Saturday, 4 May 2013
Stunning news from Saturday Market Place in beautiful downtown King's Lynn....Market Bistro have revealed the menu for their forthcoming "Praise The Pig" evening on Wednesday 15 May. Rate My Sausage is GOING!
The menu's tantalisingly tasty for any pork lover, although there are a couple of items that we'll have to ask how to eat! The pre-match chat with rare breed butcher extraordinaire Matt Cockin, boss of the wonderful Fruitpig Company will be worth the ticket price alone, and lord only knows how fabulous the pork menu will taste in the hands of chef Richard Golding....
If you're coming, see you there! If you're not, you'll be missing a real treat.....
Call the Market Bistro today on 01553 771483 to reserve your place!
Thursday, 25 April 2013
It’s been almost two years since we reviewed a sausage from Prior’s of West Lynn. Shameful lapse on our part. You can check out our thoughts here Prior's Farmhouse Sausages. Reading through that review I noticed that there are a lot of similar conclusions going on, suggesting that Prior’s have maintained the same high standard in the intervening time. It was a real pleasure to meet up again with Chris Prior, the friendly boss, as we picked up some of the newly developed Sea Salt, Cracked Black Pepper & Pork sausages. Commonly referred to as Cracked Black Pepper.
Before we talk about the bangers in question there’s some background info. Firstly Junior Sidekick (aka my son Sam) and I had meticulously planned this outing, to a butchery that lies across the River Great Ouse from the town of King’s Lynn where we live - I helped Sam research ferry times, shop opening, etc. And we HAD to be home in time to watch Lizard Lick Towing! Second we wanted to fit in a visit to the Star Wars exhibition on view at Lynn Arts Centre at the moment. And thirdly, I had been telling Sam that the scale of the smokehouse at Prior’s would absolutely amaze him. This stuff will make more sense when you reach the traditional end of the review – And Finally, Esther – where there’s a special edition bonus section. You lucky things.
Before that, we proudly present Prior’s of West Lynn and their Cracked Black Pepper Sausages:
This butcher is not afraid to show off his meat. But those pics of him in Speedo's on holiday in March will, however, remain in the RMS safe.....for the time being. These sausages are also allowed to let the pork talk, and the pork says “I am bloody good quality!” Rest assured that you’re eating the higher end of the hog when you’re tucking in.
The taste is awesomely good, the best of 2013. As you’d expect judging by the name of this sausage, there’s some heat but it doesn’t arrive immediately. The pepper politely allows the free range pork to amuse your palate for a while, before clumping onto the stage and stealing the show, like Big Daddy in Swan Lake. Don’t be put off, the pepper isn’t insanely hot, it’s a pleasant, and total, contrast to the first flavours that you perceive. I noted, unimaginatively, “Delicious tasty not too hot but you know what’s in them”. Yup, I am a proper good word-writer at times.
Lumpy and gnarly. A snappy cut of the natural skins shows the lumpy, lumpy, lumpy filling. Some superbly big pieces interspersed with other, merely “quite big” chunks, and that’s the make-up of a sausage that genuinely gets Rate My Sausage’s juices a-flowin’. You’ll need to concentrate on every slice you take, the sausage wants to stay intact despite your best efforts to divide and conquer (and scoff). This sausage wouldn’t even be scared of Luis Suarez. When uncooked there was a regular uniformity in size and shape, but this happily disappeared in the pan and the sausages finished cooking in a pleasing variety of shapes and dimensions.
Average weight uncooked - 66g
Average weight cooked - 51g
Shrinkage – 22%
Mid-table shrinkage numbers for Prior’s. Not terrible, not great. Average in this department.
Value For Money:
£2.72 for six sausages, weighing 304g - this works out as a price of £6.95 per kg, or 46p per snorker. Delicious and well textured, these sausages are undoubtedly fantastic value for money.
The Bisto Factor:
The bad news? There was no aroma for the first part of cooking. The good news? It then seemed as if somebody had hit the “Porky Temptation” button, and the smell was very delicious and bloody provocative.
Through A Child’s Eyes:
Although he was involved in the procurement of these sausages, Junior Sidekick wasn’t around to taste them (carefully planned by Dad, mwahaha). I think they’d be at the limit of his spiciness though, so it was probably just as well.
The Imaginatively Titled Next Day Cold Sausage Test:
Ridiculously good. The great little bits have cooled and gelled loosely back together, and the flavour seems to have intensified. The result is a super-crumbly version of the previous day’s hot sausages, with the pork and pepper pumped up and in your face like an East German shot putter.
Please visit the Prior’s website for the latest opening times, but you can then add on the Brand New Shiny Sunday opening. Yes, between 9 and 3 you can now avail yourself of great produce, well priced, and exceptional customer service.
And Finally, Esther:
Fantabulous. And that’s usually the final word in these reviews....not this time....
