Saturday 30 August 2014

Now here is a great idea... Jimmy's Farm Sausage and Beer Bash

Now here is a great idea... Jimmy's Farm Sausage and Beer Bash

I saw this event on a British sausage website. Jimmy's Farm Sausage and Beer Bash. A sausage and beer festival in rural surroundings. Music, good food with a special sausage menu, and beer. Sounds great. If you are near Ipswich in July it would be worth checking out. See link

Sunday 24 August 2014

Brat in a Burger - Wellington on a Plate

Brat in a Burger – Wellington on a Plate

Today we went to Café L’affare for lunch with my wife and one of our sons. This was not a random visit as I wanted to sample their entry in the burger competition as part of Wellington on a Plate. This is a food festival where restaurants, café, breweries, and food producers show off the best of their products.

Café L’affare was very busy and bustling as they handled the end of the Sunday lunch rush. Sausage Boy and I ordered the burger, while my wife ordered chorizo with sautéed potato, rocket and poached eggs. Café L’affare obviously know quality sausages. The chorizo used in this dish is the Argentinian chorizo criollo from Park Avenue, see link. This dish looked appealing and my wife considered it tasted even better. The chorizo is excellent, the potatoes and eggs made for a great lunch dish on a chilly Wellington day. I did have a couple of pieces of the chorizo and recognised the taste of one of my favourite snarlers.

The burger was described on the menu as: Park Avenue Quality Meats venison bratwurst with Parrot Dog IPA infused mustard, braised onions, slaw, and Kapiti smoked Havarti on an Arobake bun with caraway salt dusted fries.

I really enjoyed the burger and so did Sausage Boy. The sausage used in the burger is a great one, see link. This sausage is described as venison, it is a 50% pork and 50% venison sausage, I consider this reduces the gaminess of the venison and puts more sweetness into the sausage filling. At Park Avenue these sausages sell as venison rost bratwurst. Rost is a German word that means “rust” in English. The paprika that is added to the sausage is the inspiration for the rost name.

The burger is constructed by heating the cheese on the bottom bun, the sausage is then coiled over the cheese, mustard, braised onions and slaw are put on top of the sausage. The bun is placed on top with a skewer that has a gherkin at the top placed through the burger.   

This is a great burger. The sausage has a mild paprika taste which is complemented by the smokiness of the cheese. The hops of the Parrot Dog IPA infused the mustard and I enjoyed the flavour of onions. The slaw adds texture and a few vitamins to the burger. This burger works through a combination of flavours that are smoky, hoppy and spicy. They combine to form an excellently balanced burger. Well done to Café L’affare for a very enjoyable lunch meal. I would recommend a visit to College St, and either of these two dishes would make for a great brunch or lunch.

We have tried to bring our kids up with reasonable table etiquette and manners. However these pictures of Sausage Boy’s plate and my own may be indication that more work is required.


Tuesday 12 August 2014

Change is good…. or is it?

Change is good…. or is it?

I met a woman from the United States recently. We were talking about the past. She said her grandmother was born in a house with a thatched roof in Poland in the 1890s. Her grandmother was one of ten children. The family choose to migrate to the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. One day she was reading a book on Poland. This book described making kielbasa sausage using pig’s intestines for the casing, and the pork and other recipe items for the filling. These were then hung in a cavity in the chimney to be smoked, and to cure. She told this to her mother, who replied, "Oh yes, that is how my mother used to make kielbasa." This woman had no idea that this was part of her recent family history and culinary culture. Within two generations, the skill was not practised, and even the knowledge of the skill was not known within her generation.

When we reflect on our lives and I think of the world of my grandparents and parents and compare that to world of my children, much has changed. My grandparents where born in the first decade of the twentieth century. My parents were children of the 1930s, adolescence occurred in the 1940s. My parents and my children live in vastly different worlds.

I grew up in a household were there was large vegetable garden with most of our veges were grown at home. Dad was in charge of the vege garden, although he was not adverse to using child labour to assist him. My kids get their veges from the market or supermarket. We have rhubarb growing in what we euphemistically call a garden and we do grow a few herbs too. However the notion of producing all your vegetables from the garden is an alien one to my children.

Mum as queen of the kitchen preserved heaps of fruit during the summer, made jam and did lots of baking. She knew how run a household on a very tight budget. Her father killed animals for the family meat. These initially came from the farm, and then from their small landholding where he ran a market garden and ran a few animals. My kids know how to bake, however many of the skills of my mother will be lost within our family. We do not make brawn from a pig’s head. We do not have the soup pot that goes all winter with a bit of this and a bit of that added, and then a bit more of this to keep it going. Preserving fruit and making jam are skills that are not practiced in our home.

We do make some pretty mean soups though. I specialise in making a particularly delicious seafood chowder. The kids also really like the chicken and chorizo soup I make – it’s a firm favourite, see link.

Life goes on and generational change occurs. However it does show that within a couple of generations skills, knowledge and culture can be lost and dissipated. So here’s to smoked kielbasa, smoked by the cooking fire in a thatched roof cottage in late nineteenth century Poland.

Sunday 3 August 2014

The Sausage Vessel

The Sausage Vessel

It was my birthday and I was pleased to receive a frying pan as a gift. We had talked about getting a quality pan, with a nice heavy bottom, and a Teflon covering for use in the kitchen for some time. It will be well used. The first morsels of food cooked in the pan were, of course, some sausages.

I put on morning tea for my work colleagues. As part of the catering I cooked up three kabanosy, see link and three vension rost, see link, from Park Ave Quality Meats. These are two great sausages that I know will go down well as part of a mid morning snack. The kabonosy has very nice smoky flavour, it is well liked by all who try it. The venison rost is venison and pork sausage that has mild paprika seasoning for flavour. Again experience tells me it will be well liked by my colleagues.

It has been a bit hard to get into the kitchen recently. My wife is going through a bread baking obsession since she recently acquired a sourdough starter. A variety of loaves are being regularly produced. The sourdough has gone down well with the family.

The rye and raison bread is also well liked by one son.

However you can’t please all the people all the time. The other son has been asking when focaccia will be cooked. This has been the staple bread for many years and he thinks it’s a classic that should be revisited.