Grownups’ sandwich and the nature of creativity

Today is saturday. I have a day off, it is lovely weather, there is a food market downtown and I have time on my hands. Days like today usually start off with me watching Saturday kitchen on BBC1 followed by a trip to the market and the ‘Nature butcher‘ where I’ll buy whatever looks interesting and whatever suits my mood. By the time I get home, I have a vague idea of what I’ll be cooking but only once I start cooking, the preparation explains itself to me.

And so it was today. The Nature butcher sold me some lovely bratwurst and at the market I bought new season’s beetroots, last year’s celeriac and freshly baked carrot sourdough bread. On my way home, I thought I’d make a celeriac mash with baked sausages and a salad of beetroot and lettuce (from the garden) with balsamic vinegar. However, once I started peeling and grating the beetroots, I noticed that they tasted awful. Fortunately, I also noticed the funny stalks sticking out of the celeriac and the beetroot. They taste great and this recipe introduced itself to me. A hearty sandwich packed with flavour. It is heavy, earthy, bitter, sweet, rich and complex in flavour. I think this is the kind of sandwich I would not have liked when I was a kid because children experience bitter flavours stronger and dislike them more than adults. However, like coffee and beer, with a few more years of life and taste experience, I now think this is the best sandwich ever!

You might have noticed that I talk about ideas that come to me. I think creativity and ideas do not merely come from within ourselves. They also come from outside us. Most of the recipe’s I create are given to me by the ingredients I bought, the problems I run into while cooking, the things I did that day and my genius.

Ingredients:
1/2 celeriac bulb
the stalks of 1 celeriac (remove the leafs unless you like seriously bitter flavours)
the stalks of 3 beetroots (remove the leafs) (or use chard)
2 bratwursts (take them from the fridge 10 minutes before you start cooking)
4 slices of carrot sourdough bread (any dark sourdough bread will do)
50g butter
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt & pepper
1 bottle Karmeliet triple (the perfect beer for a warm spring day)

Peel and cut the celeriac bulb into strips. Wash it and cook it with little water with a lid on for +-10 minutes or until soft. Drain and put the celeriac back into the pan and add some butter, salt and pepper. Mash it and set aside with the lid on the pan.

Meanwhile, finely cut the celeriac and beetroot stalks. Wash it and cook it with little water and some olive oil for +- 10 minutes or until soft. Drain it, put it back into the pan and set aside with the lid on the pan.

Put the grill pan and a frying pan on the stove and turn the heat to maximum. Add olive oil and butter to the frying pan, leave the grill pan to become very hot. Put the sausages in the frying pan and put a large lid on the frying pan. This helps to cook the sausage all the way through. Turn once or twice. Once the sausages are done, remove them from the pan, wrap them in tinfoil and set them aside to rest for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat below the frying pan.

Place the slices of sourdough bread in the grill pan. Pour half a bottle of Karmeliet trippel in the frying pan and use a wooden spoon to mix it with the frying fat and to remove all bits that stick to the bottom of the pan. Add salt & pepper.

Turn the bread slices once or twice until they are golden with black char marks on both sides. Then remove them from the grill pan and turn off the heat.

Spread the celeriac puree onto the toasted bread, sprinkle the celeriac and beetroot stalks over it. Slice the sausages and put them on top of the stalks. Drizzle with the beer gravy and serve with a glass of Karmeliet trippel. Cheers!

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