Category Archives: Sausages

Black Puddings

I’m not sure how this all links to the Royal Jubilee or this time of year – but I’ve heard that black pudding is one of the Queen’s favourites, and who can blame her !

Black pudding in the United Kingdom is generally made from pork blood and a relatively high proportion of oatmeal; in the past it was occasionally flavoured with pennyroyal mint, differing from continental European versions in its relatively limited range of ingredients and reliance on oatmeal and barley instead of onions to absorb the blood. It can be eaten uncooked, but is often grilled, fried or boiled in its skin.

In the United Kingdom, black pudding is considered a delicacy in the Black Country and the North West, especially in Lancashire, in particular the towns of Bury and Ramsbottom home of The World Black Pudding Throwing Championships, where it is sometimes boiled and served with malt vinegar out of paper wrapping.

Follow that van …..

Black puddings are also served sliced and fried or grilled as part of a traditional full breakfast throughout the UK; it is also served this way in Ireland, New Zealand, and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. The further addition of the similar white pudding is an important feature of the traditional Northumbrian, Scottish, Irish and Newfoundland breakfast. British towns noted for their black pudding include Bury, Dudley and Ramsbottom.

Just click here for a splendid webiste devoted to black puddings. For a bit of black pudding history try here.

Spanish morcilla has many variants. The most well-known and widespread is morcilla de Burgos which contains mainly pork blood and fat, rice, onions, and salt. In Albacete and La Mancha, the morcilla is filled with onions instead of rice, which completely changes the texture.

My all time favourite

In Extremadura the creamy morcilla patatera includes roughly mashed potatoes. In the northern regions and the Canary Islands there is a sweet variety known as morcilla dulce. Other varieties introduce breadcrumbs, pine nuts, almonds and vary the proportions of the other ingredients or flavourings, some of them considered delicacies.

I’m not sure how many of you might be wanting to have a go at making your own black puddings but if you are try here or here for some ideas.

…. and for the very adventurous here’s someone else having a go …. a bit of theory first then on to the action …

Charlie the butcher

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Travel

Its been a while. I’ve been on a couple of little trips and as always I’ve snapped away.

Scotland-Inverness

The beautiful highland cattle.

Africa-Morocco

A happy butcher.

France- Somewhere

I always love the range of butchers shop fronts in France. They seem very welcoming to me, I took lots of pictures but wont bore you with them all.

Horse Butcher.

Foie Gras Farm-France

Its been a little while since my last post but I’m back on the blog so keep your eyes open. Bacon Jam etc…….

Charlie the Butcher.

Good news for Cumberland sausages

The coiled Cumberland sausage is to have its name protected throughout Europe after winning special status.

Cumberland sausage ..... mmmm

Jim Paice, the Food Minister, said that the sausage had been awarded Protected Geographical Indication Status. “This should be a significant boost to Cumbrian producers, who will now be able to prove that their product is the real thing.”

Traditional Cumberland displaying the PGI mark will have been produced, processed and prepared in Cumbria and contain at least 80% meat and be at least 20mm thick to achieve the characteristic coarse texture.

Cumberland sausages, which date back to the 16th century, are the 44th UK food and drink product to be given this protection. You can find the full list of PGI protected UK products here.

If you want to know a bit more about the history of sausages have a look here at one of my earlier posts.

Charlie the butcher

British Sausage Week

British Sausage Week

This week is British Sausage Week, held to promote the eating of British reared pork, and you can vote for your own favourite on the website.  There are useful guides to buying prime cuts of pork , as well as a host of recipes to encourage people to cook with sausages.

Incidentally – you thought that Lady Gaga was setting a trend with her meat fashion – think again ……

The Sausage Queen

The word sausage originally comes from the Latin word salsus, which means salted or preserved. In the days of old people did not have refrigeration to preserve their meat and so making sausage was a way of overcoming this problem.

The first sausages were made by early humans, stuffing roasted intestines into stomachs. As early as 589 BC, a Chinese sausage làcháng was mentioned consisting of goat and lamb meat. Around 2,700 years ago the Greek poet Homer mentioned a kind of blood sausage in the Odyssey,

“These goat sausages sizzling here in the fire – we packed them with fat and blood to have for supper.  Now, whoever wins this bout and proves the stronger, Let that man step up and take his pick of the lot !”

Epicharmus, who  lived sometime between c. 540 and c. 450 BC, wrote a comedy titled “The Sausage”.  Evidence suggests that sausages were already popular both among the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Dry sausage was born as a result of the discovery of new spices, which helped to enhance, flavour and preserve the meat.  Different countries and different cities within those countries started producing their own distinctive types of sausage, both fresh and dry.  These different types of sausage were mostly influenced by the availability of ingredients as well as the climate.

Some parts of the world with periods of cold climate, such as northern Europe were able to keep their fresh sausage without refrigeration, during the cold months.  They also developed a process of smoking the sausage to help preserve the meat during the warmer months.  The hotter climates in the south of Europe developed dry sausage, which did not need refrigeration at all.

