Tuesday 30 December 2014

What is out the back of Westmere Butchery?

What is out the back of Westmere Butchery?

On our summer holiday we travelled to Auckland and stayed with a friend, she lives in Grey Lynn. My wife came home from a morning stroll and said, "I walked past the Westmere Butchery, and they are open." I was surprised they were open on a Sunday morning just after Christmas, however was delighted with the news. So naturally I wandered down and brought some snarlers. The young butcher who served me was helpful and informative. I told him about my blog and he showed me their chiller. He said with the Christmas rush they only had about half the number of snarlers that are normally present and that the butchers would be working hard to restock the sausage supply. Even at half full it was an impressive sight! 

Of course I purchased some snarlers to be eaten on our trip to the far north.

Thursday 25 December 2014

Christmas Sausages

Christmas Sausages

I made some sausages for Christmas, for Christmas Eve dinner with friends and Christmas lunch with whanau.

I used the Christmas colours of red and green to flavour the sausages with capsicum, Granny Smith apples and shallots. The flavour I was aiming to create was mostly sweet with a little bit of tartness from the apple. My aim was to please the punters and make a sausage that will appeal to all.

I used two kilos of minced pork and I had the longest string of snarlers I had created. The long string meant that the two abreast tying method had its challenges, and this had to be done using the bench as base. However I did succeed in the task. I started making quite large sausages at the beginning of the string, as handling was a challenge. As I worked my down the length the snarler size decreased.

The kitchen was a hive of activity on Christmas Eve morning, and as the sausages were being finished, my wife was creating a recipe from Nigella Lawson, a gooey chocolate triple meringue stack for Christmas Eve dining.

On Christmas Eve we also took some marinated rump steak which was farm kill meat that a friend in the Wairarapa had given us. I said to my wife, when I tell our host, that it is farm kill beef, he will say, "You’re sure it’s not road kill?" True to form, he posed this question.
When we went to friends for Christmas Eve, four adults missed the soiree due to a bug that was doing the rounds. We had five adults and nine soon to be adults present. This definitely lowered the average age and also meant the balance of whole table conversations reflected the young in spirit nature of the dinner. As we ate, conversed and chattered about the table it made you realise that our kids are growing up.

The sausages went down well and positive comments were received about the homemade snarlers. There was a lot of food and the only portion of the meal that was completely eaten were the desserts. They were delicious.

The following day it was off to my sister’s house for a Christmas lunch. We took sausages, Jansson’s temptation, a Swedish potato dish, along with salmon and pate for starters. The sausages and a butterflied leg of lamb were cooked on the barbecue. When the meal was being eaten my ten year old niece said, "This sausage is yummy." High praise indeed.

So at the end of the day I reflect, with a full belly, on the charm of Christmas. It is not about the rampant consumerism that I consider to be too much of a focus in society. It is about family and friends, enjoying each other’s company with food, frivolity and laughter. And my sister, who is an Anglican vicar, would add …. "Hey, and remember the birth of Jesus too."

For an index of homemade sausages click here.   

Monday 22 December 2014

A Meal Without Sausages?

A Meal Without Sausages?

We had a few friends and neighbours around for an afternoon of festivities, drinks and food. At the end of the year it is good to relax and celebrate the run up the Christmas.

My wife was in a bit of a baking and cooking frenzy.

Although by the end of the afternoon I had instructions for a batch of homemade sausages for a barbecue on Christmas Eve. I will make one larger batch, this is do Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Here is our food,  note there are no sausages:

Mrs Wood's Christmas Cake

Salmon and Sour Cream on Blinis

Cinnamon Angel Wings
Cheese, Kapiti Aorangi Brie and Cumin Seed Gouda with Grapes
Stollen and Christmas Mince Pies  
Linseed and Sour Dough Loaf
Chocolate Coated Marzipan

Smoked Oyster Dip along with Hummus and Coriander Dip on Focaccia  

Saturday 20 December 2014

Don's Sausage Blog Awards 2014

Don’s Sausage Blog Awards 2014

Each year I identify those sausages that I have reviewed and that have given me the most pleasure during the year. I have decided to take the less is more approach to these awards. Not too many awards, however the recipients are at the very top end of the sausages I like and enjoy eating. Life it too short to eat bad sausages, so if you are after a great snarler, here are the best ones I ate in 2014.

