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Sausages with roast, fennel, red onions and tomatoes recipe

Meat substitutes: friend to the meatless or expensive tastebud-annoyer? Discuss.

Most vegans and veggies will probably have tried any number of them and have a couple of boxes knocking around in the freezer.

To my mind, meat substitutes work like this: some days, you see a new product that piques your interest. You give it a go, and wish you'd licked the sole of your shoe and then gargled with gravel for good measure - anything to get that funky taste out of your mouth. Sure, it doesn't happen often but when it does, it's gruesome.

I'm thinking here of Redwood vegan tuna style pate. It wasn't perhaps the sharpest buy out there - I wasn't a massive fan of tuna when I did eat meat, and that was such a long time ago, I've long since forgotten what it actually tasted like. Only, once I put the pate in my mouth, I knew instantly it didn't taste like that - if it did, no one would be eating meat in the first place. Ditto any vegan hard cheese substitute I've ever tasted.

Other days, meat substitutes come into their own. Those days are mainly when you're feeling lazy, or tired, or hungover. After a long week or a heavy Friday night, there's a time when you just want to fry something and put it between two slices of bread. Maybe with sauce, if you can work up the energy.

Those times, I'm quite partial to Vegideli fish-style fingers with a metric truckload of vegan mayonnaise. Other times, those crappy veggie fingers (the ones made of mashed potato, random veg and breadcrumbs) that you can buy a box of in most supermarkets for less than a quid hit the spot. Brown sauce optional. Then there's always the frankfurter option - my vote goes to Taifun tofu weiners.

But the winner for my money is Linda McCartney's sausages* - they're cheap, available everywhere (big plus) and they're pretty damn tasty (bigger plus).

Here's a recipe that gives Linda McCartney's sausages a big cuddle.

Sausages with roast fennel, red onions and tomatoes recipe
Serves 2-3


100ml white wine
100ml water
1 scant tsp bouillon powder
Smidge of Marmite or yeast extract of your choice
1 scant teaspoon of tomato puree
1 dessertspoon of olive oil
Two tomatoes, quartered
Two red onions, cut into eighths
One head of fennel, cut into eighths
One packet of Linda McCartneys sausages (the original, vegan ones)
One tablespoon of dried thyme

How you do it

Preheat your oven to 220 (or 200 if it's a fan oven).

Put the water, wine, bouillon powder, Marmite and tomato puree in a saucepan and simmer til the mixture has reduced in volume by about a third.

Once that's done, take the sauce of the heat.

Put the tomatoes, onions and fennel on a baking tray and pour over the olive oil and sauce. Sprinkle over the dried thyme, then mix thoroughly.

Bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to soften.

Take the veggies out, turn the heat down by 20 degrees and put the sausages on top. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until the sausages are cooked through.

Serve with juice-mopping-up bread.

(*By the way, if anyone from Linda McCartney's reads this - a few more vegan products wouldn't kill you would it? Kthxbai.)

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