Wednesday 23 July 2014

The Sausage Stuffer

The Sausage Stuffer

The sausage stuffer I ordered arrived today. High excitement in the household.

It is a Kitchener 5lb Stainless Steel Sausage Stuffer. It comes with three different size nozzles or as they call them stuffing tubes. Watch out for posts of the sausages made with the machine.

Thursday 17 July 2014

The Final Melbourne Post

The Final Melbourne Post

We did not just eat sausages while in Melbourne. We also went to a variety of excellent restaurants and had cake for afternoon tea in Acland St, St Kilda. This street has wide variety of cake shops. Lots of treats for the sweet tooth.

A vanilla slice, lemon merengue pie, almond croissant and a chocolate log.

The kids have watched Australian Masterchef over the years, they were very keen to go the judge, George Calombaris' restaurant Gazi. We went on a Tuesday evening, had to wait an hour for a table. The place was very busy and humming. We ate Greek street food, it was very nice. A very enjoyable evening.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Spanish Chorizo - Jonathan's, Collingwood

Spanish Chorizo - Jonathan's, Collingwood 
The third review from my visit to Jonathan’s butchers of Collingwood. Refer to the previous posts.

These were a solid chunky sausages. One was larger than the others and could almost be a meal by itself, if one was a smaller eater. However I do not fit into this category.

I am a fan of chorizo style sausage, and this is a good example of chorizo. On the continuum of chorizo reviewed, this is a moderately flavoured chorizo that gets the balance between meat and flavour right. The paprika and chilli enhance and complement the flavour of the meat, but they do not overpower it. This sausage is a medium to coarse grind.

By the time this sausage was served we were onto the third snarler. My wife thought it was very tasty and would work really well in a paella, risotto or soup. I would have to agree.

As the third and final review from Jonathan’s the conclusion I reached was that this is a butcher who knows how to make superior sausages. My view is good cuts of meat, fresh herbs and spices, along with love go into making these sausages.

The restaurants of Melbourne also vote with their menus. Over 100 restaurants have Jonathan’s sausages on the menu. If you are on the hunt for quality snarlers in Melbourne, I would highly recommend going to Smith St, Collingwood and trying a few snags from Jonathan’s. Well worth the visit. 

Cost per kilo: AUD $22.99
And as an addenda here is a shot of all the snarlers prior to cooking.

Monday 14 July 2014

Tuscan Sausages - Jonathan's, Collingwood

Tuscan Sausages - Jonathan's, Collingwood

This was one the sausages purchased at Jonathan’s. It was the second sausage served. Refer to my previous and following posts. I had considered the strength of the flavour of the three varieties of sausages I had purchased. I then served the most delicate flavour first, and worked up the strongest flavoured sausage.

The butcher told me the Tuscan sausage was made with veal, sage and pine nuts. The sausage was not pure veal, some pork is also present. This sausage is a medium grind. It was a chunky and large sausage that looked appealing to the eye.

The flavour of the sausage is dominated by the sage. This completely overshadows the taste of the pine nuts. The pine nuts provide texture without being strong enough to be tasted on the palate. The pine nuts are roughly cut and can be clearly seen in the sausage. This is a quality sausage that will appeal to those who like a sausage that has stronger flavours to complement the meat.

The whanau ate these and appreciated the sausage but did not rave over them.

The next morning I ate one of these cold and found it more appealing on second sampling. The level of sage flavour was more subdued when eaten cold.

Cost per kilo: AUD $22.99

Sunday 13 July 2014

Chicken and Tarragon - Jonathan’s, Collingwood

Jonathan’s of Collingwood
Chicken and tarragon.

Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat.
Fran Lebowitz

I went on a journey to Smith St, Collingwood - a short tram ride and then a walk in search of a butcher, Jonathan’s. I had found a web site that gave the Top Five Butchers in Melbourne. The sausages at both the Victoria Market and Jonathon’s of Collingwood were mentioned.

Jonathan’s butcher was established by Jonathan Gianfreda (1950-2004). This shop is a small butcher’s shop with an attractive street frontage. The meat and sausages are appealingly displayed. I asked the butcher what was their best sausage. He told me that the Italian sausages were the most popular. Of course this did not necessarily answer the question I was asking. In the end I purchased three varieties of sausages. The butcher who served me said they supply their sausages to over 100 restaurants in Melbourne.

I purchased some chicken and tarragon; Tuscan; and Spanish chorizo. All sausages will be reviewed. These were cooked in a pan in the apartment we are staying in and was the second evening that I had cooked sausages – my family indulged me but the stove still left a lot to be desired. I would have loved to have had a sharp knife and a pair of tongs. However I got by using a pair of forks and the blunt knife. The light in the apartment was also not great for photography. But the key point is what did the snarlers taste like?

The first sausage I served was the chicken and tarragon. This was a fine to medium ground sausage. This sausage met the test for a quality chicken sausage. Does it taste like chicken meat? It did. The tarragon is subdued. This meant that a very pleasant balance of flavours is achieved. Chicken is dominant, with the tarragon playing second fiddle. My daughter described the sausage as excellent. The rest of family concurred. A very nice chicken sausage that this up there with the best.

The butcher gave me a card. I love the quote from the photographer Fran Lebowitz which I used this to open this post.