All the sausages awardees have been reviewed on this blog.

A drum roll please……………….

Don’s Sausage Blog Awards for 2014
The Undisputed Champion:
Pimenton: Zamora, Queenstown. I made an error when I brought some of these snarlers, the mistake was not buying more. This Argentinian style chorizo has layers of flavours and complexity on the palate when you eat it. It is a sausage that remains in the memory and leaves you wanting more. Reviewed May 2014 

A Close Runner Up:
Chicken Rocket and Cashew Sausages: The Fridge, New Plymouth. There are plenty of reasonable chicken sausages around, but to make an exceptional chicken sausages you need to have a great taste of chicken meat (as opposed to chicken flavour). This sausage excels in this. I contend this snarler is the best chicken sausage in the country – certainly the best I have tried that are currently being made. Reviewed June 2014 

Those that were in the mix and gain a worthy mention:
Venison Rost: Park Avenue Quality Meats. This is a venison and pork sausage that will appeal to a wide range of sausages eaters, on the continuum a little spicy with pepper and chilli added for flavour. A great snarler to eat. Reviewed February 2014.

Louisiana Reds: Eastbourne Village Meats. I purchased a few of these when I was out in Eastbourne one day and then went back for more but they did not have any in stock. These Cajun inspired sausages are subtly flavoured and leave you hankering for more. Reviewed June 2014.

Homemade Pork and Apple

Homemade Pork and Apple

I made some sausages for a family barbecue held to celebrate my mother’s 84th birthday.

I have been given a book Home Sausage Making by Susan Peery and Charles Reavis, and I used the pork and apple recipe as a basis to create some birthday snarlers.
I used one and half apples, a small leek and the zest of a lime. I cooked this up and then added the mix to a kilo of minced pork.
The stuffing and tying went satisfactorily, with assistance from a handy family member to wind the crank on the machine.
They were cooked on our new barbecue, along with some chicken sausages from Island Bay Butchery and beef tenderloin. I had marinated the beef in soy sauce, garlic and whole grain mustard. I also made a couple of salads, potato and mixed green. Simple fare on what I had hoped would be nice summer evening.
The sausages went down well with many positive comments. In our whanau we do speak with some frankness and if people were not keen on the end product they will make this clear. The sweetness of the apple complimented the pork, although the tartness of lime did not come through and I could not detect this on the palate. Next time I will use more apple and lots more lime or lemon zest. I enjoy experimenting with flavours as I make sausages.
It was a successful evening and I was pleased with how the sausages tasted. I now have five days before the next whanau event, Christmas dinner/barbecue. Guess who is supplying the sausages? There will be some that I make and others that I will purchase. See the review of the Christmas lunch here.

For an index of homemade sausages click here.

Sunday 14 December 2014

it is not al beer and sausages - Part Nine

It is not all beer and sausages – Part Nine

A Misty Southern Crossing

A group of us decided to complete the Southern Crossing as day trip as part of our training for the Tararua Mountain Race in March. It was chance to re familiarise ourselves with the route and spend a day in the hills. I cooked up some sausages for us to eat during the journey.

We set out from the YMCA camp in Kaitoke, the weather forecast was good, gentle zephyrs on the tops of five kilometres an hour rising to 35 kilometres an hour later in the day. The temperature on the tops was forecast to be slightly above freezing, this was the first day for over a week that summer had arrived above the bush line.

When we were getting ready at the YMCA camp I did a repack of my gear. As this was gentle trip at a leisurely pace, I took extra food and a few items I would not carry if I was aiming to go at a faster pace. I put my sandwiches and a supply of spicy Serbian kobasica I had purchased from Park Avenue Quality Meats on the ground.

A woman came past with a dog. While I was not looking the dog grabbed one of the sarnies and shot off. The woman was embarrassed and managed to retrieve the sandwich, however it was well chewed by the dog, and this sandwich went home with my wife in our car. The good news was the dog had not taken off with the snarlers.

