Ok, so it’s been a long time between blog posts. But I have a good excuse. Kind of.
I started a new job this year heading up the Drama department at a new school. It has been a welcome change of pace from executive leadership and I have to ask myself if I’d ever consider entering that sphere again. The answer is probably no – at this stage, anyway. I’ve loved being back in the classroom and working with some of the most switched-on kids I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with to create some pretty good theatre and film, and I am surrounded by the kindest, most positive and engaging staff that it’s just a pleasure to go to work everyday. And while the work itself is a far cry from the mania of my previous role, there is just always something on: sports days, year level productions, House events, and as we lead into the the final two weeks of school, end of year events. My social calendar has never been so full!
In terms of food, however, this has meant a little extra eating out, relying on old staples that can be made in an instant, and the necessity of experimenting with new satisfying yet super-quick recipes to keep life interesting. And while there are so many photos on my camera taken with the intention of writing a recipe blog post, they have not made it any further than a quick upload to my instagram.
This is a recipe I literally threw together after a hectic week: a school performance on Monday followed by two nights auditioning actors for a show I am directing next year, report writing and a conference that finished later in the evening than is acceptable on a Friday. At least there was wine.
As you will have come to appreciate if you’ve kept up with this blog, a traybake is my answer to a fuss-free supper that maximises flavour and economises time in the preparation, cooking and clean up: one knife, one chopping board, one tray. It really is more an exercise in artless arrangement than it is actual cooking. While this boasts typical Italian flavours, ingredients and colours – there is nothing in this dish that detracts from the national red, white and green – it also has a certain festive flair to it. With Christmas not too far away now, try this out for those crazy midweek let’s-catch-up-before-Christmas dinner parties you try to host when your time and patience for all things ‘yule’ is wearing thin. I guarantee you will spend more time sipping wine and chatting with friends than you will in the kitchen. That’s my kind of Christmas!
(Festive) Italian Sausage and Vegetable Traybake
- 8 good quality Italian pork and fennel sausages, pricked over with a fork
- 12 chat potatoes, halved
- 2 red capsicum, deseeded, cut into 1cm strips
- 2 zucchini, sliced chunkily on the diagonal
- 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 gloves garlic, unpeeled, pressed with the back of a knife
- 200ml dry white wine
- 1 teaspoons rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
- 1 bunch basil
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200C (fan forced).
Tumble all ingredients except for the wine and half the basil and parsley into a roasting tray and season with the salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until everything is covered evenly in the oil and herbs.
Arrange so that the ingredients are evenly distributed around the tray making sure that the sausages sit on top of the vegetables. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and add the wine. Turn the briefly ingredients in the juices and rearrange the tray placing the sausages back on top making sure that the ‘unbrowned’ side is now facing up. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the the sausages are browned and the potatoes are tender and a little golden.
Scatter over remaining shredded basil and parsley leaves. Serve immediately and directly on the table with crusty bread to mop up any juices.