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For breakfast on a weekend we always have some sort of fried food. Sometimes a huge fry up, other times a nice sausage butty with freshly made breadcakes (cobs, rolls, whatever you call them in your part of the world) and tons of lovely onions stacked so high that they peep out and slide off onto your knee as soon as you take a bite.
Now I spent ages looking for the perfect sausage but I always feel let down. Either the meat content is too low or the sausages leave huge amounts of fat in the pan etc. However the main worry I have is what exactly goes into my weekend banger. I hear stories that they include everything from earholes to ar…… well you can see where I’m going with this.
So what better way to control what goes into your sausage than to make your own! Its not that difficult but its kind of tricky to do it on your own so I recommend finding a willing partner. I made these ones when everyone was out except the dogs and they don’t have steady enough paws for the job so the photo’s may not be that great.
For these particular bangers I used a recipe from
These guys really know their stuff and I’ve bought their casings and curing powders before and have been pleased.
Lincolnshire Style Sausage, 2 Kg mix
1.000g Pork Shoulder
500g Pork Belly
270g Water (Chilled)
180g Rusk / Breadcrumb
Here’s the recipe for the seasoning. This makes enough for two batches so use half and store the rest in an airtight container.
Lincolnshire Sausage Seasoning
5g White Pepper
5g Black Pepper
15g Dried sage
14g Corn flour
I used breadcrumbs from a loaf I’d made a couple of days before.
I use a mix of meats to get a good fat ratio. This time I used belly, shoulder and a little bit of tenderloin.
Cut the meat up in to manageable chunks. A good tip is to chill the meat for a few hours before as this helps it go through the mincer. My mincer is an attachment for the Kenwood Chef, I’ve found that these can be found quite cheaply on ebay.
I first grind the meat on the coarse setting.
And then on the fine setting. Its easier to do it this way than trying to stress the machine by doing it all in one go.
Between each step its best to put the meat back in the fridge so it keeps chilled. You do not want the meat getting warm as it would be a breeding place for bacteria!
Now its time to mix the ingredients. I put the minced meat, seasoning, breadcrumbs and water in my kenwood chef and give them a good mix. By now they are beginning to smell like sausages, yummy!
Now for the fun part. Load the sausagemeat into the kenwood and assemble the sausage making attachment. (remember to refrigerate the meat whilst preparing this stage) Once you start feeding the meat into the casings it takes a steady hand and you let the meat feed through whilst you guide the casings. Its trial and error and you sometimes get bits where the casings aren’t full enough or are full to bursting. You can usually remedy this by squeezing the sausages into shape at the end.
And here you go, my sausages! They aren’t professionally linked but what the heck they taste great! It really is much easier when there are two people. I can eat these bangers knowing that there’s nothing scarey in them. Give them a try and let me know what you think!
Easter already, I can’t believe how fast the nights are drawing out. Soon we’ll put the clocks forward and look forward to the long sunny evenings. But for now we’ll make do with the snow thats forecast this weekend!
I want to show you what I received through the post yesterday. Two lovely egg cosies knitted by my fellow blogger Indiebird. We’ve built up quite a friendship through our blogs and I want to thank her on here for doing such a lovely thing for me. I am going to have them on display in my dresser for everyone to see, they are very lovely and I don’t know if I dare use them in case I spoil them!
How clever is she?
I keep looking at them and smiling because they are soooo cute!
I don’t know if you have noticed but i’ve changed my header picture. That flower is actually growing in my garden. I keep looking at it and thinking how pretty it is. I’m really pleased how nice its come out as I’m not the best photographer!
Have a great Easter everyone. Wrap up warm.
Every third Saturday of the month is Ashby de la Zouch farmers market. I love to go along and check out all the lovely stalls, sometimes I treat myself to a freshly cooked burger whilst browsing. There’s a real mix of characters and I always ask questions of the stall holders as they have such a wealth of knowledge between them that they are willing to share. Most of them stand out as being really passionate about what they do. I buy from them and feel happy to know a little about the meat I’m buying.
There’s a man there who sells roosters. I always make a beeline for him as rooster is a fantastic alternative to chicken. Unfortunately in today’s society of egg farming and high output production there is often no place for the males. The chicks are sexed at a very early age and the males are often destroyed as they are no use to the egg farmer and to keep them alive would cost as they need feeding. Anyway that’s a debate I don’t want to get into here….
The roosters that I buy lead a good life. They sit around all day looking manly and keeping watch for danger, get up for a spot of dinner, maybe strut their stuff if they have the urge and then its bedtime! The meat of the rooster tastes like chicken but much stronger if that makes sense. The rooster doesn’t have to stress its body by using valuable energy and nutrients in the process of egg making each day which results in a wonderfully flavoursome meat. The stock from these birds is a thick gel that smells divine and is so deep and rich that it lifts any dish that it is used in. The rooster isn’t an expensive bird. I find it cheaper than an equal sized organic chicken in the supermarket.