We has a pleasant trip up Merchant Ridge, I found the section from Bull Mound to Alpha Hut seemed to take a long time. We had a break at Alpha before heading over the tops to Kime. We knew at this stage the weather forecast was not as accurate was we would have liked. As can so often happen in the mountains of New Zealand the weather can change incredibly quickly from fair to really inclement. We put on extra layers, raincoats, over trou, beanies and gloves and headed up to Alpha Peak and the exposed part of trip.

I had been hoping the weather would have been good, from the top of Mt Hector on a nice day you can see Wellington Harbour to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Tasman Sea to the west and the main range with its rugged peaks stretch to the north. It can very pleasant admiring these vista. However yesterday it was more typical of the Tararuas, misty, rain and wind. Visibility was about 100m or less. The vista was one of mist, mist and more mist. The strength of wind was steadily increasing and the temperature was dropping. I shot ahead and took a photo of the party, it was quipped, "Will this be called Gorillas in the Mist." We kept on chugging along at a steady pace and after a couple of hours we reached the summit of Mt Hector, this is always a good point to reach, if I am travelling at a faster pace it means Kime Hut is half an hour away. We were not going a great rate and forty minutes later we arrived at Kime.

We went into the hut for a breather and talked to a couple of groups of trampers who were there for the night. At this stage I broke out the spicy Serbian kobasica. These are a relatively small sausage  that are made primarily of pork with a bit of beef, it is coarsely ground, the way I like it, and strongly flavoured with paprika. With the body in a cold and wet state, sausages with a lingering after taste of the heat of paprika were consumed along with chocolate biscuits. It is all hearty comfort food and more importantly fuel for the body as we set of on the journey out to Otaki Forks. The other members of group had varying responses to sausages. The paprika is strong and those with a preference for heat preferred these snarlers.
This was the first time I had been inside the new Kime Hut. It is lighter and brighter than the previous hut.

When we arrived at the Forks, our transport was waiting, we had taken a little longer than anticipated, but had a memorable trip with variable weather. The legs knew we had travelled nearly 40km and the vertical climb had been over 2200m. Just as hard was the hammering of the knees and quads on the descent. At this stage three of our party are looking to do the Tararua Mountain Race in March, we have three months to do the work required for a successful event.

Alas there was no beer.

For an index to this series see link.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Romanian Sausages for breakfast, lunch and tea

Romanian Sausages for breakfast, lunch and tea.

The whanau headed to a barbecue on Sunday evening. I was asked to bring some snarlers for the adults. I bought the old standbys kabonosy and Dutch braadworst from Park Avenue Quality Meats. As the males gathered around the barby we got a talking about sausages.


Our host had recently visited the town of Viseu de Sus in the Carpathian Mountains in northern Romania. He was investigating possible Industrial World Heritage status for the last remaining forestry railway in Europe. In this area larch and pine are harvested on a 100 year rotation.

The 48km railway still includes the use of steam locos on a narrow gauge line that runs up a beautiful mountain valley. The last of these steam engines were built during the last years of the Ceausescu regime.

He found Romanian young people had very good English and were enthusiastic about the future. A food pleasure was the popularity of sausages that formed a part of breakfast, lunch and tea. Particularly tasty were venison sausages served as part of lunch by a ‘camp mother’ in a loggers camp.

She expected a shot of local whiskey to be skulled prior to making a start on the sausages. My friend appreciated the spicy Romanian snarlers, although he considered the "camp mum" would drink him under the table if he tried to match her prowess in downing the local spirits.
The steam loco crews gently warmed their sausages on top of the loco boiler, creating an appetising aroma in anticipation of lunch. As my mate said it was sausages for breakfast, lunch and tea.
With the growing interest in this area, a tourist train is now run daily, offering lunch – of course featuring sausage - at a forest resort. Other European rail enthusiasts, along with business support from Sweden, are striving to maintain this bastion of steam rail as a working railway. One aspect of this is dual use, forestry and tourism.

If I am in northern Romania I know where I will be heading to sample get sausages while checking out the railway.





Sunday 30 November 2014

Homemade Onion, Capsicum and Garlic Sausages

Homemade Onion, Capsicum and Garlic Sausages

One day I will follow a sausage recipe, however for my second attempt at homemade sausages I decided to yet again follow my instincts and made sausages using onion, capsicum and garlic for flavour.

