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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your loved ones, filled with good cheer, lots of laughter and loads of great food! I am slowly getting my mojo back. In the kitchen, that is. I seem to be having a difficult time getting back into the groove of cooking. I’m afraid that all the pre-Christmas preparations have left me knackered. I just had to use that word! It’s all good though. I’m hanging out with my girls, reading, watching movies, listening to music. We are eating, just not long, thought-out meals. Simple foods. Like this panino with Italian sausage. Oh, not just any sausage either. It’s the Bartolini sausage. I referred to this sausage briefly in the Orecchiette con Rapini e Salsiccia post. It was a side-note in that dish, with rapini the real star. This time, the star is the Bartolini Sausage.

Ages ago, I received the Kitchenaid attachments for making sausage. Hubby was hoping I would follow in my Italian ancestor’s footsteps and make some homemade sausage. All of those attachments have yet to be unwrapped from its packaging, let alone used for making sausages. But then I came across John’s recipe over at from the Bartolini kitchens. Simple, delicious and, most importantly, no casings! How great is that? Pork, spicy pancetta, garlic infused white wine, salt pepper and fennel seeds. I gotta have fennel seeds in my sausage. And that’s it. You’ve got yourselves some delicious makings for Italian sausage.

I had used some of it for my orecchiette dish and then froze the remainder into various shapes. And was I ever thankful to find them in my freezer once my mojo in the kitchen had gone.

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As I look at that photo with the sausages laid out, I can’t help but be reminded of an Eskimo Inukshuk.Β I grilled them on the BBQ, with big, light snowflakes falling down upon me from the sky. Sipping a glass of wine. It was a lovely evening for my first-ever barbie in the wintertime.

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Foraging through the fridge, I came up with a few goodies to add to these tasty little sausages, making this panino a meal in itself. Bumba Calabrese, a spicy sauce with Porcini mushrooms from Calabria, gorgeous spicy marinated eggplant from Italy, and my all-time favourite panino filling, rapini. Eat as is or grill it, it’s up to you. Now how’s that for a simple dinner?