I also bought some wonderful rare breed beef. I tend to buy a piece larger than I need so I can use the leftovers to make a meal for the next day. I treated us to some fillet steak too but we haven’t eaten that yet as I’m saving it for a nice weekend meal with a ton of onion rings all smothered in a mushroom sauce… I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
I bought a couple of nice pork joints, chops and tenderloins for the freezer and some good streaky belly and shoulder to make into sausages. I shall be doing a sausage making entry shortly if anyone is interested?
Here’s just a selection of the meat I bought before I portioned it up for the freezer.
Another really good buy is the lamb pieces. I get a decent sized pack of gorgeous free ranging lamb pieces for a couple of pounds. I freeze them and use them for casseroles or curries. The flavour is so different to what you get in the supermarket and probably works out cheaper!
I came away with a real haul and hopefully that’s the families meat supply sorted until the next market. I also bought veg and ordered some oat groats as I like to mill them myself for porridge and muesli bars.
If you get the chance to visit a farmers market then I highly recommend it. Its such a relaxed atmosphere and I’ve noticed that lots of people go with their families and treat it as an afternoon out. No one seems to be in a rush and there’s always plenty of time to just browse and read the labels and information boards to find out more about where the products come from. There’s always children running about and quite a few people bring their dogs. I daren’t take my two boxer dogs as they are fed a raw meat diet and I have visions of them running around with sausages in their mouths being chased by angry stall holders in that Benny Hill style…. bless em!
So here I am with a well stocked freezer full of locally grown, thoughtfully raised meat. I feel good supporting the local community and feeding the family with ‘happy food’ Oh dear I’m sounding a bit Delia Smith now, well before she lost the plot and brought out her new book…. another entry for that one methinks!
For anyone who doesn’t know the history, I was invited by Martin Lewis, the money saving expert of it pays to watch (here’s the link, definitely worth a look
) to do a few short films on the way I live my life. The first one was on chicken keeping and this most recent one was about the beauty items I make.
Now the first time around I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve never been on TV before and I thought the camera crew would be the ‘luvvies’ we all hear about, but that was not the case, I had a lovely team and the filming turned out to be quite good fun!
For the second filming we concentrated on body butter, skin toners and body scrubs. I had a few jars ready but they wanted something a little more uniform in size so off up to Tesco we went, looking for some cheap jars. We looked everywhere but the cheapest plain containers were well over a pound and weren’t that nice. As we were about to leave we stumbled on some ‘soon to be out of date’ Christmas chutney in sweet little jars for just 10p… sorted!
So back to my house to empty out the contents of the jars. It looked sort of green and slimy. Now I’m all for moneysaving but I have my limits as to what I’ll eat… so I offered it to the dogs who just sniffed it and walked off with their heads in the air as if offended. Now we aren’t talking fussy dogs here, they scoff things out of the bin as if they were attending a banquet and finding chicken poo is a real highlight of the day, but Tesco’s chutney is not for them i’m afraid.
Laura from the camera team starts the unenviable task of peeling off the labels and cleaning the jars whilst Ray (the cameraman) builds up cameras the size of a small space station.
So then its down to the serious stuff. I simply have to stand there and describe in detail how I make body butter in my food mixer. Simple, just a two minute job you’d think, but no. We have to do it loads of times so the camera can take different views. We do it close up, far away, wide angle… I don’t actually know what wide angle is but I just nodded in approval when Ray suggested it so I looked like a real TV personality…
I quite enjoyed the practical side of filming but the ‘talkie’ bit was quite boring. I sat in my lounge on a little stool with camera’s and lights pointed directly on me. Its very hot sat there and even with the windows open I was sweating. The plan was that Laura would ask me a question about my beauty products and I would answer, including her question in my answer so people would know what I was talking about. Fine so far, Ray shouts ‘action’ and we are off. Laura asks me what ingredients I use to make my body butters. I reply “The ingredients I use to make my body butters are.. No idea” I’ve completely forgotten for a second….. this filming isn’t as easy as you may think! So we try again and this time its better. Laura and Ray are brilliant at this and they put me at ease. An hour later and this bit is finished… hooray!
Time for more of the fun stuff. Ray wants to get some close ups of the beauty products I make so we start making things look pretty. We add bows and ribbons to make the products look good enough to give as presents. The show is going out just before Mothers day and Martin’s team hope to show how to treat Mums with money saving ideas.
Here we are busily packing up body scrubs and bath bombs.
We worked hard for about ten hours but there were a lot of fun times. I don’t know what I’ve said wrong here but it obviously tickled Laura and Ray.
The team left in the evening and I was exhausted! I can’t believe how tiring it is doing this kind of thing. I’m so thankful to Martin Lewis for inviting me onto his show. I’ve done something that most people never get the chance to do and it spurred me on to doing the blog. Martin has thanked me personally and that means a lot that a celebrity would take time out to write to me.