I had talked to Gordon the butcher at Park Ave Quality Meats about the first batch I had made, see link. I told him that the casing was tough and he asked me how long I had soaked the casing? My response was, nil. So I had already learnt one new tip about the process of sausage making.

The capsicum was cut into chunks, little squares of red. The onion was diced to a medium degree, while the garlic was cut finely. These were placed into a pot and simmered on a very low heat on our gas stove for around 75 minutes. The flavour ingredients were cooked to a very mushy consistency.

I used two kilos of coarse to medium pork mince that I had purchased from Park Avenue. The meat and flavour was combined prior to packing into the casing. I had the urge to add paprika, chilli flakes or something to give the sausages a bit a kick, but resisted this. I was aiming to make a sausage that would appeal to all and be mild in taste.

I was satisfied with my filling of the casing, however the tying of the sausages did not go as well as my first attempt. I should have watched the You Tube video before I started, however I will learn from this experience and do better next time.

These sausages were consumed at two events. One was a family function at our house with the sausages as an aperitif to the main course. Having lots of extra mouths to feed on the work day I elected to make a couple of pots of soup. I arrived home at 5pm and by 6.10pm I had two big pots of soup ready to eaten, accompanied with bread. I cooked an Asian pork noodle soup and a pot of chicken and chorizo soup see link. The snarlers were cooked at the same time the soup was being prepared. I thought I did quite well to prepare this food in a relatively short time frame.
(I now find I have deleted the photos of the cooked snarlers, sorry about this, but no images this time)
We tried to squeeze 14 people around our dining room table, a tight fit, so it does encourage conviviality. However we only managed 12, so as cook I ate my food in the kitchen. We do have an open plan dining kitchen area, so I was able to contribute to the banter, and offer erudite (and spurious) comments over dinner.

I also served some of the sausages to my work mates when a couple of us put on afternoon tea one day. My colleagues consider me a bit of a sausage obsessive - I don’t know why? They had been asking if I was ever going to bring some of my own sausages to share, so I took these along for a mid-afternoon brain boost.

The response from both the whanau and work colleagues was very positive. They liked the meatiness of the sausage. The sweetness of the onion and capsicum complemented the pork. I considered these were successful and these have formed the basis for an idea for one variety of sausages that I will take to the whanau Christmas barbecue.

It was a successful sausage making escapade and I look forward to making more snarlers again.

For an index of homemade sausages click here.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Pork and Fennel Sausages; Grill Meats Beer

Pork and Fennel Sausages; Grill Meats Beer

The boys turned sixteen today. A momentous occasion, as they identified they can now get their driver’s licence and legally buy a chainsaw. I have given them the odd sneaky driving lesson down at the rugby club car park and environs, however I am not keen on them using my chainsaw.

As a whanau we went out for dinner. Using my guidance, and knowing the boys are partial to meals with lots of meat I suggested we went to Grill Meats Beer in upper Cuba St. This is a newish eatery established by Steve Logan from Logan Brown fame. It aims to serve sweet and spicy food in an open atmosphere, the grill is in the centre of the eatery. The kids and I had burgers for mains, while my wife ordered ribs. The meals were all very good.

As a starter we ordered pork and fennel sausages. Being a family that has grown up with a sausage obsessed father, it was decided that for all the family to fully sample the snarler we would need to order two.
These are a great meaty sausage. They are a fine to medium grind. The pork is the predominant taste. A slight fennel piquant is also present, this is strongest as a short lived after taste. I would describe these sausages as pork with a minor hint of fennel. The sausages were served with whole grain mustard and pickles, along with toasted bread. When the sausage is combined with mustard or pickle this dominates and over powers the fennel flavour. The whole family enjoyed the sausages, they thought that they were an impressive pork snarler that would appeal to the masses.

Grill Meats Beer has an open kitchen and when I paid the bill, I asked the maƮtre de a few questions, she handed me to over the chef. He said they made the sausages from pork shoulder and back fat, they mince all the meat, add ground fennel and black pepper. The ones we ate had been made that morning as they had sold out last night.

I wondered if the flavour would have been greater if the sausages had been allowed to sit for a day or so. The fulsomeness of the fennel may have been infused into the flavour to a greater degree. I may have to go back and sample again – and of course report back. Despite this query I thought it was great meal with sausages that I would highly recommend as a starter. Cost $13.50

So happy birthday to my sons, driving lessons will follow, but the chainsaw may have to wait quite some time.

