Tom was delighted with his Christmas present (see The perfect Christmas present for the perfect man), and why wouldn’t he be. It’s not every day you get a meat mincer, sausage casings and some spices. A gift that enables you to be creative, make mess, make dinner, and involve the whole family is indeed the perfect gift!
I traipsed back down to Market Meats in Camberwell Food Market, and purchased some free-range pork for sausage making. Darren (the owner) is bemused but goes along with my next project. He provided me with cuts that would be good for sausage making (I had no clue). Pork belly, and pork neck, with a good proportion of fat are necessary for the perfect snag. And of course sausage casings (I went au naturelle and got pig and mutton intestines).
On the Christmas long weekend we had our first play with sausage making, and I was pretty happy with the results. We made pork-based sausages, and then with half of the mix made Italian sausages, and the other half were inspired by Indian spices.
Jasmine thoroughly loved being involved in the process, and my reservations at being able to turn out something that even resembled a sausage were quelled. I had visions of a whole host of things that could go wrong that never did (casings splitting, sausage twisting disasters). It was fairly straight-forward and lots of fun.
The flavours we chose were good, but definitely not the not the best I have ever had. This just inspires my quest to invent better ones, or research others recipes. And when experimenting with sausages, it is always good to have crash test dummies (ie good friends) to give you feedback. Our friends Lara and Kane are close enough that they know you aren’t going to try and kill them, and honest enough to give real feedback. My only criticism is that our first snags lacked enough fat. A good sausage should sizzle and spit at you. These were diet sausages. Lara and Kane thought they were good because they didn’t weigh you down.
Now, after this experience, I find I am hooked. The possibilities are endless. I fear I will become the new Kel Knight (from Kath and Kim) of Camberwell, obsessed with making the perfect sausage. Once you start, you grow a new appreciation for the art and science of sausage making, lying awake at night thinking about what spices you can use, and about getting that balance of texture, flavour and fat just right.
I will post the basic sausage recipe in the next day or so.