‘It pays to watch’ has had fantastic audience figures and has now been commissioned for a second series so be sure to watch Channel 5 on Wednesdays at 7.30pm. Hey I sound like a TV presenter, I wonder if they have any jobs going!
I only buy organic chicken which as you know can work out rather expensive, so I like to stretch it out a little bit further by using the final leftovers for stock. Homemade chicken stock is a real delight, not like those salty stock cubes you can buy in the shops.
I use homemade stock as the base for soups and sauces, flavouring gravies, its great added to chicken lasagne to bulk out and flavour the white sauce. Also if you’ve never tried Delia Smiths leftover dish from her Christmas book titled Turkey en Croute then I heartily recommend giving it a shot. I make it year round with leftover chicken and homemade stock… its heavenly!
I start the stock by looking in the vegetable drawer in my fridge and I chuck in anything I can find. Onions, carrots, celery, the leaves from the cauliflower, whatever happens to be hanging about. Don’t waste your time chopping the veg nicely, just cut it in half and whack it in the pan. As you can see, its not an exact recipe! I then throw in about a dozen peppercorns to season it.
I use all the parts of the leftover chicken, including the skin. Break it up and pop it in, its all good stuff!
This is what mine looks like when its cooking. My son says it looks vile (he is a veggie) but I like it!
Now as I don’t like to keep watch over the stove for hours I simply make the stock in my slow cooker. I make it up in a morning and put it on a low heat setting for about eight hours. The smell of the slowly cooking chicken wafts through the whole house and creates such a welcoming setting….. what could be a better aroma to greet you at the door on a chilly evening!
Once the bones have broken up and the veg looks all wilted and emptied of its goodness, turn the slow cooker off and let it cool. Sieve the ingredients and put the strained liquid into the fridge. Next morning you will find the stock has set into a jelly like state. Don’t be alarmed, this is perfectly normal. If you aren’t going to use the stock straight away, bag it up into portions and store in the freezer. I also freeze some in ice cube trays so I can easily pop a couple into a gravy or sauce to pep it up a bit.
You will notice a layer of fat has settled on top of the stock. Just spoon this off if you are watching your diet. (I spoon it off, warm it up and add flour and use to thicken gravy) Its the little things like using homemade stock that takes cooking into another league. You simply cannot get such intense flavours from cubes.
Please give this a go as its so worth it. You’ll never use stock cubes again. I try to respect the animals I eat and use as much as possible. It would be a crying shame to throw a perfectly good carcass into the bin….
Well its March 3rd again. My birthday. What will I be doing today then? Something moneysaving, glamorous, high flying? No I’ll be staying in bed. I’ve been in bed since Friday with a stomach bug. I can’t remember when I last felt so ill
I went to bed on Friday night with a spring in my step and feeling fine only to wake up a few hours later feeling like I was about to humanly combust! I was sweating from every pore and could hardly stand up. I spent the night on the bathroom floor try to cool myself down on the floor tiles. Hey I know how to live the high life.
So we fast forward to Sunday. As you know it was Mothers day and I had been looking forward to a day of pampering and scoffing chocolates by the pallet full, but no. I hadn’t eaten since Friday and I slept a full eighteen hours of Mothers day.. I woke up just as the kids were going to bed.
My family have been generous with the sympathy though bless them. My daughter did a flying leap onto my bed and asked what I was making for tea!
I’ve laid on my bed listening to the chaos going on downstairs. The family are trying to organise themselves but they are not used to this ‘housework’ malarky. I start to smell burning on Saturday evening and shout downstairs to hubby who rushes into the kitchen shouting rude words at the pasta he was cooking. By the time he gets to the cooker its a carbon mess in the bottom of the pan……. please god don’t let him be using my Le Creuset!
And as if he can read my thoughts, darling hubby shouts upstairs “its ok its not one of your best pans” Phew I got a bit worried there! Actually I shouldn’t have been so concerned, the family have strict instructions on which pans are safe for them to use. I had to enforce this rule after catching my son scraping his beans from my favourite pan with a metal spoon. To this day he says I over reacted as I span around the room like a crazed banshee threatening to cut off his fingers if he dared to even hold another metal object within thirty feet of my Le Creuset.
And now here we are on my birthday. I think I’ll treat myself later and have a slice of toast.. well I don’t want to overdo it. I feel a lot better than I have done so I may try a trip downstairs later.
Is it wrong to say I’m feeling a slight sense of satisfaction in knowing that the family don’t do so well without me. It was late Sunday evening and I had to tell hubby that if Alex’s uniform wasn’t washed soon it wouldn’t be dry for school this morning. Its amazing how routines fall apart so quickly! I think I may be appreciated that little bit more when I finally feel up to cooking and cleaning again.
So happy birthday to me. I haven’t been sick once yet today… things are looking up!