, tonight, you're Mr Voice.

And to round this post up, I bring you a heavy, funky, sultry dose of acid jazz courtesy of one of the better bands out there, St Germain. You loved them last summer when I uploaded Rose Rouge. This number is more laid-back but it still exudes musicianship and togetherness. Many thanks and as we say in Spanish: Buen provecho.

Copyright 2010

Next Post: 'Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music', to be published on Sunday 7th February at 10am (GMT)


  1. the hotpot looks divine. I'm coming over for dinner next thursday!

  2. Loved the acid jazz and, regarding the hotpot, your family is sooooooooooo lucky.

  3. Your recipe looks scrumptious!! But when Bowie is singing I cannot eat - I can only fly away in my imagination to planes of being only he can induce. Love Bowie.

    Cuban, did you know that Lhasa de Sela died on Jan. 1st? She had a 2 year battle with breast cancer. Gone at 37 years old. So very sad.

  4. what a coincidence I am cooking sausages for my dinner right at this very moment - meat ones I am afraid!! suddenly felt a craving for good old British bangers and mash!! but I really like the look of your veggy version...thanks...and who can resist the man from mars...Greetings from a very wet and rainy mexico city this evening (72 hrs of non stop rain in the DRY season!!)

  5. Looks delicious! I might have to try this one.

  6. Many thanks for your kind comments. Bonnie, yes, I read her obituary in The Guardian some weeks ago and immediately included one of her clips in a post that will be published soon. It's such a pity. She was an amazing artist.

    Greetings from London.

  7. "ardent culinary lullaby?" Seriously, what else could one possibly add after THAT?

  8. I want to eat at your house. Mmm.

  9. Hi Cuban, This is entirely off the point, but I read a really interesting essay by Juan Antonio Molina, Centro de la Images, Mexico City, for a book that I particularly didn't like - Cuba: Campo Adentro by susan S. Bank. I had a blog entry about his writing, but blogspot won't let me find it... (I usually don't like reading about photography, anymore than I liked her highly theatrical (seductive) images, but his writing (translated with the Spanish opposite) was very interesting.
    "An Adult Game
    I tend to approach photography as if it were a way to remember moments I have not lived, a way to become persons I have not been, a way to experience the lives of others. I enjoy reading a photograph as fiction, as one reads literature or a play. At least, this is was how I approached literature and theater as a child. That is to say, like a game.
    If once such fantasy was child's play, now it is a game for adults. I cannot see every photograph as a harmless object, or every photographed reality as pleasant or charming. To play at being the other also implicates us in embracing other's pain. This goes beyond compassion or complicity, since I cannot pity anyone whose pain, wants, and frustrations I have appropriated.

  10. A nice warm bowl of sausage hotpot, I'll take mine with bacon please, and terrific music to match. What could be better?

    I always get chills when an audience knows all the words to a song. Bowie at his best.

    I agree with you comment about St. Germain. It takes real musicianship to create a feeling of effortless togetherness.

  11. Que cantante tan maravilloso, hasta ahora no habia escuchado de el ( Djavan) . As far as putting the left offer fat in the recipe, funny, we Mexicans do the same, although my Croatian husband also cringes at the thought of left-overs.

  12. My kind of recipe, my kind of music..delicious all around..perfect..thanks!!

  13. Great food. I'm off to the shops tomorrow to buy the stuff. I need to be fed!

  14. UMMM spicy vegetarian sausage! So glad you included this recipe because I couldn't eat the regular versian. I think the music blends very well with the dish--quirky and satisfying.

  15. That's a lovely looking dish, Cuban! I'm sure you and your family enjoyed it till you dropped. As for the music... I first heard Djavan over 10 years ago in a club in Cairo. I was mesmerized. Beautiful music and a beautiful voice. And, David Bowie is just the voice of the 80's for me... just so. As for St. Germain, there are special honeymoon memories attached to that music. I remember listening to St. Germain as we sat around on the beach, and lazed around in the pool and soaked up the sun. So, quite simply, this was a most entertaining and nostalgic trip for me. Thank you, Cuban.


  16. Man, you drive me crazy with your choices of food&music! I would like to prepare this sausage hotpot recipe this winter :-). Many thanks for Djavan. Albur!

  17. Yum-yum! Aside from the apples (and veggie sausages), your sausage hot pot sounds a lot like mine! Good food and good music, wow, what more could one want - you know how to live! ;-)

  18. Many thanks for your kind feedback.

    Greetings from London.

  19. Loooks good ... many of the ingredients are a lot like a Mulligatawny Soup recipe I have, but it doesn't slow cook in the oven.

    Regarding the days-old fat ... ha ha ha! I can sympathize with your kids. My dad used to make stew where he would just open the fridge and throw into a pot any leftovers he could find. Or so it seemed to us. But seriously, if you hadn't somehow been forced to tell them, I'm sure their tastebuds would never have detected it.

  20. Yes, Jen, you're right. The only reason why they minded was because I told them. It goes to show, doesn't it?

    Greetings from London.



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