Monday 10 November 2014

It is not all beer and sausages - The Index

The Index

This is in three parts. A - Running and sausages. B - Tramping and sausages. C - Homemade sausages

A) Running and sausages

It is not all beer and sausages

As this series has grown, I have developed this index for those who like to read about running and sausages.

Part One - Tararua Mountain Race, March 2013

Part Two - Mukamuka Munter, September 2013

Part Three - NZ Road Relays, October 2013

Part Four - Training Run in Tararuas, January 2014

Part Five - Jumbo Holdsworth, January 2014

Part Six - Tararua Mountain Race, March 2014

Part Seven - NZ Road Relays, October 2014

Part Eight - Aorangi Undulator, November 2014

Part Nine - A Misty Southern Crossing, December 2014

Part Ten - Jumbo Holdsworth, January 2015

Part Eleven - Tararua Mountain Race, March 2015

Part Twelve - NZ Road Relays, October 2015

Part Thirteen - Kepler Challenge, December 2015

Part Fourteen - Jumbo Holdsworth, January 2016

Part Fifteen - Tararua Mountain Race, March 2016

B) Tramping and sausages

Can Man Live by Sausages Alone? - November 2012

Sausage Selection on a Six Day Tramp - January 2013

Celebrating the Ascent of Everest - June 2013

The Sausage Gods Lurk in the Tararuas  - January 2014

Easter Tramping - April 2015

Mt Karioi and chorizo - January 2016

C) Homemade sausages

Judgement Day for the Sausage Blogger - May 2014

Homemade Sausages - Sept 2014

Onion, Capsicum and Garlic Sausages - Nov 2014

Pork and Apple Sausages - Dec 2014

Christmas Sausages - Dec 2014

Cajun Sausages - Mar 2015

Pork, Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Sausages - May 2015

It is not all beer and sausages - Part Eight

It’s not all beer and sausages – Part Eight

In the weekend I competed in the Aorangi Undulator. This is a new event through the Aorangi Forest Park in the southern Wairarapa. It has the tag line: Not for the weak. In the waiver we signed it stated, I understand the race if not for the weak and no sign of weakness will be tolerated. You also signed away liability for loss, injury or death. But more about that later.


I had not been into this country before. We started at Mangatoetoe, which is on the coast past Ngawi but before the Cape Palliser lighthouse. The finish was at The Pinnacles. Most sensible people drive along the coast road to traverse between these two points. This run takes the inland route, over a variety of ridges and river valleys. All the climbs are steep and are matched by equally steep descents. Some of the ridges are narrow and precipitous with significant drop offs on either side. The total climb is 2700 vertical metres over the 33k course. If you consider that the first 4 kilometres are up a river valley, and last 6 kilometres come down an undulating ridge, you pack most of the 2700m of climb and descent into a compressed distance.


Due to a variety of factors I found this event very tough. For the first time in decades I suffered severe cramp. I got a massive shot of cramp in the calf as I fell on the penultimate descent. With bail out options non-existent I had to continue. By the time I got going again and was hobbling along, the tail end charlies had caught me. One of them said to me, "I am a hunter, I only carry dogs and dead things." I replied, "I weigh about 90 kilos, if you are going to carry me out, I suggest you gut me first to lighten the load." I had treated this run as training run and had not done much extra preparation for the event. I regard the run as the beginning of training for the Tararua Mountain Race in March. I also stopped at various spots to take photos and enjoy the atmosphere of bush.

The run goes through some nice but steep bush. The tracks are not traversed by a high number of people - they are gnarly, narrow and somewhat ill-defined with lots roots and rocks. It’s challenging technical terrain and a degree of navigation is required. There are lots of river crossings and at one stage you travelled down through a little gorge. The pools in the river were very picturesque and as I waded through another one I thought, isn’t it good that the organisers put ice baths on the course to allow for recovery of the muscles in the legs. Of course that was before the cramp came on.
At the start of each climb a sign was at the bottom giving information on the vertical ascent and the height of the top. An encouraging phrase also added to the tag line of the race.

