Tuesday, 27 November 2007
The search for sausage (oo er)
It was a scene like Brad and Janet’s fated drive in the Rocky Horror Picture Show when my sister and I took a wrong exit from the motorway one dark and rainy night heading down to Wiltshire for the weekend. As we veered off the M3 prematurely the headlights shone on a sign by the road, partially obscured by overgrown grass: “Olde Forde Farm Shop next left”. We gasped in unison – our city slicker cunning telling us that if it was olde it must be goode.
The next day we drove up and down the M3 trying to find the sign again to no avail.
Finally we drove into a little town and stopped to ask at a delicatessen that was promoting itself as a supplier of local produce. Surely they’d know all of the farm shops in the surrounding area. Unbelievably they did know the farm shop because they were it - they’d relocated from the farm into town but had never bothered to remove the sign. Despite my initial suspicions and disappointment that we weren’t going to see haystacks and chickens running around our feet we decided to trial their sausages for the cafe. By god they were tastee.
The cook off
The tasting plate
The performers from left to right are: Pork and herb sausage; Hickory smoked pork sausage; Traditional pork sausage; Old Forge special sausage. Unfortunately they had sold out of their traditional breakfast sausage which is their biggest seller.
And the winner for best performance as a sausage goes to....Traditional pork sausage.
Our tasting notes for the file
1. Traditional pork: * Best. Good flavour and texture. Still quite salty.
2. Hickory smoked pork: Strong taste of smoking. Frankfurter style.
3. Old Forge special: Sage comes through. Drier than 1 and 2.
4. Pork and herbs: Quite dry - very herby but no clear flavour.
For this performance, Sausage co-starred with Spinach and Lentils. As one of the true veterans of the culinary stage, Sausage has performed at many venues throughout the world with a wide variety of co-stars. Some would argue it was happiest in a bun with T Sauce or on a plate with its old friends Mash and Onion Gravy. But like all seasoned performers, Sausage has adapted to modern times and now finds itself working with some of the rising stars of gastro theatre such as Puy Lentil.
This is a really easy and yummy recipe for lentils from Peter Gordon’s book ‘A World in My Kitchen’. It has a subtle asian flavour because of the soy and ginger but it doesn’t steal the limelight from Sausage.
Puy Lentils (serves 4 as a side)
1 large red onion
60ml olive oil
1 clove garlic peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon of ginger- grated
100g puy lentils rinsed and drained
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons vinegar
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
Finely dice half the onion and fry in oil until it begins to caramelise. Add garlic and ginger and cook a little more. Add lentils, soy and enough water to cover by 1cm. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer 20 minutes. If still chewy and the water has gone, add extra hot water and cook until lentils are al dente. Heat remaining oil and add other half of the onion finely sliced. Cook until caramelised. Add vinegar and cook to evaporate it then add pomegranate molasses and bring to the boil. Serve lentils with dollop of yoghurt and onions.
Rinse spinach and drain. In a frying pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 1 sliced clove of garlic and fry for about 10 seconds before adding the spinach. Toss to cover with oil, season with salt and pepper and then cover with a lid and turn heat right down. Cook for a few minutes until spinach is cooked to your liking.