Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Please Vote!

Before you move on, please vote in our latest poll....it's over there to the right of the page.

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Do the world a favour, help us get rid of Iceland sausages!
 
 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Lincolnshire Sausage Season #3 of 13 - Hambleton Farms - Doddington Hall Farm Shop



It’s part three of Lincolnshire Sausage Season here at Rate My Sausage, and we’re already having a ball. Hopes were high after our visit to the beautiful Doddington Hall where we found an outlet of the well-renowned Hambleton Farms butchers. We’d visited Doddington Hall to spend the day exploring the house and gardens, which were currently home to an exhibition of over 350 sculptures, all of which are for sale (if you have deep pockets). The sculptures are only there until 11th September though, so hurry ye down – the gardens are charming and the exhibition is so enjoyable. One MUST buy is the glossy brochure which contains some artist biographies, nice shots of some of the art, and best of all the price list of every single piece – and all for the bargain price of £1.50. We’ve included a selection of our photos of the art in the gardens at the end of this review, to give you some flavour of it and try to persuade you to visit. Terrific stuff.


Where To Find Them:
There are four locations where you’ll find Hambletons – we visited their Doddington Hall outlet. If you’re using SausNav use the postcode LN6 4RU. Find the farm shop thus – when you are standing in the car park across the road from the Hall, and facing it, look to the left. The shop is approximately fifty metres in that direction. Go into the shop itself and the Hambletons area is at the back of the space and to the left. Other Hambletons outlets can be found on Gaol Street, Oakham, in Beckwith Emporium at Mears Ashby in Northamptonshire and Johnsons Garden Centre near Boston. More information and also maps of the locations can be found on their website: Hambleton Farms


Opening Hours:
Monday – Saturday 9.00am – 5.00 pm
Sunday 11.00am – 4.00 pm
Bank Holidays 11.00am – 4.00 pm


Stanwatch:
We only encountered one solitary Stan but he was perfect! Smartly turned out in immaculate butcher’s duds, jolly-looking and so friendly, give this man an extra tenner this week Hambletons!


Flavour:
Really well balanced flavours in this sausage. The salt and pepper seasoning is absolutely spot on, it makes each mouthful scrummy but allows the herby Lincolnshire taste – the lead role of course – to shine in the spotlight. Unusually, the more of these sausages you eat the richer the flavour seems to be, it’s as if it accumulates through your meal.  Sage-y and super, I was left wishing I’d bought more than one pack.


Texture:
Oh my goodness, oh my goodness! Pin your lugs back people – the skins on Hambletons’ Lincolnshire sausages are THE BEST I have found for several years. They snap so crisply when you cut into them, even the sound seems louder and lairier than other bangers. Snappier than a crocodile sandwich, obvs. Snap, snap, snap, like a pissed off doctor’s receptionist. The chop of the filling is medium-fine, which isn’t perfect for a Lincolnshire sausage and doesn’t fit with our ideal. But that’s just our own personal preference. We’ll overlook that on this occasion because OH MY GOOD LORD, these skins is perfection.


Vital Statistics:
Average Weight Uncooked = 64 grams
Average Weight Cooked = 54 grams
Meat Content = 82 %
Unusually you don’t pay for the exact weight that you purchase at this shop. Nope, instead the packs are labelled “Minimum weight 360g”, or some such. In our pack we actually came away with 386g, well over the guaranteed minimum. I like this way of selling.


Value For Money:
£4.20 for 6 sausages weighing 386 grams. This works out as £10.88 per kg and 70p per banger.
We rate this as good value for money.

 
The "Aah, Bisto" Factor:
Now you see, since we’ve been grilling instead of frying this part of the test has lost a lot of its significance. The aromas simply aren’t the same from a closed grill compared to the open, living, hissing frying pan. Not sure whether to stick with the healthy option or revert to type and dig out the pan again. What do you think?



The Imaginatively Titled Next Day Cold Sausage Test:
There were none left for next day nibbling.


And Finally, Esther:
Visit the hall and take some sausages home with you. Please. And when you cut into these superb skins, look towards Lincolnshire and thank us.

 
 Please enjoy some pictures of the exhibition:
 











 

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Lincolnshire Sausage Season #2 of 13 - Manor Farm - Leasingham




Farm shops are often a great source of quality sausages. Many produce their own bangers, others stock excellent artisan products by renowned local butchers. I’m in the process of moving from Norfolk to Lincolnshire (for love, awww) and stumbled across Manor Farm on the way home from Lincoln Castle with the awesome other half and our two boys.

