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.