Sausages are a result of economical butchery. Traditionally, sausage-makers put to use tissues and organs which are perfectly edible and nutritious, but not particularly appealing – such as scraps, organ meats, blood, and fat – in a form that allows for preservation: typically, salted and stuffed into a tubular casing made from the cleaned and turned inside-out intestine of the animal, producing the characteristic cylindrical shape. Hence, sausages, puddings and salami are amongst the oldest of prepared foods, whether cooked and eaten immediately or dried to varying degrees.

Basically people living in particular areas developed their own types of sausage and that sausage became associated with the area. For example ……

Cumberland sausage

Cumberland sausage

This is considered to be the meatiest British sausage.  It is a chunky, course cut pork sausage spiced with black pepper, a  few gratings of fresh nutmeg and mace and a pinch each of marjoram, sage and cayenne pepper. It is made in a continuous spiral and traditionally sold by length rather than weight.  Looks very impressive when coiled in a spiral and cooked whole

Lincolnshire sausage

Lincolnshire sausage

Old fashioned herby regional sausage traditionally made with pork, bread and sage, although thyme seems to be creeping in.

Marylebone sausage

A traditional London butchers sausage made with mace, ginger and sage.

Charlie the Butcher

The Tamworth Two

The Tamworth Two.  Well, where do I start.

12 years ago two Tamworth pigs escaped. It was in January, 1998 that the pair fled from a Wiltshire abattoir, forcing a fence and swimming across the River Avon. They spent a week on the run, searching back gardens and vegetable patches for food, before being rounded up. With a huge media scrum around the story, the two Tamworths became called “The Tamworth Two”.

They hit the headlines and had tv crews rushing to Wiltshire to cover the story. After the media stories it was decided not to send them to the slaughter house and they missed the butcher’s block but ended up at the Rare Breeds Centre in Kent which is a great place. They were nicknamed Butch and Sundance. But sadly the famous Butch has been put to rest and not for the bacon sarnie lovers, but due to bad health.


Farm manager Davy McColm said:  “Butch was always the livelier of the two, the more physically active. We knew it was serious because in the end she would just stand there and let us examine her without causing a fuss.”

‘She was chronically ill and was not responding to treatment. The vets could not say for certain what was wrong with her, but the prime suspect is liver cancer. Sadly, it reached the point where it was in the animal’s best interests to put her to sleep. Considering she was destined for the chop at six months, she had a good innings.’

So if you are ever passing pop in a give her partner Sundance a pat and cheer her up.

RIP Butch.

Charlie the Butcher.

Panko scotch egg

I love scotch eggs. They bring back fond memories of my childhood at mate’s birthdays, motorway service stations and pub gardens in the summer. But it’s a very un-cool food to admit to liking. It is deep fried and not that healthy for you. But as a treat food you can’t beat them, and with the English summer here or around the corner it’s the ideal picnic snack or cricket tea filler.

What is it ?  and who first made them ?  well………………

With my usual detective hat on, my work is complete and my results are :

A scotch egg is simple. A hard-boiled egg with a sausage meat casing covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried.

History. Well it does have a nice little story behind it. Once upon a time at Fortnum and Mason in Picadilly, London they made the first scotch egg to sell in the amazing food hall they have there. For all the record books that was back in 1738.

There are a couple of different ways to make them some people use quail eggs, duck, goose or even an ostrich egg has been used. So get yourself an egg and make a scotch egg.

Ingredients

  • Five free range eggs
  • A pack Panko bread crumbs, the best crumbs to use, trust me.
  • Flour
  • One egg for coating
  • Sausage meat about 1kg
  • Smoked bacon bits 200g
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1
Take a pan of salted cold water and place the eggs in. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 9 minutes.

Step 2
Collect all the ingredients, sausage meat and bacon bits in a mixing bowl, egg wash in another, flour and panko crumbs in the others.

Step 3
Get the oil on, use a deep fat fryer and heat to 180.C

Step 4
Peel the eggs under cold running water.

Step 5
Flour the eggs, you do this so that the sausage meat does not stick to the egg.

Step 6
Wet your hands, it’s easier to control the sausage meat. Place the egg in your hand a work a sausage meat covering all around the egg, make sure you cover it all.

Step 7
Wash the egg with the egg wash.

Step 8
Rub on the panko bread crumbs, make sure you cover all of the egg. This is what gives the egg the crunch.

Step 9
Place into the oil, and cook for 9-10 minutes at 180.C

Step 10
Take out, let them cool down and enjoy with salad cream or bbq sauce.

Panko bread crumbs are available in any good Chinese supermarket. If you can’t find them pulse stale bread in the food mixer for a good homemade style crumb.

Enjoy.

Charlie the Butcher.

National butchers week 2010

If you are not already aware of this special week it is “National Butchers Week 2010”. It is a great week which aims to promote all things butchery and is now in its third year. It is great that the small high street butchers shops are able to celebrate and be proud to be butchers. At the Market we are making a special “Butchers Boozey Banger” …. made with Sam Smiths ale, mustard and pork. I started the week by waking up with a huge Meantime Beer hangover but it is only butchers week once a year. If you are not aware of your local butchers shop check out www.findabutcher.co.uk

Keep your eyes peeled for special events in your local butchers and from my heart “Happy Butchers Week”.

Charlie the Butcher.