Tuesday 26 June 2012

Peelham Farm - Foulden - Berwickshire Sausage

Peelham Farm has a great reputation, and that is what inspired me to visit their online shop  Peelham-Farm  and read all about them.  It’s an impressive set-up, particularly when you compare it to the bloody awful standards of the Skinny Lizzie makers (whoever they are) who were reviewed in May:  Awful-Skinny-Lizzie   Unlike that shower, Peelham Farm really do seem to embrace high standards of local and sustainable production, and you can see and read about the characters employed there on their website.

I cooked these sausages as part of the ideal “Rate My Sausage Full English Breakfast” – one hundred and ninety four RMS readers voted to say which components made up their ideal cooked breakfast, and the results were published within the last week or two.  The sausages leaked some “stuff” during frying, which was a slight worry, but plumped out splendidly and became very firm when turning.

Meat Content:
80%, minimum, but this must surely be a printing error.  These caber-solid sausages seem to be composed of....ooooh, at least 146% pork.  Impossible you say?  Well, try them for yourself before you cast doubt on the laws of physics, with special regard to pork products.  Indeed, you may want to check out Karl Schwarzchild’s book on the very subject of sausages, dark matter and their application to relativity, “The Big Banger Theory”.  Peelham’s sausages are super meaty, and the rare breed provenance bursts out of every single link.  Cosmic!

These sausages are very tasty but identifying the flavours really bamboozled me!  They’re sour and yet sweet at the same time, if that’s possible.  Somewhat akin to the flavour of a Lincolnshire sausage.  Delicious but obscure, there’s a “low” kind of spice that I can’t pick out at all.  Very dark, brooding and yummy, and smoky, VERY smoky.  Vinegar?  Definitely some sage.  Strong tea?  They taste lean somehow.  If you can visualise the flavour that I’m trying to describe you’re a genius!  Just take my word for it that Peelham’s Borderer is a very tasty tube of pork.

Chopped quite fine, but they are obviously made up of lots of small pieces of ingredient as opposed to a sloppy goo offered by mass production.  The quality of the meat helps the filling to cling together just so, yet it falls apart obediently when asked.  There’s a LOT of pieces packed into the small space inside the skin, they’re dense and compact and not in the least bit sloppy.  Almost perfect texture-wise.  Plus they seemed to double in mass in the fridge overnight (I expect Schwarzchild would be able to explain how) and were super scrummy next day.

Average weight uncooked - 81g
Average weight cooked - 57g

Shrinkage - 29%

Awfully high amount of shrinkage, what a great pity.  The only blot on the otherwise most excellent copybook for Peelham’s Berwickshire bangers.

Value For Money:
£3.12 for four sausages weighing 323g - this works out as a price of £9.66 per kg, or 78p per snorker.  Great flavour and a very high quality sausage, tempered slightly by the high shrinkage figure.  They’re an expensive banger, but the standard is as high as the price.  As a special occasion treat I rate these as “very good value for money”.

The Bisto Factor:
When I popped into the kitchen to turn the sausages I heard myself rather embarrassingly exclaiming “Oh.  OH!”  Tempting and terrific-smelling, I could hardly wait to get stuck into the Peelham’s.  The aroma intensified and became more and more maddening as the time to tuck in approached....

Opening Hours:
Open all day, every day, just click onto their easy-to-use website:


Denise Walton, Peelham said...

What a great blog and a truly thorough examination making your comments all the more trustworthy !

Of course shrinkage and 'stuff' (as you describe it) are perfectly natural and to be expected from a high meat (and fabulous rare-breed fat) content with no artifical fillers and additives to prevent shrinkage !

So pleased they gave you so much pleasure !

Rate My Sausage said...

Greetings Denise,

I'm glad the review is OK with you, I do try to say it as I see it (and eat it). The sausages were absolutely delicious, and I'm looking forward to the others!

Morgan said...

