It is officially the first week of spring in New Zealand, which seems odd to acknowledge after several weeks of unusually warm spring-like weather. But a cold snap has arrived this week to christen the new season with the Western ranges cloaked in snow. There is a particular route to town that I bike which on a clear day makes the snowcapped mountains look much closer than they are. I often take a moment to enjoy this view and remember a time in my life (in my early twenties) when I used to chase that fresh snow around the globe. It feels like another lifetime, but also a pivotal point in my life that lead me to where I am now.

The recipes I share today have a foot in winter – warming casserole – with the other in spring – cauliflower mash with garlic and calendula butter. As we bridge the seasons I find myself swinging between warming comforting meals and lighter spring fare of salads and greens. Tuck this meal away for a grey rainy day and I guarantee it will be just what is needed.

Golden Sausage & Apple Casserole

This is a hearty sausage casserole served with fluffy cauliflower mash. Be sure to source good-quality pork sausage for this dish as it will make a difference to the flavour – I used locally produced free-range pork and herb sausages from the Sausage Press. Tart granny smith apples and a sweet and sour gravy compliment the pork perfectly.
Servings 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 6 good-quality pork sausages, about 500g
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 rounded tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • About 2 cups boiling water or stock
  • 1 large granny smith apple – peeled, cored and cut into 5mm slices


  • Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a moderate heat, add the onions and saute for 5 minutes to soften. Cut the sausages in half and add to the onions. Continue to cook until the sausages are evenly browned. A little colouring of the onions is encouraged at this stage for flavour.
  • In a 2-cup capacity measuring jug add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, tomato paste, sugar and flour and mix into a paste. Slowly add the boiling water while stirring to make 2 cups of gravy. Pour the gravy around the sausages in the pan. Lightly cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes to thicken the gravy.
  • Arrange the apple slices around the sausages. Continue to cook, covered, for another 15 minutes or so until the sausages are cooked through and apples tender.
  • Serve with cauliflower mash and steamed greens.

Cauliflower Mash with Garlic & Calendula Butter

I have included a potato in this cauliflower mash to give it extra structure. You can leave it out and use the total weight in cauliflower if preferred, keeping in mind it won’t be quite as thick once mashed. For the garlic butter, I added edible calendula petals as I have self-seeded plants all around the garden. They are definitely bringing a little sunshine to meals at present. Leave them out if unavailable or nasturtium flowers would also make a nice addition.
Servings 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes


  • 1 medium agria potato, about 250g, peeled
  • Half a medium-sized cauliflower, about 400g
  • ½ tsp salt
  • About 2 tbsp milk

Garlic & Calendula Butter

  • 75 g room temperature butter
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Handful of chopped garden herbs – I used parsley, fennel and edible calendula petals


  • Cut the peeled potato into 3cm chunks and place into a large saucepan. Add the salt and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then cook for 5 minutes.
  • Cut the cauliflower into 3-4cm-sized pieces. Add to the pan so they are sitting on top of the potatoes and water. Do not stir, and cover with the lid. The idea here is to steam the cauliflower rather than boil so to not become too watery.
  • Once the cauliflower and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes, drain well then return to the heat for 1 minute to evaporate extra moisture. Remove from the heat, add 2 tablespoons of milk and mash well. Add a splash more milk if needed to loosen the mixture. Keep warm.
  • Make the garlic butter by mixing the butter, garlic and herbs in a bowl, use a fork to mash until combined. Dollop 3 heaped teaspoons of the butter on to the mash, stirring once melted, and serve. Extra garlic butter can be kept in the fridge and used in garlic bread.

Join the Conversation

  1. Jayne Rolfe says:

    Made this using venison sausages kindly given to me by a neighbour; absolutely delicious 😋

    1. Oh lovely, yes I have made this with venison sausage before too. Delicious!

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