The final undulation is the biggest one. My calf was still giving me twinges and tweaks of cramp so I was reluctant to push too hard. I was pleased to finish in a tad over 10 hours, and there were even a couple of competitors behind me. This was a couple of hours slower than I would have liked, however I was contented to have completed the course. I did find it very tough.

Throughout the race the thought of sausages and beer at the finish spurred me on. With a running mate I had arranged for quality sausages to be on the barbecue. Park Avenue Quality Meats were the source of Dutch braadworst and Venison Rost. Tragically the organisers had left these in Wellington and so only inferior snarlers were served. However being the resourceful type I am, I did have a Plan B. A group of us were staying in a bach at Mangatoetoe, and I supplied the sausages for Saturday night’s dinner - Dutch braadworst, kabonosy and chorizo criollo. Two of the people staying had entered the Undulator but pulled out due to injury. They prepared a sumptuous feast for the tired runners.

The beer I washed this down with was a ParrotDog Bloodhound. This is full bodied red coloured malty beer. It is slightly bitter and has a hoppy taste. It was an enjoyable way to relax with friends at the end of a hard rugged day in the hills. Repartee resounded as we talked and told stories about the day, and planned for future runs and adventures.

So I had completed the Undulator, I am not sure if I was weak on the course or not, all I know was that I was very pleased to cross the finish line.

Links to other parts of this series.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

A Fine Spring Dinner – The Fridge, Chicken, Rocket and Cashew Sausages along with Harrington’s, White Pudding.

A Fine Spring Dinner – The Fridge, Chicken, Rocket and Cashew Sausages along with Harrington’s, White Pudding.

I was in New Plymouth for the weekend. It was a busy time, doing work that needed to be completed on my mother’s house, seeing the amber and black of the Naki resoundingly take out the final of the National Provincial Rugby Championship for the first time, and a visit to The Fridge, a butcher’s shop in Devon St. Inside the shop is a very impressive butcher’s block near the front of the shop. This striking butcher’s block is matched by the sausages they make.

I arrived at the shop a little after midday on Saturday. The door was shut and the shop looked closed. I spied a couple of guys out the back. I knocked on the door and convinced the butcher to sell me some snarlers. I was after the pork sausages they make as I have not tried this variety, however they had been sold out. There may be message in here… the good carnivores of Taranaki appreciate quality pork snarlers. In my next visit to New Plymouth I will definitely be back to try the pork snarlers.

I did buy some chicken, rocket and cashew sausages. I suggested to my mum that we have these for tea. She said she was not too keen on sausages, I guess I must have got my sausage loving genes from my father. Mum asked whether the rocket would give us our greens for the day. This statement could have come from a kid who was trying to avoid their greens, and I had to inform my octogenarian mum that only a very small amount of rocket would be in each sausage. I cooked the sausages for tea, mum did the veges. She liked the sausage, she mentioned that she particularly enjoyed the taste of the chicken meat, not bad from a woman who says she does not like sausages.

I brought some sausages home to Wellington and cooked them up along with Harrington’s white pudding. A simple dinner was prepared. I used a newish Le Creuset cast iron griddle that we purchased when were in Melbourne. It is a useful item to bake items on in the oven. Also cooked were some carrots, peas, broccoli and asparagus. To accompany the meal I made a blue cheese sauce.

The finished product is pictured. The blue cheese sauce tastes better than it looks in the photo. The kids are keen on blue cheese and liked it with the white pudding and sausages. I considered that the flavour of the sausages needed to be the dominant taste, and used the sauce sparing on the sausage. The white pudding has a stronger flavour and the sauce can be applied thickly. The asparagus was very enjoyable with the blue cheese sauce.

The chicken sausages are excellent and I would rate them right up with the best of the best of chicken sausages. I regard these as superior to Island Bay Butchery’s chicken sausages, and I regard these as the best chicken sausages that are made in Wellington. My view on these sausages has been enhanced on a second and third sampling, for my initial review see here.

The white pudding is great complement to any meal and adds to a fine spring dinner. For a more in depth review see here.

This was an easy meal to cook and prepare for a week day evening meal.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Wild Waterfowl Chorizo

Wild Waterfowl Chorizo

I was at Park Avenue Quality Meats buying some sausages to sustain our running team in the Christchurch – Akaroa Relay, see link. Gordon the butcher offered me a sample of a sausage he made for a customer. The customer had brought in duck, geese and swan that they had shot. Gordon had combined this meat into a chorizo using one his recipes.

