Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Ali Dent - Hilgay - Pork & Herb Sausage

First of all let me inform you that Ali Dent is completely mental. In a nice way. We like our butchers to be quirky, and individual, and jolly, and all those kind of things - Mister Dent turns the dial on all these qualities up to 11. When you visit you will almost certainly be bantered. He's a funny bloke, don't be offended, I really consider this to be an additional dimension to this butchery that adds value to your visit. If you hang around for a few minutes you'll be able to enjoy the repartee shared with other customers too. A mark of a good local trader, Ali Dent knows all his customers and cares about them.

As well as being a great butcher and general store, Dent's is a hub of local activities and charity events. Cannot fault this man's commitment to his own community and helping others. If that sounds a bit gushy, well tough, Ali Dent is Norfolk's Mother Theresa, but with less hair and better flip-flops. Sadly the awesome "Two Pound Burger Challenge" that Junior Sidekick and I took part in back in 2015 is not going to be repeated, but there is so much good stuff going on in this village and surrounding environs. Keep up the good work dude.

Where To Find Them:
In the nice Norfolk village of Hilgay. Turn off the A10 between Littleport and Downham Market, go over the bridge on the River Wissey and continue until the road opens out into a small market place-type area. On the left you'll see Sausage House as it's known. Park on the surrounding roads but please don't block anyone in. If you're using SausNav type in PE38 0JD.

When I visited there was indeed a Stan present, beavering away behind the counter. No interraction due to being busy.

First reaction was "Mmmm, real tasty!" Not a bad first impression eh? The herbs are subtle but pleasing, pepper and sage don't dominate in a well-balanced taste. The salt is quite hot in the odd mouthful, but this just goes to show that the filling is hand-mixed and not mass-produced by a SausBot. I enjoyed these bangers and it was a real struggle to put two away for the Next Day test.

The squidge test was excellent, the filling stuck bravely together like lovestruck Montagues and Capulets, and while love may have torn them apart (again), only serious slicing could separate pieces of Dent's herby classics. These sausages are very solidly bound, and small but chunky just like me. Loads of small bubbles of good quality pork make for a good banger. All different shapes and sizes too. Nice.

Vital Statistics:
Average Weight Uncooked = 55 grams
Average Weight Cooked = 43 grams
Meat Content = 78 %

Value For Money:
£2.31 for 6 sausages weighing 332 grams. This works out as £6.97 per kg and 38p per banger.

We rate this as really good value for money.

Junior Sidekick's Three Word Verdict:
JS was not present at this rating. Mwahahahahaha!

The "Aah, Bisto" Factor:
These blighters were feisty lil sizzlers in the pan, which is always a good thing. And they gave off a mouth-watering, super-tempting aroma.

The Imaginatively Titled Next Day Cold Sausage Test:
Would they fade away overnight and become bland and unappetising? Or man-up and intensify the flavour and aroma. I'm delighted to report the latter - these sausages were superb when eaten cold next morning - best dipping agent to my palate was horseradish! Unusual, but yummy.

And Finally, Esther:
I recommend you seek out this butcher and buy these sausages. Even "if" you don't like the bangers (and if you don't, what's wrong with you?) you can't fail to enjoy the retail experience!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

King's Lynn's Best Cafe Sausage - Part 4 of 10 - Carousel Cafe

In 2011 the then-named Carousel Diner achieved third place and a bronze medal in our search for King's Lynn's best cafe sausage. Would four years and a change of name improve their chances this time round? We were intrigued how this visit would go, as Carousel Cafe is - at time of writing - rated number 1 restaurant in King's Lynn by review website Trip Advisor.

First impression was "Wow, it's busy" which is obviously a Very Good Sign - and we took the only table not already occupied. We both chose the Carousel Breakfast, in line with the rules, which is made up of 2 Bacon, 1 Sausage, 1 Egg, 1 Hash Brown, Mushrooms, Black Pudding and Bread & Butter. Junior Sidekick swapped his mushrooms for baked beans. We added a mug of tea and a glass of water.

Sausage: score 3.5
A reasonable effort, The squish test was fine and the texture was quite crumbly with plenty of pork present. A good improvement. The skins were collagen which isn't great, but the flavour was pleasant - mild peppery taste and not over-seasoned. For a cafe sausage - not bad.

Service & Cleanliness: score 4.0
This cafe was packed full yet the service was superb. Archers take note. There were two staff on the floor, another behind the counter, and this level of staffing meant that the whole show ran smoothly, even at ths peak rush-hour. We were asked for our drink order after maybe one minute, and the drinks turned up a couple of minutes later. With not a spare seat in the place we did expect a delay before our food arrived, but this turned out to be an acceptable ten minutes. The staff were super-polite, very smiley (which helps), and really helpful. The table next to us were given two capuccinos instead of one and a tea, but the extra drink was removed without question, and with a sincere-sounding "Sorry about that".

