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James St Recipes: Niall McKenna's Pad Thai and Sausages with tomato and bay leaf

NOW that the crisp, autumn weather is upon us, it's time to ditch the summer salads and indulge in warm, comfort meals.

As busy, working parents, we know that it can be difficult to find the motivation to cook meals from scratch after a long day at the office, but by creating simple meal plans for the week ahead, we make it a little easier on ourselves. For home cooking, we tend to bulk buy our dried goods, pasta, rice and cous cous and use our local grocery shops, greengrocer, Asian supermarket and butchers for the week to week produce we need.

There are a couple of simple dishes that we rely on for quick and easy dinners, one being a good Pad Thai and the other being sausages. This Pad Thai recipe is a great winter warmer and perfect for using up leftover chicken, prawns and veg. The second dish of sausages can be served with anything, but we favour the Mediterranean route of a warm tomatoes and herbs.

PAD THAI

(Serves 4)

100g cooked, peeled prawns (can also used diced chicken)

2 cloves garlic, minced

200g tofu, cut into 1cm dice

1tsp sweet daikon, finely sliced

50g dry shrimps

150g bean sprouts

300g pad Thai sauce

1 egg, beaten

Unsalted, toasted peanuts

2 chillies, sliced

Lime juice

4 lime wedges

Thin Thai rice stick noodles, soaked

50g coriander, finely sliced

Nampla to taste

METHOD

In a pan, heat the oil over a moderate heat. Add in the garlic and fry until fragrant.

In the same pan, add tofu, sweet daikon and dried shrimp and stir fry until the tofu browns.

Add the rice noodles and stir fry until soft, before adding the Pad Thai sauce, a little at a time.

Add a beaten egg to the pan and stir fry the noodles and egg together. Next add the bean sprouts and coriander and mix well.

Finally, add in the cooked shrimp and stir fry until heated through. Transfer to a serving dish and top with chopped peanuts, lime wedges, dried ground chilli, bean sprouts and chives

SAUSAGES WITH TOMATO AND BAY LEAF

6 pork sausages

4 shallots, chopped

2 sticks of celery, chopped

1 jar passata tomatoes

2 bay leaves, chopped

1 sprig thyme, picked

1tsp chilli flakes

METHOD

Pre heat the oven to 200C and place the sausages on a roasting tray with the shallots, cooking in the oven until slightly browned.

Add in the celery and cover the ingredients with the tomatoes, a bay leaf, thyme, chilli flakes and a cup of water, season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Once cooked through, mix the ingredients together and serve.

You can serve this with new boiled potatoes crushed with a little olive oil.

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