Sausages! A great summer BBQ staple, a cheap night in, married with mash potato a comfort food like no other. Sausages are one of Britain’s favourite foods and are available in many shapes and sizes to suit all tastes. I have been taking a closer look at what’s around and have some good news for you. There are some fantastic sausages out there. Don’t be tempted to buy cheap sausages, it is a false economy, buy good quality but less often. Having had a little tasting or two recently I was pleasantly surprised to find that our supermarkets sell wonderful examples as well as good quality butchers. Take Waitrose who sell Hampshire Breed Free-range Lincolnshire sausages made of pork shoulder (53%) and pork belly (34%), which are really very tasty and cost less than the price of a loaf of specialty bread. The addition of sage, parsley, thyme, black pepper and nutmeg give them an authentic zing that is hard to better. There are of course top grade butchers who provide some of the best ever, such as C. Lidgate in Holland Park, London (lidgates.com) where you can feast on such majestic hand made wonders as the ‘Victoria and Albert 1850’ recently voted Britain’s best BBQ sausage at the National Q Guild BBQ Competition. I had some of these very plump gorgeous specimens recently and could have eaten them until I popped. They are made using a traditional Victorian recipe, which includes free-range pork, horseradish and mustard. If you get a chance to try one (or two!) then take it. If you enjoy sausages then you will not mind paying that bit extra for such pleasure. Having tried many types recently (all in the course of a food writer’s day alas!) I still come back to an unsung hero from Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range, Caramelised Red Onion and Pork Sausages in packs of 6. These are by far my favourite sausages ever. I tend to bake them instead of frying as they cook evenly this way (just one stir half way through) and it frees up your hands to get on with the mash.
There are so many regional variations of this wonderful British tradition to try that I think it’s possible to have a different sausage every day for a year without repetition, but even in the line of duty that might be a bit too much for my waistband. But I do urge you to have a night of sausages that you haven’t tried before maybe you might take a fancy to Wild Boar or Gloucester Old Spots or Cumberland or even Black Pudding. I could go on forever the point is there is brilliant range of what’s basically a combination of meat, breadcrumbs, spices and rusk. You will be experiencing some of Britain’s finest produce and it won’t break the bank. Just to inspire you this how I make my mash:
Boil your potatoes until they are soft enough to pierce with a sharp knife. Be careful not let them get too soggy. Drain the water and let the steam rise for a minute. Add lots of salt and freshly ground pepper a large knob of butter and a good dollop of double cream. If you don’t have cream use more butter and some milk (but it’s not as good as cream!) Then using a ricer work your way through the potatoes. When all done stir until the mixture has a creamy texture, check for seasoning and then very gently heat on the hob for a moment or two stirring all the time so as not to burn. When it becomes a kind of loose clay like constancy and your spoon can stir it all around at once it is ready.