Saturday 26 December 2015

The Festive Season Snarlers

The Festive Season Snarlers

The festive season rolls on. On Christmas Eve we had a sit down meal for eighteen with friends. Great food and company, there were nibbles followed by beef Wellington, potatoes and salad. I offered to bring some homemade snarlers to add to the selection of kai.

The children hoed into the food. Calling them children is a bit of misnomer as they are all aged between seventeen and twenty, our twins are the only ones who will still be school next year, the rest of youngsters are at university. The adults who don’t talk about their age but do contemplate, speculate and pontificate about both the past and the upcoming years. Of course this is all done over fine food and conversation.

After our Christmas Eve function, with full bellies we headed off my sister’s place for a Christmas Day lunch, this was held mid afternoon. We had eight households present, lots of whanau to share a casual and relaxed lunch. With the newest addition being just four weeks old – she slept in the arms of cousins and aunties, with an occasional feed from mum she successfully created the impression of a blissful new born. However she will not have it all her own way as another baby is expected in the next month, they will have to vie for the attention of the doting adults, and adolescent cussies. Also present were a few pre-schoolers, along with those who have just started school, and some who have finished school. The day had excited little kids, more sedate bigger kids, and some of the parents just pretending to be kids. It was a very enjoyable day, although lunch was the centre of attention, a water fight was held, cricket was played on the road outside the house, as those present enjoyed and appreciated the presence of whanau.

The table groaned with food, a ham, chicken, salmon, salads, potatoes, veges and more. I mention one of the many desserts later in the post.  I contributed my version a blue cheese, pear and walnut snarler along with an Italian banger. They were well received.

My version of the blue cheese, pear and walnut snarler is a self created recipe that uses a kilo of minced pork – through a 6mm grinder, six pears – stewed and chilled, ¾ of a cup of roughly diced walnut and one hundred grams of blue cheese - frozen and then finely grated. I also add one hundred grams of bread crumbs. 

The Italian sausage is a recipe from a UK sausage website. After making this for the first time I doubled the amount of spices from the recipe. I do prefer a bolder tasting sausage.

At the Christmas Eve dinner the woman sitting next to me described the blue cheese snarler as “amazing” and “heavenly.” Now here is a woman who knows how to flatter. The Christmas day barbecue was borrowed from a neighbour. They were rewarded with a gift of two snarlers, they asked me where they could purchase the blue cheese snarler, as they were keen for more. This comment was echoed a number of people on Christmas day. I am always ready to receive very positive feedback. These were the best presents I received on the day.

We are arrived home we were replete, a great day with the whanau. Roll on the next family event.

As a postscript, I have added a photo of a dessert my fourteen year old niece made, she is her mother’s daughter, who specialist area of gastronomy is sweets and desserts. I consider this to be a very impressive creation.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Don's Sausage Awards 2015

Don’s Sausage Awards 2015

As we near the end of the year, I contemplate the snarlers I have munched on during the year. I write a review shortly after consumption of a sausage, in the idiosyncratic (my wife says obsessive) way my minds works, I sometimes come back to a sausage after a week or two and in my mind desire to consume this variety again. The sausages to be awarded as my snarlers of the year are those that made me want more, the ones that I thought about after some time had elapsed since eating them.

This year I am giving three awards.

These go to Italian Banderia and the Blue Cheese, Walnut and Pear from Westmere Butchery in Auckland. Also in the mix is Kazanka Domowa, a Polish Black Pudding from Park Avenue Quality Meats. All these sausage reviews can be read by clicking on the link.

In a hard decision my sausage of the year is awarded to the Italian Banderia. You will be delighted with this sausage if you try it.

In the almost made the podium category I considered Heritage Meat Company’s Mexician Chorizo and The Sausage Sheds, Polish Garlic Smoked Sausage. These are also very highly recommended by this writer.

Tomorrow I will make my own sausages for the Christmas barbecue season. I’m making an Italian sausage along with my own version of a blue cheese, pear and walnut snarler. We are going to a Christmas Eve dinner / barbecue with friends, and then a Christmas Day barbie with whanau. There will be around about 26 present this year on Christmas Day. The sausages will be made with care and consumed with gusto by the hungry guests. Watch out for the next post about how it all goes.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Meat - alicious

Meat - alicious

I came across this photo of a nativity scene, I have long considered the that sausages are an art form. Here is the evidence.......

Sunday 13 December 2015

Chorizo Criollo – Zamora, Queenstown

Chorizo Criollo – Zamora, Queenstown

After completing the Kepler Challenge we flew back to Wellington via Queenstown. We stopped in to see my favourite South Island butchers, Zamora. Matias, one of the owners of the business, was in the shop and he talked to me about how they create their fantastic array of sausages. Needless to say I purchased a few, along with some salamis and condiments. I came prepared with a freezer bag to keep the purchases cold on the flight back to Wellington, Zamora also kindly provided a block of ice.

Over the next few weeks I will review the purchases.

