Wednesday 19 February 2014

Venison Rost Bratwurst

Venison Rost Bratwurst

I went into Park Avenue Quality Meats today. It was near the end of the day and the shop was humming as customers bought meat, much of which I suspect was going to be cooked that evening. Some customers asked for a particular cut, and the meat was cut to the specified size and thickness. The adage that quality service matched with a quality product means that punters will come was evident during my time in the shop.

Gordon the chief sausage maker identified for me that he had a new product in the cabinet. This was a venison rost bratwurst. This sausage is 50% venison and 50% pork, a modicum of pepper has been added and a small pinch of chilli. This sausage is being made for Café L’affare in College St, Wellington and the chef is using them to create a dish for Wellington on a Plate.

I took the sausages home and cooked them on the barbecue. I also brought some kolbaz, see review, and the old standby kabonosy, see review. The sausages were accompanied by new potatoes with pepper and olive oil, a tomato and feta salad, and lettuce salad, along with raw capsicum, spring onion and cucumber. Easy to whip up on a summer evening when you get home from work.
The venison rost bratwurst is interesting. I would not have picked it as venison sausage. The sweetness of the pork dominates the gaminess of the venison. The mixture of flavours makes for a different tasting meat sausage. It is a great taste. The pepper is present on the palate, but is not strong. The chilli subtly kicks in as an aftertaste. It is very mild. This is a top quality sausage.

Those of you have read previous reviews will know that I do not usually enjoy venison sausage, however this sausage is very good. The whanau reacted positively too. My daughter said it was a five star sausage and I should buy this again, my wife also liked the sausage a lot and said it was very nice.

So congratulations have to go to Gordon for his continued creativity with sausages. I must go to Café L’affare when Wellington on Plate is on and taste how they create a dish using this sausage.

Cost per kilo: $17.99

Monday 10 February 2014

Garlic and Red Wine Sausages at the Sevens

Garlic and Red Wine Sausages at the Sevens

I headed off the Rugby Sevens tournament in Wellington on Saturday. This is a fun, dress up, party atmosphere seven a side rugby tournament held annually at the stadium. I decided to take along some sausages to sustain myself and my friend during the day and into the evening.

I went to Cameron Harrison in Kelburn and bought some garlic and red wine sausages. The butcher told me they are pork sausages and if you like a strong garlic taste you will enjoy these. When I opened the bag at home there certainly was a strong garlic aroma, which is just as well as I like garlic. When handled these sausages the butcher gave me the impression they had been made some time ago. They were sticky and did not handle like a freshly made sausage, however they smelt fine. So I cooked them up.

These sausages are a medium grind sausage. They are small in length and diameter. A nice snacking size for a snarler.

As per usual there was quality control. My son sampled one and said, "These are good." I had to stop him grabbing a second one. My wife also had one and thought the sausage tasted very nice. Garlic is the dominant taste and this goes nicely with the pork flavour. The overriding taste of garlic means the red wine is not discernible on the palate. These are a very nice eating sausage and I will buy these again.

Cameron Harrison has two shops, one in Kelburn and another in Ngaio. They are a quality butcher’s shop. They make a variety of quality sausages that come from a traditional recipe base.
New Zealand v Canada in the quarterfinal

So how did the sausages go at the sevens? In between rugby, revelry and a rowdy good time, they went down well. New Zealand beat England in the semi-final, and South Africa in the final - a great result as the crowd of pirates, prisoners and sumo wrestlers sang and danced the evening away.

Sunday 9 February 2014

Secrets of a happy relationship

Secrets of a happy relationship

Charles Bullock was a wise man. In his seminal book Courtship and Marriage, published in 1899 he identifies the seriousness of this issue with the story of a man who was sued for breach of promise when he broke off his engagement. The potential wife seemed suitable enough until the Sausage Incident.

"One night, he went to her place where she was staying, and took a pound of sausages for supper. I will not say she ‘made a hash’ of them: but she made such a bungling mess in cooking the hungry swain’s sausages, that, from that moment, he began to draw in, and think, ‘If she can’t cook a pound of sausages nicely, what sort of wife will she make?’ And gave her up."

Any reasonable person would agree that a relationship needs to be founded on the ability to cook a quality sausage. Enough said.

Sunday 2 February 2014

Homemade venison sausages and the sausage feast

Homemade venison sausages and the sausage feast.

We held a barbecue at our place on Saturday evening. The summer this year has been rubbish - wind, rain, and not nearly hot enough. The previous weekend the long range forecast indicated a fine day for Saturday, so the invite went out. We had over 20 people present. I supplied some sausages and meat and more arrived with our guests. From Park Avenue Quality Meats I provided Dutch braadworst, see link, kabonosy, see link, and smoked pork bratwurst from the German Butchery in the Bay of Islands, see link. Our friends brought more so we also had Island Bay Butchery chicken sausages, see link, Blackball Salami Company venison sausages, and some homemade venison sausages.

There was also brought lamb chops, lamb steaks, porterhouse steak, scotch fillet steak, salmon and meat patties.

From the top left and clockwise, Dutch braadworst, venison - homemade, smoked pork bratwurst, porterhouse steak, kabonosy
Accompanying the meat was a wide selection of salads and potatoes. My wife spent the afternoon making salads, and a wide array of fine salads was created. This included a tomato, fresh basil and feta salad – very nice and an old standby, easy to whip up in five minutes. A roasted beetroot and carrot salad – I love roasted beetroot. Tassajira warm red cabbage salad – very popular with our family. And my favourite, a char grilled corn salad with a lime and mint dressing. These were supplement by a green salad, roast potatoes and creamy cheese potatoes which our guests contributed.
So as you can see there was an excellent selection of kai and plenty for all.

The comments about the gender roles and the respective tasks in preparation for bbq, are noted, but ignored, we need to play to our respective strengths.
When one of our friends arrived in the house he was wearing a jacket with many pockets. He sidled up to me in the kitchen and then proceeded to produce, one, and after a dramatic pause, a second packet of venison sausages, and after another dramatic pause, a bottle of wine. He told me an associate of his had shot the deer and then made the sausages, referring to them all evening as the "illegal" sausages.
The homemade venison sausages
While cooking the bbq we did exercise a bit of quality control and a couple of kabonosy were consumed by the hardy souls huddled outside to ensure the cooking was progressing nicely. I had only intended to provide 6-8 kabonosy, however my wife said, they are really popular - cook at least twelve. As I have said before she is a wise woman, so it was no surprise that the first variety of sausages to be snapped up from the table were the kabonosy. A clear favourite of everybody. If you are looking for a sausage that has a moderate smoky taste you can’t go past these beauties.
From left to right, smoked pork bratwurst, homemade venison, Dutch braadworst, Island Bay chicken, Blackball Salami venison. 

The homemade venison sausage was ground to a medium consistency, with some larger chunks of meat were also present. They were soft on the palate when placed in the mouth. Initially I thought this was a very subtle venison sausage then the stronger venison taste kicks in. There were also visible pieces of herb in the sausage but I could not determine what variety because the venison over powered the flavour of the herb. These sausages were good and wholesome. Venison is not my favourite sausage, but I thought these were definitely above average on the spectrum of the venison sausages I have eaten. Congratulations must go to both the hunter and sausage maker. It is always good to try someone’s homemade snarler.

On the top plate kabonosy, and the bottom plate going from top left clockwise, Dutch braadworst, homemade venison, Blackball Salami venison, smoked pork bratwurst, Island Bay chicken.

The bbq was cooked, the food was eaten - great company, lots of stories, repartee, lies and laughter. A very pleasant summer’s evening.