As soon as we pulled into the car park a goat popped his head over a low gate and begged for some fuss – duly provided by Ruth. This Is Not Standard at farm shops. But it was lovely. Apparently there are sometimes donkeys around too, whilst chickens wander around foraging happily and enjoying their freedom. So far so idyllic. Walk through the shop and you’re in a small and vibrant courtyard brimming with plants and pots and garden goodies of all descriptions. This is a little gem (boom boom).



Where To Find Them:
You can find this farm shop in the neat and tidy village of Leasingham, about three miles from the market town of Sleaford. They are on Moor Lane and the entrance is easy to miss, so drive slowly or you’ll have to turn round. Is you’re using SausNav the postcode is NG34 8JN.



Opening Hours:
I always seem to forget something don’t I. And this time I didn’t note or photograph the opening hours. I will have to rely on their Facebook page in this instance, so apologies if this is not correct. Maybe give them a quick call before you make a visit?

Monday to Friday 0830 – 2000
Saturday 0830 – 1730
Sunday 0900 - 1600

Stanwatch:
There are always staff members pottering around in this lovely little hive of a shop, friendly and helpful. Which is a good thing, obvs. However, we do love the surly glowering Stans that we find elsewhere. But that’s just us.


Flavour:
A traditional Lincolnshire sausage comprises just six ingredients – ground (not minced) pork, rusk, sage, salt and pepper. And natural sausage casings. Check the picture of the ingredients in these bad boys and it reads almost word for word the same. But there’s a problem. The dominant flavour has to be sage, which historically grows exceptionally well in Lincolnshire’s dry climate. But the overbearing taste here is pepper. Pepper, pepper, then more pepper. It’s not a bad flavour but it’s not quite right for a Lincolnshire sausage. We thought these bangers would work better in a different meal instead of with mash. They’re nice in themselves, but....



Texture:
Lovely and crumbly which matches the requirement for chopped pork. A good texture but marginally finer than the Southern & Thorpe version LINK. That’s slightly nit-picking though, compared to, say, Tesco or Iceland sausages the texture is absolutely FABULOUS darling. We like and we recommend.



Vital Statistics:
Average Weight Uncooked = 80 grams
Average Weight Cooked = 50 grams

Meat Content = I don’t know. The vague ingredients list doesn’t tell us (but it should). I do like things to be kept simple but I think Manor Farm are....taking it a bit too far. There’s laws and rules and stuff that I don’t think they’re sticking to. Mavericks!



Value For Money:
£3.99 for 7 sausages weighing 561 grams. This works out as £7.11 per kg and 57p per banger.
We rate this as good value for money.



Junior Sidekick's Three Word Verdict:
Once again JS was not around so the three word verdict has been provided by Ruth. And Ruth says “Tasty but highly peppered.” Which is four words. Unless “Tastybutt” is a new nickname for me of course.  I’m worth it.

The Imaginatively Titled Next Day Cold Sausage Test:
We kept one sample for ante meridian tasting but it got sliced up and tossed into a salad. Wherein it tasted pretty good among all the rabbit food. Must start trying to put more aside and doing this bit properly.



And Finally, Esther:
A good sausage! We enjoyed them. Pop down to Leasingham and try them for yourself....

Sunday, 7 August 2016

How To Kill An Iceland Sausage - This Time It's Personal


PLEASE VOTE IN OUR POLL ========================>>>>
 
It was the summer of 2013 and your dedicated Rate My Sausage team decided to do the world a favour – and eliminate every single horrendous sausage from Iceland (the shop, not the country, let’s make that clear). Over a week we attempted seven methods of sausacide – and we failed.
The final score was RMS 2 Iceland Sausages 5.
 
You can catch up on how we let the world down by clicking the links to each attempt below.
It’s now the summer of 2016 and we’re going to try again to rid our planet of this sausage-y scourge. We want your help to choose this year’s seven methods – please select up to seven options in our poll, just on the right of this page. This year we are going to be VICTORIOUS!
2013 methods:
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Lincolnshire Sausage Season #1 of 13 - Southern & Thorpe - Ruskington




“A perfect sausage”. Does such a thing exist?  According to the huge banner proudly displayed behind the counter at Southern & Thorpe in beautiful downtown Ruskington it does....


