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.  

Thursday 2 October 2014

Don Emilo - Argentine Style Chorizo

Don Emilio – Argentine Style Chorizo

I was at Moore Wilsons and purchased some chorizo from a maker I had not heard of before – Don Emilio. As it says on the packaging…

Don Emilio’s mission is to deliver authentic Argentinian flavours using the best products of New Zealand. Our handcrafted chorizos are made with 100% free range pork, bringing kiwi homes a taste of Las Pampas.

The ingredients are listed as free range pork 86% pork fat 14%, natural casings, pepper garlic chilli flakes and Spanish paprika. This all looks good.

These are short chunky snarlers, they smell good and are tied with string. They have an artisan feel and appearance.

When they were cooked and cut open the meat in side reflect the chunkiness of sausages. There are lots big pieces of fat and meat that clearly visible.

Eating these they tasted good, but they are not spectacular. I love eating chorizo and I would describe these sausages as above average. The flavour of the paprika is dominant, my wife thought they were very nice, Sausage Boy thought they were ok.

While these sausages are good they do not rise to same heights as chorizo criollo from Park Avenue Quality Meats in Lower Hutt, see link, and pimento sausages from Zamora, in Queenstown, see link, they both make superior chorizo. From my perspective, and this is very subjective, it is about getting the balance between complex flavours infused into quality meat. While Don Emilio is a superior sausage, there are better examples out there.

These snarlers are also expensive at $45.50 a kilo. I paid $13.20 for the serving of four. On the packaging a website is listed, however this is not current. When googling the company, an address in Miramar, Wellington comes up. Don Emilio the Argentinian sausage maker  obviously likes to keep a low profile.

Cost per kilo: $45.50, four chorizo $13.20