I am not a regular eater of duck, and cannot remember if I have ever eaten goose or swan before, so the flavours of this combination of meats are new to me. It had a softer meat taste, it was understated or delicate on the palate. The spices of the chorizo where strong, however the subtlety of the meat was not overpowered by the strong spice. There is an art to getting the balance between meat and spice at an appropriate level, and this was achieved in this sausage.

This was a different sausage and one that was pleased to have sampled. The versatility of putting meat into a casing means that a wide variety of culinary tastes can be catered for within the auspices of sausage making. And I am one who is keen to try new and different sausages.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

NZ's Top Snarler - Beef and Blue, Allenton Meat Centre

NZ's Top Snarler - Beef and Blue, Allenton Meat Centre

Today they announced the Supreme Award in the Devro NZ Sausage Competition.

A beef and blue sausage from Allenton Meat Centre in Ashburton won this prestigious award. Congratulations to the team at this butchery.

I am very keen on eating sausages and also love cheese, I am quite partial to a bit of blue,
so I look forward to sampling this sausage in the future.

The gold medal winners from Wellington were Waikanae Butcher's, White Wine and Fennel. And the beef sausages from Eastbourne Village Butchers. Look out for a review.

The other medal winners from Wellington were Eastbourne Village Butcher's Black Pudding and Park Avenue Continental Meats, Polish Kielbasa. Those regular readers of the blog will know will know that I consider the sausages made at Park Avenue to be top quality. I was surprised to see that I have not reviewed these sausages.

For a full list of medallists see this link. Congratulations go to all the medal winners. As someone who acted as a judge in the South Island leg of the competition I can vouch for the quality of the winning sausages.

For a food writers view on the competition read this article from the NZ Herald. Catherine Smith writes eloquently about the experience.

If you do go to Eastbourne Butchers, I would recommend the Louisiana Reds. And if you are at Park Avenue the kabonosy and chorizo criollo are my favourites.

As the bbq season begins it is great to have a celebration of the best NZ sausages.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Simple Sausage Rolls

Simple Sausage Rolls

I made sausage rolls using a recipe from this website, Desired Cooking. This recipe is simple and easy to make. We had these for dinner. My daughter made a quick salad to go alongside the rolls. The kids liked them. I did put a bit too much filling into the length of sausage roll. I am never a great follower of recipes and I added a few seeds (not sure what type, found a bag with a few seeds in the pantry) to the glaze. This recipe is worth a try.

Devro NZ Sausage Awards 2014 - South Island Regional Judging

Devro NZ Sausage Awards 2014 – South Island Regional Judging

I was invited to judge at the Devro NZ Sausage Awards. Regional judging occurred in Auckland and Christchurch. I travelled to Christchurch to be part of the team of judges for the South Island regional judging. The judging was held at Food and Hospitality School at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.  When I arrived in was put on the table evaluating the Traditional Pork, Traditional Beef and Flavoured Sausage categories.

Our panel of four that included a chef who now worked at CPIT, and two experienced and worldly butchers.  Each sausage was marked by two judges, one was technical the other was aesthetic. I was an aesthetic judge, while the butchers at our table provided the technical expertise.
The sausages had been mystery shopped earlier in the week, and transported to CPIT for the judging. All judging is completed using an anonymous sausage code. We were presented with a raw sausage to examine and dissect, and then a cooked example. We had a team of CPIT students who cooked the sausages under supervision from one of the chefs. All sausages were tested for their internal temperate before being presented to the judges.

It is a pleasure to spend a day sampling quality sausages. Being able to compare, contrast and assess a significant number of sausages within a defined style is a sausage connoisseur’s utopia. The medal winners have been announced. A list of the medal winning sausages I judged is below.


Flavoured: Agora – The Good Food Shop. Traditional Beef Flavoured (Dunedin)

            Traditional Beef: Harris Meats. Old English Beef (Cheviot)

            Traditional Pork: Raeward Fresh Nelson. Premium Pork


Flavoured: Hellers - Pork Flavoured

Traditional Beef: Murchison Meats - Beef

Traditional Pork: New World Winton - Central Pride Traditional Pork


Flavoured: Peter Timms Meats, Royal Oxford Pork (Christchurch)

Traditional Beef: Netherby Meats, Plain Beef (Ashburton)

Traditional Pork: Murchison Meats, Pork

Here is a link to the full list of medal winners.     