The banner is based on Southern & Thorpe’s (from now on referred to as S&T) success at the Poacher food competition which is held biennially in Lincolnshire. For the sausage contest the judges approach each sample with a starting score of 100 and deduct points as they go through the tasting process. At one competition a judge sampled S&T’s Lincolnshire sausage and couldn’t find any way to take points away, thus declaring that they were “A perfect sausage”. Quite a strapline. I was fascinated to be eating a product with such a successful heritage.


While I was in the shop a yummy mummy known as Sharron came in and was effusive in praise. “When I was pregnant my craving was for these Lincolnshire sausages. And ever since my daughter was born, she will only eat their Lincolnshire sausages.” Which is surely a sign that these bangers reach places that your Tesco and Lidl atrocities will never reach. An unhealthy diet for the daughter I think, but if you’re going unhealthy, go quality unhealthy!

 

Where To Find Them:
In Ruskington, Lincolnshire. This  is a large village through which a picturesque beck babbles, and the duck population is a major feature. Traffic often comes to a standstill as a mother duck leads a line of ducklings across the road, so be alert. Ruskington was recorded in The Domesday Book as Rischintone, meaning “farmstead where rushes grow”. This is of Scandinavian origin, suggesting that Ruskington was once home to hordes of horny-helmeted Viking invaders. Nobody is likely to slice off your head with an axe these days, so please feel safe to pop into 3 High Street and ask for Neil (more of him later). If you’re using SausNav type in NG34 9DY.

 
 

Stanwatch:

No Stans on view at Southern & Thorpe....the staff are mostly ladies! So we’ll make up a new Rate My Sausage word and call them Stanettes. And the Stanettes are super-helpful and friendly. Nice work S&T.

 

Flavour:
There is no greater compliment than that these sausages remind me of my childhood, in a very good way. We all have some rosey tinted glasses when we think back, but these bangers just take you back to family tea after PE on Thursday afternoon. So warm and cosy.  These sausages are absolutely delicious.  The seasoning is right, the saltiness backs up the main flavour of the pork. The meat is delectable, juicy with a hint of heat that doesn’t dominate.
Biggest praise though must be - my awesome girlfriend Ruth said “I might and go and have another one.” Which she did. And it disappeared at a rate of knots. Poor Ruth was not to know of this obsession of mine before we got together, so it’s to her great credit that she actually puts up with it and also embraces it.



Texture:
First cut into this sausage....”Snap”.  Natural casings is already a plus point. Super crumbly as you can see from the pictures, cut very coarse which is fabulous. When you slice them they almost fall apart, but not quite. Herby, sagey, and oh so more-ish. There are small knobbles of sausage on the plate when you eat them which is great, a lovely way to end the meal. Just as an extra plus point, these sausages are different shapes and sizes both before and after cooking, we like!




Vital Statistics:

Average Weight Uncooked = 59 grams

Average Weight Cooked = 50 grams

Meat Content = not known %. Dammit, as always I have ballsed up! Sorry....




Value For Money:
£3.35 for 8 sausages weighing 471 grams. This works out as £7.11 per kg and 42p per banger.

We rate this as absolutely bloody briliant value for money.


Junior Sidekick's Three Word Verdict:
Sam was not around for this test but he will be eating a lot of them in the future. He’ll taste them, he’ll squish them, he’ll approve and he will scoff! And we’re taking on a new recruit to Rate My Sausage who is keen to tell you about his personal fave butcher products....




Opening Hours:
See for yourself.




The "Aah, Bisto" Factor:
Very little aroma out of the bag, but wow, after cooking these sausages smell completely of great meat, good herbs and spices and utterly like the sausages you ate when you were seven years old. And that is a rather wonderful thing.

The Imaginatively Titled Next Day Cold Sausage Test:
We sliced these suckers up and sprinkled them onto scrambled eggs on toast. The sausages were fantastic yesterday, and did not disappoint the day after. The fridge as always encouraged the sausage to close up and firm up. Whereas yesterday was a loose cavalry charge of flavour, the cold version has “formed square” and stands solid, firm and wonderful. I can’t decide whether I like them better hot or cold, both are adorable.



 

And Finally, Esther:

This is the first of our Lincolnshire Sausage Season reviews. And blimey, the bar has been set extremely high. We adored these sausages and went back to buy more. Do yourself a favour and visit Ruskington. We started this review with the question “perfect sausage?” Well......maybe.....