Wednesday 24 October 2012

Haere ra Mr Verkerk and reminiscence of growing up

Haere ra Mr Verkerk and reminiscence of the growing up.

I grew up in Tawa in 1970s. As I have alluded, my mother was a woman of her generation. This meant meat and three veg for dinner. However she was willing to take risks and experiment. This meant the pineapple phase occurred. Many stewed dishes could be made exotic with tinned pineapple.
One thing we knew about in our household was when Aunty Beryl was coming to stay. Half a pig’s head would appear in the kitchen. It was time to make brawn. Mum made brawn with lots of aspic. I grew up in family were you had to eat everything on your plate. As kids we hated brawn. There were five kids in our family; we had an extending dining table. This meant there were rails underneath where the extension slid along. These ledges were a good spot for hiding the brawn. It would be collected after the meal and tossed over the
fence onto the neighbour’s bank.

If there were seconds they went to the person who finished first, I can out eat nearly everybody when it comes to speed due to this practice. Now I have a family of my own I find this way of operating quite peculiar. As my youngest sister says; “How was she supposed to get seconds, I was seven years younger.”  A five year against a twelve year old, no contest. A ten year old against a seventeen year old, still no contest.

My mother also did not let any of her children cook at home.  I left home with minimal cooking skills. We were however experts at cleaning up and doing the dishes.
I used to go tramping with my mates. We would go the supermarket to buy food for the trip. Dave was more worldly than I, he used to say why don’t we buy salami. So we did. This was a new culinary experience for me. I liked it, it was something different to eat, looking back on it, it was my first exposure to salami and more exotic sausages.    

This brings me to the point of this posting.

In Saturday’s Dominion Post the obituary of Aalt Verkerk appeared.  He was aged 89. Verkerk’s salami and smallgoods have been made in Christchurch, New Zealand for decades. He arrived in NZ in 1952 from the Netherlands, worked as a butcher and then started his own business. This business now employs 200 people. The salami range in Woolworth’s Supermarket in Tawa in the late seventies was not large. Verkerk’s salami was
the stock salami. So it was sad to read of the founder of the company death, however his contribution to NZ’s barren cuisine of 1970s suburbia is appreciated.

We always have a salami hanging in the pantry. The one
hanging there at the moment is a Verkerk’s salami.
So haere ra Mr Verkerk thanks for your salami. 

Thursday 11 October 2012

Park Avenue Quality Meats

Park Avenue Quality Meats

It has been a couple of months since I started this blog. I wanted to operate under the radar and get a few posts up on the blog before I talked to any sausage makers. I went out to Naenae and visited Park Avenue Quality Meats. I had talked to the guy who runs the shop before, see the previous posts. I consider Gordon to be the premier sausage maker in Wellington. He and I have similar tastes. As I have stated previously, this is a blog that pushes my views. I will make subjective judgements on my views on the quality of sausages I consume.

The shop is on High St, number 829. On the left hand side as you head up the Hutt Valley.

Gordon likes to make sausages that are spiced and smoky. His sausages have an Eastern European influence. He showed me a new salami he has started to make, it is from Yugoslavia, more specifically Croatia. Called kulen it is very nice to eat. Gordon was the really pleased to get the feedback from an older Croatian customer who said it was just like he remembered kulen tasting when he was a small boy in Croatia.  

Below is a picture of one of the sausage cabinets in the shop. You can see the kabonosy at the centre  back. Gordon tells me they sell about 30kg a week of this fantastic sausage. You can also see the kielbasa, and the kolbaz, a Hungarian sausage. The sremska are centre middle. For a highly spiced sausage sremska is the one I go for. I brought four of them, watch out for the review. They are too highly spiced for me to eat as a whole sausage, however in small pieces they are very pleasant. The other cabinet has the more traditional sausages. Apologies about the quality of the photo and the reflections, if you want a better image, the best thing to do is visit the shop.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

How much do you know about sausages?

Check this out. A sausage quiz.

I obviously know sod all about sausages. I scored 2/10 and received the rating silly sausage.

Sausage quiz

Or sausages of the world

Sausages of the world

Blackball Salami Company Pork Sausages

Tonight’s Dinner with Blackball Salami Pork Sausages

Tonight I made pie from the new recipe book I got for my birthday. Dean Brettschneider’s cookbook Pie. This was a sausage, sun dried tomato and potato tart. I turned it into more of pie dish. I went down well with the family. They have requested I make it again. I was relatively easy to make. I had to cook the onions and garlic for an hour. I have never done this before, however the end result was they melted in the pie.

The sausage I used was Blackball Salami Company’s pork sausage. This is a regular sausage, ground fine. They were cooked and then the skins were removed, then they were fried with flour, sun dried tomatoes and tomato puree. I added fresh basil, salt and ground black pepper too. Before the pie goes into the oven mascarpone cheese is added in dollops to the pie. The pie was served with fresh asparagus and broccoli. I love the arrival of new season’s asparagus. This would be my favourite vegetable. Sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese over the top and it makes great eating. And this is how it looked.

The pork sausages are fine, however they are a basic sausage that lack any punch or finesse. They are good to use in pie, however I would not choose them if I was eating a whole sausage.

Cost per kilo: $13.50

I brought these sausages at Moore Wilsons.

Argentinian Chorizo

Argentinian Chorizo

This is a new sausage made by Park Avenue Butchers. Gordon the chief sausage maker in this quality shop, started to make this sausage after an Argentinian customer provided the recipe. She was given this by her grandmother. The customer was delighted with the result, it tasted just like her family used to make.

I purchased nine of these. I cooked them prior to a day tramp into the Tauherenikau Valley with my sons and two of their mates. A quick trip up  to the old Dobson Hut site and then down into the Tauherenikau Valley. Eating sausages in the bush for lunch, next to a nice river, with the sun trying to break through the cloud and add a bit of spring heat to the day. A very pleasant ambiance. The sausages were good too. They are made with paprika, oregano, black pepper and garlic. The sausage has a medium texture. To get an authentic Argentinian sausage I should have cooked them barbecue style, over charcoal. I liked these sausages.
The kids found these sausages a bit too spicy. So I had more to eat. I brought some home and ate them the following day. A win-win situation.

There is an Argentinian sausage maker in Queenstown. I had a sausage he made at a market in January. Nicolas the sausage maker has a kiwi partner, he makes great sausages.  

Cost: $17.99 kilo