Without being aware of this blog, we ordered two or their sausages, the gluten free and the pork. The amount of shrinkage and pan juices were terrible. The real problem with the grease that poured out of the pork ones was it was such a low grade of grease it had to be chucked. Good quality fat can be used to fry other things, not the case here. Bacon and lamb shoulder we ordered equally flawed. The gluten free ones dispensed so much water, I had to throw out the juices to prevent the sausages boiling. Taste, I agree, was good. However texture was poor, the fatty residue poor, the water pouring out of the gluten free ones, outrageous. When we commented, we were treated to a lecture from the farm, on how we were too stupid to understand the difference between supermarket meat and real meat. No actual engagement in the complaints. If you are in the Scottish Borders, as I am, there are far better sausages available. My own local butcher for one! I'm not sure what I'm most disappointed in, the low quality of the sausages, or the absolute refusal to hear the slightest criticism of the product. If you do buy these sausages, and they don't make it on your own quality control, don't bother feeding it back to them. You'll be told you don't know enough to comment!

Rate My Sausage said...

That's an interesting and provocative comment, thanks Morgan! It's all about opinions and you're most welcome to express yours here at Rate My Sausage. Maybe you'd care to write a guest review of your local butcher's bangers for us?

Morgan said...

More than happy too! If I'd known about this blog, I'd have taken photos of the cooking process last time. I am about to have my local butcher's Wild Boar sausages for tea, but I'll need to check with him the precise ingredients etc, and spend some time to do it properly. Oh dear, I'll have to buy more next week to do that!

And also like to suggest different chutneys to go with different sausages, as we enjoy a wide range of fruit chutneys for game and sausages. (Yes, my butcher sells them too!) So any suggestions of a good chutney you, or others, have found, gratefully received.

ps My review has been removed at the Peelham site - it says again "be the first to comment'. Don't bother commenting if you are critical, as I said, you'll be ignored!

Denise Walton said...

We feel after Morgan's comments it is only fair we should show the full story.

This is the email Morgan sent to our supplier:
Hi. We've looked at the meat that was delivered and are surprised to find the shoulder of lamb has a spine and ribs..... We think it is actually back and is therefore more bone than meat. Is it possible the butcher slipped
up? Also the sausages appear to be half fat..... They shrank dramatically on cooking. I think you may need to have a word with them...

This is our email response, which we thought would be helpful and informative to Morgan:
Alison from ... kindly passed-on your concerns with the meat delivery we supplied them for you. I am very sorry it did not come up to your expectations and do hope that the following explanation is helpful. I would be delighted to answer any concerns or queries my explanation may raise;

Firstly the lamb – and I do apologise if this sounds a wee bit like a biology lesson and it would be my luck that you may well be in the medical profession; and if so I apologise again !!
I have checked with our butchery that you were sent the correct order of shoulder of lamb on the bone. I confirm that it was shoulder on the bone and not back (also known as saddle).

The shoulder is naturally attached to the upper spine and of course the upper rib-cage. In addition to the shoulder-bone (or the spoon bone or scapula) it is naturally a bony joint of meat (and consequently less expensive than leg). We normally supply lamb shoulder on-the-bone as you will have received it because we find people tend to prefer it this way. It provides a more flavoursome and moister roast. We do though, if requested supply a ‘raised shoulder of lamb’ which is a more specialist cut and has the spine and shoulder removed, but is slightly more expensive.

Secondly the sausages – I am not sure from the order if you will have received our all-meat gluten-free sausage or our traditional pork sausages which are 80% meat mixed with oatmeal and breadrusk ?

Either way, an all meat sausage or high-meat content sausage (such as our traditional pork), will be naturally moist and consequently lose more moisture (including rendered fat and will inevitably shrink when cooked) than for example supermarket sausages which tend to be 70% or less meat content. Further more (this is the important bit !), we don’t use any of the moisture retaining or shape-retaining agents such as caseine which sausage manufacturers use (including those who manufacture for the supermarkets) which prevent moisture loss on cooking. In fact we don’t use any artificial additives, preservatives or flavour enhancers used by most butchers in their pre-mixed bought-in sausage mixes. We make our own recipes and make-up our own mixes.

Our sausages have 15-20% fat content which is important for flavour and texture. If you de-glaze your pan with a little water after you have cooked our sausages you will get a delicious gravy !

Our sausages were reviewed by the well known ‘Rate my Sausage’ blog. Please do have a look at the review on the news site in our website www.peelham.co.uk.

Please don’t hesitate to get back to me if you have any queries or further concerns.

With best wishes

We are sorry and very upset that Morgan has taken offence to our email and instead of responding to us directly, has chosen to be so publicly damming.

Rate My Sausage said...

So there are both sides of this particular story. We won't publish further comments on this subject here, and would encourage both parties to communicate directly. Thanks for the debate!