Cost per kilo: AUD $22.99

Cotechino - Alec Watson and Son, Melbourne

Cotechino – Alec Watson and Son, Melbourne

At the Victoria Market there are a large number of butcher’s shops. The meat is cheaper than in New Zealand. As you may have worked out already I was looking for sausages. Luckily for us most butchers sold sausages and there were a wide number of varieties and flavours that are relatively common in New Zealand. For a change I decided to purchase a variety of sausage that I was unfamiliar with. I purchased a cotechino from Alec Watson and Sons. This sausage originates from northern Italy and it was traditionally made with the pig’s head. The friendly butcher told me that they make this version using the hock and cheek of the pig. He told me to simmer the sausage for two hours and that this is needed to break down the components of the meat.
So, as instructed, I cooked the sausage by simmering it using the solid state ring in the apartment we are staying in. I would have preferred to have used a gas element as the temperature is more easily varied. I simmered the sausage for two and half hours and once it had cooled I sliced this into round portions for eating.

This is a very chunky sausage and the elements of fat and meat that make up the filling can be clearly seen. It is very coarsely ground.

When eating the sausage the dominant flavour is that of the hock. It tasted like bacon. My wife makes a fantastic pea and ham soup, so thick you can almost eat it with the fork. This sausage had the elements of the ham that are so delicious in this soup. Of the sausages I purchased at the Victoria Market this was easily the superior sausage.

It was gelatinous and I wondered if cooking the sausage for longer would have reduced this element. I had simmered the sausage for half an hour longer than recommended by the butcher. However the gelatinous texture did not detract from the flavour.

Traditionally this sausage was service with sauerkraut, cannelloni beans or mashed spuds. A good wholesome comfort fed. Staying in our apartment meant the sausage was served au naturale. With limited cooking facilities you had to do the best you can.

The whanau also agreed that this was the best sausage purchased. The comments about the flavour of sausage and it being a real meat tasting sausage were the essence of their feedback.

An excellent sausage that I really enjoyed.

Cost: AUD $3.80

Sunday 6 July 2014

Bavarian Weisswurst - Polish Deli

Bavarian Weisswurst - Polish Deli

I purchased these two sausages from the Polish Deli at the Victoria Market. I purchased them because it is a different sausage, and one that I have not eaten before. The people selling the sausages were informative and willing to engage in a conversation about sausage. There was big difference between this and the owners of the Big Vic Deli. They told me that the weisswurst was made by Andrew’s Choice, which is a specialist butcher in Melbourne.

Traditionally weisswurst was made early in the day and eaten as a sausage with lunch. In pre refrigeration days the sausage could go off by nightfall. This sausage is made with pork, veal and parsley.

This is a delicate tasting sausage, with flavours that are subtle and subdued. It is ground to a very fine consistency. It was very moist and wet when I ate the sausage. It has just a very faint hint of parsley is on the palate.

This was a different and interesting sausage to eat. It was served with pork and fennel sausage and all family members preferred the pork and fennel. While this sausage did not rise to great heights, it is a sausage that would work in a dish with flavours that would enhance and complement the taste of the veal and pork.

Cost: AUD $4.85 – 2 sausages

Pork and Fennel Sausages – Big Vic Deli

Pork and Fennel Sausages – Big Vic Deli

Our family is having a holiday in Melbourne and while here we will, of course, be sampling some of the local cuisine. And for me this means sausages. Today we headed to the Victoria Market and followed this up with an AFL game at Etihad Stadium. The Carlton Blues convincing beat the St Kilda Saints. The stadium is a roofed stadium that seats 53,000. Thirty thousand punters turned up on a Sunday afternoon to see the match.

I purchased some pork and fennel sausages from the Big Vic Deli at the Victoria Market. We arrived at the market mid morning on Sunday and these sausages looked good. The people selling the sausages told me they were made by a butcher in Preston, a suburb of Melbourne. There was bit of a sales pitch, but the person I was talking to did want to engage in a meaningful way about the sausages he was selling.

We ate these one evening in our apartment that we are staying in while we are here. The stove in the apartment has solid elements so controlling the temperature was a challenge. The apartment does not have a sharp knife or a pair of tongs so I had to improvise with a pair of forks in place of tongs. The element had six settings and it was not possible to tweak the heat. However on a low heat the sausages cooked ok. Such are the trials of cooking in an unknown kitchen.

These are chunky sausages with a coarsely ground. The fennel has a tangy taste and goes well with the pork. It is definitely a very nice pork and fennel sausage with a stronger taste of fennel. I would buy these sausages again.

However the level of service at the Big Vic Deli could be improved. See the next post for another review of weisswurst.

Cost AUD$7.00 for three

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Toulouse Sausages - The Fridge, New Plymouth

Toulouse Sausages – The Fridge, New Plymouth

These sausages were the second style of sausage I brought on my recent quick sojourn to the Naki, see link. I may be a sausage obsessive (and my kids do take the mickey on occasion), however I do consider that I can recognise a quality sausage by look and feel. When I unpacked these and cooked them for dinner I had very high expectations and I am pleased to report that these expectations were met.

These are a free range pork sausage. Added to the pork is salt, fresh garlic and parsley. Flecks of fresh parsley can be seen in the coarsely ground meat. The sausages have a chunky feel and look as you cut or bite into them. The garlic and parsley flavours complement each other. They combine to make a great tasting sausage. The chunkiness of the sausage also adds to the appeal. The sausage has good body and the tactile sensation in the mouth adds to this sausage’s allure. I really enjoyed the aroma, great taste and sensation of eating this sausage. I would heartily recommend this sausage.

The boys also enjoyed these sausages and made favourable comments.

Next time I am in New Plymouth, I will definitely be paying this butchery another visit.

Cost per kilo: $22.50