Rest of Meal: Score 4.0
When our meals arrived we glanced at the plates and then at each other. There simply didn't seem to be a lot on them! JS remarked later "I wondered where the rest of it was." This actually turned out to be a completely false impression as the amount of food was more than adequate. We put this first impression down to the high volume of customers and the cafe maybe running out of slightly smaller plates at peak time. The food was cooked nicely, eggs were PERFECT, my son found the bacon too salty, but overall the quality was very good. One small quibble on my part - there were only five mushrooms on the plate. As tasty and well-prepared as they were, this is a bit stingy.

Price: Score 2,54
Our breakfasts cost £4.95 each, my tea was an extra £1.00, meaning that the average price was £5.45. Using our scoring algorithm this means that Carousel Cafe scores a very tasty 2.54 in this category.

Scores On The Doors (after 4 rounds, click the cafe name to read their report):
P1 Carousel Cafe                14.04
P2 Pedlars Hall Cafe         13.19
P3 Archers Cafe                 12.25
P4 Silver Spoon Cafe          9.99

So into the lead by some margin zooms the Carousel Cafe - good work!

Scoring & Rules:
Points will be awarded in four categories; Sausage, Service & Cleanliness, Rest Of Meal and Price. The first three will be scored secretly out of 5 by the two of us and the scores averaged. For Price we are again using the Little Chef Olympic Breakfast (£7.99) as the benchmark, subtracting each cafe's price from this, and the resultant figure is their score (minimum score is zero). Simples!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Tuesday Sausage News - The Running Of The Wieners!

Yes you read that correctly. Melbourne this weekend held the first ever sausage dog derby. What a great idea! 

Watch this video, courtesy of The Guardian newspaper, and I defy you not to at least think "Awwww....."

Friday, 21 August 2015

Friday Sausage News - Fruitpig Company Ripping Up The Black Pudding Map!

In case you didn't know, here at Rate My Sausage we ae huge fans of the splendid Fruitpig Company. The quality of their sausages is simply incredible, and they have won our Sausage Of The Year award multiple times. But they don't just make sausages....

You MUST try their black pudding! It is bloody gorgeous. But don't just take my word for it, read this article by acclaimed food writer Andy Newman. BLACK PUDDING ARTICLE

Please spread the word and feel free to spread Mr Newman;s article as far and wide as you can....

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Powters - Newmarket - Scrumpy Pig Sausage

Newmarket is synonymous with horses. Therefore Tesco burgers. And of course sausages. The famed Newmarket sausage holds a proud PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) and Powters have made them for yonks and yonks. Incidentally, how much time is in a yonk? Is it umpteen years? If so, how many is umpteen? Maybe it's even donkey's years? If you're reading this in America then you probably have a blank expression on your clock, and it is definitely time to stop calling the lazy language you speak "English". S'up dudes?

We have reviewed Powters' products twice before, with variable results:

The marketing has been upgraded since then, but has our opinion about the sausages? Read on....

Where To Find Them:
Powters' shop is found in Wellington Street in, ummm, Newmarket. This is just off the High Street, at the corner of the market square. I really must arrange a pilgrimage to this sausage-y shrine soon. If using a SausNav, type in CB8 0HT. If you want to browse them go here: POWTERS WEBSITE

We received these bangers by mail, so obviously no Stans were on display. If you don't know what we mean by "Stans", read back a few reviews to find out!

Hotter than expected, quite peppery. Lovely warm juiciness for a Friday night tea. The cider is not really there for me which is a slight disappointment. But later slices had more of the cidery taste, so obv started at the wrong end of the banger! A nice rather than fabulous flavour experience.

The chop is medium coarse, pretty good. When you try to "squidge" it through the tines you can do it, with some effort, but the filling closes ranks and seems to bind up again. The skins are natural but not overly snappy. These Powters sausages break up delightfully in the mouth though, proper job!

Vital Statistics:
Average Weight Uncooked = 68 grams
Average Weight Cooked = 54 grams
Meat Content = 72 %

Value For Money:
£x.xx for x sausages weighing xxx grams. This works out as £x.xx per kg and xxp per banger. Umm these were review samples so I have to confess that no money changed hands, hence the X's that are contained in our blank review template. But, using Powters' online pricing, and extrapolating the result (impressed?) we can offer up the following hypothetical stats:

£3.39 for 6 sausages weighing 408 grams. This works out as £8.31 per kg and 56p per banger.

We rate this as good value for money.

Junior Sidekick's Three Word Verdict:
No Sidekick so no Three Word Verdict.

The "Aah, Bisto" Factor:
Oh goodness, a fantastic aroma wafts from the kitchen and makes your mouth water. Opal Fruits have got nothing on these sausages....

And Finally, Esther:
I enjoyed the Scrumpy Pig sausages. Double the cider would be good, but still a decent banger at a decent price. Not our favourite in the Powters range - which we will be reviewing in great detail in the near future. Watch this space!