Next week the finalists will be assessed in Auckland to determine the Supreme Award winner. Watch next week’s post for an update on this competition.

So a very enjoyable day was had, lots of excellent sausages, discussion and debate over the merits of each snarler, and if you read the previous post the sausages and running diet was to the fore.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

It is not all beer and sausages - Part Seven

It’s not all beer and sausages – Part Seven

It is that time of the year again and the running club I run with was off to the NZ Road Relay Championships. This was held for the second consecutive year over the Christchurch to Akaroa course, a 76km run over eight laps.

I was part of the Scottish M50 (Men over 50, although we did get a bit confused and had a woman in our team this year) team that set a variety of goals. Have a good time, enjoy the beer and sausages in the van, and to run hard as we made our way to Akaroa. With eleven teams in the grade, I am pleased to report that we achieved a top ten placing. Unlike last year, we were not the first M50 team to Akaroa, but we were able to admire the running proficiency of some of the speedier M50 teams as they passed us on the road. These teams had a later start time that our team. However I can confidently assert that yet again we had the best selection of beer and sausages in our van. I selected venison rost bratwurst from Park Avenue Quality Meats, see link, and Harmony Beef and Bacon, purchased from Moore Wilsons. The beer selection included Mata Manuka Golden Ale and DB Export.

It will come as no surprise to readers of this series that the sausages and running diet continues to show promise. While this is yet to be picked by any running coach, I can offer positive proof of its effectiveness. The previous day I was a judge at the Devro NZ Sausage Awards, see link. On Friday I sampled nearly 40 sausages at the South Island regional judging. The impact of the intake of this large quantity of protein and fat had a measureable impact the following day.

I ran the leg from Hilltop to Duvauchelle, around 4 km of an undulating ridge and then a steep 5km descent of around 460 vertical metres. This descent hammers the legs, the pain in the thighs and quads is directly related to the speed of the descent. I tried to quicken the pace on the descent and this was matched by an increase of pain in thighs. I was very pleased to have run this leg 1.03 quicker than last year. This is incontrovertible proof of the effectiveness of the sausage running diet.

The team had a very enjoyable time on the course; witty repartee, trash talking and quality retorts were evident within our team, and with other teams as we made our way around the course. We raced teams of the similar pace, and were rapidly overtaken by the Senior Teams at the end of the event. We enjoyed the camaraderie of the fellow runners as we ran our way to the finish.

The sausages were well received, in any sausage tasting there will be variety of responses. The team enjoyed the paprika flavour of the venison rost, some considered the sausage could have more paprika. The beef and bacon sausage is very nice tasting meaty sausage, the pork flavour is dominant, this sweetness is counterbalanced with elements of a tang from the beef. The flavour of the bacon comes through, although this is not a constant sensation on the palate.  This sausage is a mixture of a finer ground meat and coarser ground meat. I consider it to be a sausage that will appeal to your traditional kiwi sausage eater, someone who likes the taste of meat. I did strike a lump of gristle in one of these sausages. This detracted from the enjoyment. Both sausages were well received by the team members.

The beer that was used to wash down the sausages was a Mata Manuka Golden Ale. This is a sweeter pale ale that has hints of manuka honey on the palate. While I enjoyed this after my run, perhaps I would have preferred an ale with a more a bitter tang to complement the sausages.

Our speediest runner ran the last lap, in our supportive way we worked together we informed him with a kilometre to go that he needed to do a three minute k so the team to break six hours, it was all up to him. There is a slight hillock in the last kilometre, and we finished in 6.01. The team had met its goals, an enjoyable day, with plenty of banter, sausages and beer, along with some hard running.

On our way back to Christchurch we stopped at the Hilltop Tavern with other teams from Scottish Harriers, to talk over the day’s effort. Hard, knackering running coupled with bonhomie makes this day the highlight of the harrier season. Undoubtedly we’ll be back next year to ensure another top ten placing, in a van that will have the best beer and sausages in the event.

See links to other parts in this series.