Sam was indeed amazed by the size of the smokehouse. He'd been expecting something on the scale of Nigella's booty, so was as surprised as I was two years ago to clap eyes on this perfect little piece of butchering real estate. Another thing he wasn't expecting was the battery of cleaver-wielding men chopping various huge lumps of carcass that he encountered as Chris Prior walked us through the shop - in particular he was very wary of "Stan with 'tache" whom he thought was looking a little too intently with a view to selling him front of house. Apparently this smokehouse has been gaining in character for twenty years now. The smell when you open the door is liquid pork loveliness, sooooo gorgeous! And it caught fire one night five years ago, but fortunately the team arriving at dawn found it and extinguished the flames. Phew!
To find the ferry from King's Lynn to West Lynn you'll need to find......Ferry Lane. As imaginatively titled as Steep Hill in Lincoln. In the distance is Tuesday Market Place....you work out how it got that name....
It's Junior Sidekick! In yellow trainers! Standing, and looking very happy, on the landing stage of the King's Lynn ferry.
Fares are reasonable, as you can see. It would take me, a fast walker, 40 minutes to walk there (so make that an hour for Joe Public), and the ferry does the journey in four minutes.
It's not just the time saved that makes the ferry a good choice, it's the being-next-to-the-river-ness. Here's one of the fishing fleet returning home as we waited.
And here comes the ferry. Depending on the tide you can see a variety of approaches to the landing stage.
The river's not "that" wide but when you're mid-way it looks enormous. Here we're looking out to sea (eventually) and there's another fishing boat approaching, and a massive cargo ship unloading on the right.
Urgh, who's this idiot ruing the great picture of the Prior's shop front?
This is the view from the waiting area on the West Lynn side. The pointy spire is the church in which you can find Robinson Crusoe's gravestone.
We hope you enjoyed this visit and review as much as Sam and I did. Sam took most of the outdoor photos, so well done to him. We thoroughly recommend a visit to Prior's of West Lynn, and it will be even better if you use the fabulous ferry service.
p.s. "Stan" is not the real name of the chap with a 'tache at Prior's. It's the name that Junior Sidekick and I have chosen as a generic name for a butcher, since I wrongly referred to Terry at Bower's in Lynn as Stan. So now you know what any future references to Stan mean....
Friday, 19 April 2013
Terrifying news from Lincolnshire where six-year-old George L'Estrange has had a too-close encounter with the family sausage-making machine....
As you can see, George did survive his close encounter with the terrible contraption, and is still a fan of sausages (good boy).
You can read the full story courtesy of Metro: Sausage Machine Accident
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Time to crack on with another review for your information and delight (we hope)....this time our produce comes all the way from the village of Rothbury in Northumberland. This is the county that is home to the wonderful Peelham Farm and their awesome sausages, so expectations are running high ahead of tasting time. And this is a pedigree sausage, winner of a whole host of awards. I would list them all myself but as I’m a lazy old sod I’ll simply cut and paste Rothbury’s own précis:
“Voted the North Easts Best Sausage, a Finalist in Britain’s best sausage and winner of a staggering Seven Smithfield Gold Awards for excellence in London and was awarded over 95% on all occasions. Also an International Gold Award Winner in meat Expo competition in Belgium.”
Rothbury’s are an online butcher so, as you might expect, they have a website! Please click, bookmark, and explore:
My dealings with this butcher have been uncommonly pleasant. In fact, there’s a theme here. My dealings with every online butcher I have ordered from have been superb.....compare that with the shoddy and dismissive treatment you receive from some other (larger scale) internet retailers. Are butchers naturally blessed in the customer service stakes? Maybe. Rest assured that Rothbury’s will look after you through the entire ordering process, and will pander to even the most diva demands (I know, I made a couple)....fabulous service guys, thank you! It’s no wonder that the Royal family pop in now and then:
Who knew that Camilla liked gobbling a nice fat sausage now and then? Ewww.
Right, let’s get cracking....
If you’re a vegetarian (that’s a four letter word on this website, by the way) then look away now. There’s more pig per square inch here than there is in the Big Bad Wolf’s stomach. And it’s patently obvious that this is the good stuff, meat that’s been taken from the pig especially to make great sausages, and not the leftover bits and bobs. This is definitely “real” pork, there’s blood in the tray when you take the sausages out, which is a very good sign.
The first two words on my notes are “low” and “wet”. That sounds pretty depressing, but it’s not a criticism, just my usual ham-fisted attempt to find the right words to describe the banger. The flavour is not dazzling salt, not blistering pepper, it’s herb-heavy and thoughtful, and absolutely delicious. I don't like to compare but this is somewhat akin to a Lincolnshire or a Cumberland.
Detective Inspector Fowler of Gasforth CID once said “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!” Name that show. And that is what I thought when I ate the Cragside Cracker. As close to perfect as is probably possible (of course, we’d like it coarser – would a pork chop in a sausage skin make us happy?) big knobbly, gnarly lumps of juicy ingredients give you a brilliant banger. Most excellent.
Average weight uncooked - 69g
Average weight cooked - 48g
Shrinkage - 30%
Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn. I loved these sausages and didn’t want to write anything negative about them.....but I have to stick to the Rate My Sausage policy of honesty and objectivity. The shrinkage of 30% was a big surprise and an even bigger disappointment, and has prevented Rothbury’s from occupying the top of the 2013 rankings. They were cooked the standard way, everything as usual, so I’m at a loss to explain the stats. Boohoo!