Yesterday I went a mate’s place for a barbecue. I know him through running and a group of us had a run before we fired up the BBQ and focused on eating. My legs were still tired after the exertion of the previous weekend so I bailed out early in the run and walked back to his place.

I took chorizo criollo to the barbecue. These sausages are made from pork and beef, the grind is medium to coarse, the dominant flavours are garlic and oregano. There is a subtle flavour of mild heat also present, but this is a secondary flavour. This is a great example of another quality sausage made by Zamora. I look forward to sampling the other varieties over the next few weeks.

It is quite an art to meld heat and herbs. Getting the balance between these two elements is something that many sausages fail to achieve, and the heat of the spice often overpowers the herbs. Zamora succeeds in the creating a very good balance and I would expect nothing less from these quality butchers.

Park Avenue Quality Meats also make a chorizo criollo with bolder flavours. This is my favourite sausage and is quite different to the one made by Zamora. Both of these sausages are very high quality, but if I had to choose the one I prefer I would select Park Avenue’s example. However the key message here is to let your taste buds be the decider, rather than my preferences. I suggest you sample both and let me know your views. You will not be disappointed by either sausage.

Sunday 6 December 2015

It is not all beer and sausages - Part Thirteen

It is not all beer and sausages – Part Thirteen

The Kepler Challenge

I write this from Te Anau in Fiordland, as yesterday I completed the Kepler Challenge. This is a 60km mountain run, with a few good sized hills to make it interesting. The event follows the route of the Kepler Track, which is a four day tramp. My watch informed me I had ascended over 1600 metres by the time I finished.

The weather was looking dodgy all week leading up Saturday and at the briefing on Friday night they said gales - which means six metre waves in Foveaux Strait. If it was severe gales we would not be sending you over the tops, however the good news, we were told, is - it is only gales. Snow was forecast to fall above 800 to a 1000m. At the high point of the event you are at 1500m. It looked like it would be a fun day.

As it was not an optimal day for photos, I pilfered a few from the net, to demonstrate what the view can be like on a good day.

The weather on the day was good, with a gusty wind that was not too bad. As I come from Wellington I am used to strong winds so this didn’t worry me too much. Thankfully there was no snow, although we did get a hail shower that helped exfoliate the bare legs, as we headed over the tops.

The highlight for me was going over the tops. Although the claggy cloud came and went, and sometimes the wind blew strongly, the view was fantastic; seeing the dark grey blues of the lakes, Te Anau and Manapouri, along with the greens and browns of the precipitous slopes above the bush line as they headed to high snow topped peaks, being able to see many definitions of ridges, one behind the other as the mountains went into the distance, all made for a magnificent sight.  

I felt good for the first six hours. I considered I was running within myself and had reserves left for the last section. I was aiming to complete the event in around ten hours, however I slowed during the last twenty kilometres and ended up doing 10 hours 47 minutes. I was satisfied, even though I had slowed I always knew I was going to finish, and I was well ahead of the cut off times. Like all previous posts about running, I came near the rear of the field. You had to write a small comment on your entry for the finishing announcer to say as you neared the finish line. Mine was: A specialist back of the field runner, his role is to make other people look good. The announcer kindly told me I had succeeded in my mission.

At the end of the event, I was looking forward to beer and sausages. Unfortunately it was raining, and was not particularly pleasant at the finish line, so my wife and I hopped in the car and went back to our accommodation in Te Anau. There I had lamb and mint sausages from Cameron Harrison. These snarlers have a good minty aroma, the combination of chunky grind lamb with a nice balance of mint went down well after a knackering run. This was washed down by a pale ale from the Herne Brewing Company based in Tapanui, Western Otago. It was called Tane – a manuka smoked pale ale. This beer has elements of bitterness that are complemented by sweet smoky malt. It went down easily after the exertions of the day and both were very enjoyable. 

So at the end of a hard day, the body deserves replenishing, and what better way to do this that with beer and sausages.

Today I am quite stiff and sore, however as the week goes on I know I will recover and look back with pleasant memories and a sense of satisfaction and achievement about the run, the beer and of course the sausages.

Will I be back for another foray to the deep south to complete the Kepler Challenge? Or will I seek new adventures? 

For links to the rest of this series click here. 

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Kase - Griller

Kase – Griller

This is a rather different sausage from those normally made by Park Ave Quality Meats. It is a sausage that has its origins in Germany, with an influence from South Africa, and it has ended up in a butcher’s cabinet in Lower Hutt. It is a mild smoky sausage that has cheese added to the meat - in this case it is maasdam, a soft Dutch cheese. As the boys said, it is like a cheese kransky – and they are correct. This is a mass appeal sausage. Pleasant on the palate, with gooey maasdam cheese to complement the mildly spiced meat.

It is a snarler that will be well liked, easy eating and will be enjoyed by just about everyone. While I enjoyed the sausage, I prefer a snarler that has a bit more bite to it. However I am not your usual punter, if the truth be told I am a bit of a sausage obsessive. You have probably noticed.

But if you are after a mass appeal snarler and are at Park Avenue Quality Meats, this is well worth a try.

Cost per kilo: $24.95