Value For Money:
£3.63 for six sausages, weighing 414g - this works out as a price of £8.77 per kg, or 60p per snorker. Pricey, but good. If you factor in the delivery charge, some people may baulk at the expense, but if you combine a few items I consider this acceptable, for high quality produce. All in all we’re rating the Cragside Cracker as very good value for money.
The Bisto Factor:
Straight out of the pack the Cragside Cracker smells wonderfully herb-laden, and instantly mouth-watering. They continued to give off the most tempting aroma during cooking too, as I noted at the time, “IMPATIENT! ARRRRRRGH!” Yes, there were six R’s.
Through A Child’s Eyes:
No son around to try these crackers. I told him about them though, and he gave me a very dirty, “Why didn’t you save me some then?” kinda look....
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Open all day. It’s the Internet!
And Finally, Esther:
These are very, very good sausages. Buy some tomorrow! But Cragside Crackers are not the only item we bought....
The Simonside Sizzlers are in the SSF (Sausage Storage Facility - aka the freezer). I have always been unhappy with my name Simon - seems a bit.....soft, to me. Looking forward to the Sizzlers though!
The Traditional Pork sausages were skinny, almost a chipolata. They were fried and used in a Friday night frog-in-the-bog, and tasted meaty, chunky and scrummy.
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
A third visit to this super family set-up from Bury St Edmunds, this time to try out a little number that was laid down a few months ago, on the advice of the proprietor David Hubbard, to mature. “They improve with age,” was the unusual mantra, allegedly the chillies (sp?) that are included gain heat while the bangers are incarcerated in the freezer. David should know what he’s talking about, as I described in the RMS review of Hubbards’ Old English bangers LINK he is passionate about sausage-making and loves the history of the product as much as he enjoys the creating and making of them.
Spiced up sausages seem to be a particular passion, as David explained his annual routine for making them – the spicier sausages come to the fore in the warmer summer months when barbecue season (all two days of it!) is in full flow. These Satans pork sausages are hot, but David says he does make hotter, including some devilish sounding Pepperami-inspired “Beer Sticks”. Perfect for taking down the over-loud “I can eat anything, no matter how hot” boaster found at any family gathering a peg or two, these are, apparently, nuclear-hot. I want to try them.....
Spicy? Yes, obv. Not as much as I had hoped/feared though, but plenty sizzling enough to confound many taste buds. When you chew this sausage the initial flavour is of juicy porkiness with no hint of the warmth that is just around the corner. Then the pizzazz begins, and just like on It’s A Knockout, “Here Come The Belgians!” With an unstoppable flavoursome gallop the heat clobbers the back of the throat and your tongue. Hotter than Dawn French wearing a naughty vicar outfit and smothered in Marmite. Don’t buy these if you’re a rugby union-loving namby-pamby, hardcore football fans only need apply. The curious, but brilliant, thing is that the heat doesn’t linger and dominate the meal, so you can enjoy the sizzling tsunami over and over with each mouthful.
85-90%. The chillies are a big distraction here but take a peek behind the warmth and the pork is pluckily holding its own like Big Daddy in a Knobbly Knees contest. This is good quality meat, good cuts of pork have been used and you can tell. With this sausage fanatic in charge of the mincing machine I wouldn’t expect anything less!
The cracky snap tells that the skins are natural, and they are taut and tasty. The filling is the trademark Hubbards style, solidly firm with ne’er a cubic millimetre left unplugged. It’s a good “solidly firm” but not Rate My Sausage’s ideal – but you know that already as I’ve mentioned it over and over again. However, just because this sausage doesn’t meet our exact preferences doesn’t mean it’s no good, far from it, it’s rather decent. You certainly have to cut to get through these well made and well-bound hot logs of hot pork.
Average weight uncooked - 58g
Average weight cooked - 50g
Shrinkage - 14%
Jolly good, well done chaps! A good figure for the Satans, not quite as excellent as their Traditional Pork (11%), but better than the Old English (20%).
Value For Money:
£1.76 for four sausages, weighing 233g - this works out as a price of £7.55 per kg, or 44p per snorker. If you like spicy food, AND sausages, these represent fabulous value for money. If not, steer clear.
The Bisto Factor:
As expected the aroma was zingy and appetising, and rather maddening. Not only did they smell great, they also looked good too; as I noted (for some reason) at the time “naughty boys!”
Through A Child’s Eyes:
No comment, these sausages would cause Junior Sidekick’s internal organs to implode. And I ain’t scraping THAT lot out of his undercrackers.
Tuesday: 0900 - 1700
Wednesday: 0900 - 1700
Thursday: 0900 - 1700
Friday: 0900 - 1700
Saturday: 0900 - 1500
And Finally, Esther:
These are a spicy beast, challenging to the average sausage-lovers palate I would think. Personally I’d like David Hubbard to cook up something even more mouth-melting and infernal! I really enjoyed these sausages, and I commend them to you all.