Tuesday 11 September 2012

Grasmere Farm - Ely Farmers Market - Pork & Stilton Sausage

This is the first review of sausages from the recent trip to beautiful downtown Ely, and their fascinating farmers’ market.  It was “supposed” to be the second, but I’ve had to promote it, for reasons that you can read about next week.  So, the stall is Grasmere Farm, and it’s an automatic draw for the sausage fan – oodles of bangers on display in their chilled cabinet, and a pleasant styling of banners – and there are lots of lovely sausage slices for you to sample. 

And then there’s Doug!  You will probably speak to Doug Shaw (lucky number 21, star sign Sagittarius), the genial and welcoming chap in the white overall.  Doug’s a super-friendly chap who will rabbit on about Grasmere’s products until the cows come home.  This well-informed young man told me that the pork is reared on their own farm, which accounts for the delightful flavour.  The people coming up to the stall while I was there probably tell you more than I could make up – all were incredibly enthusiastic about these bangers, and were definitely on return visits....and one lady of a certain age had travelled from Yorkshire especially for the sausages.  If that’s not a huge endorsement then I don’t know what is.  So....Doug and Mrs Doug were lovely.  The customers were rich in praise.  And the stall looked great.  Could the sausages live up to expectations?  Read on, dear heart....

Meat Content:
65% as stated on the label.  That’s an acceptable figure, if slightly on the low side for an artisan sausage.  The combination of 65% pork and 73% stilton is wonderful, they certainly seem to pack more inside the skin than seems possible.  The feeling in the mouth certainly suggests more than 65% pig, but who am I to disagree?  The pork is raised on the farm, and the taste definitely reflects that.  Porky, cheesey, and yummy!  My dilemma now is – next time I visit Grasmere Farm’s stall, do I have more of these winners, or try something different?  What do you think?

Oh wow!  So super-flavoursome!  The stilton is slightly dominant here but the pork doesn’t roll over and surrender – why would it?  Quality ingredients are obviously present, and if you like cheese and you like sausages, well, you just have to sample Grasmere’s Pork and Stilton’s for yourself.  This is a partnership that bumps shoulders but gets along perfectly well in the long term, think George & Mildred rather than Hilda and Stan Ogden.  A few weeks ago I grudgingly praised Tesco and their Pork and Red Leicester sausages – the first time I’d tried the pork/cheese combo.  Well, these beauties knock the socks off of those, the cheesiness is voluptuous and velvety, and a perfect companion for the pork.

Knobbly, gnarly, ‘normous.  These are big, scary looking sausages, and each one is different – we like a lot!  The filling is relatively fine cut, but crumbles apart nicely when your knife tells it to.  To tell you a secret – I cut one of them in half and the two sides were probably the same size, each, as many bangers we’ve reviewed over the years.  Mahoosive!  I then cut each of the halves into four pieces, each of which was still a large mouthful of meaty deliciousness.  Big logs of cheesy-sausagey heaven.  You have to try these gorgeous monsters for yourself, don’t just take my word for it.  I dare you to try to eat more than two in one sitting – I couldn’t.....

Average weight uncooked - 95g
Average weight cooked - 74g

Shrinkage - 22%

A reasonable figure, I suppose, but LOOK how lumpy these bangers are!  95 grams each, wowzer, that’s edging up towards Ecky Thump territory!

Value For Money:
£2.84 for four sausages, weighing 379g - this works out as a price of £7.50 per kg, or 71p per snorker.  I can only rate these fantastic sausages as FANTASTIC value for money!

Opening Hours:
Well, Ely Farmers’ Market is held on the second and fourth Saturday of every month.  So if you deffo want to try Grasmere’s sausages, make your plans and head to Ely.  It’s a lovely place, and if you go by train you can walk right through the cathedral grounds on your way into the city centre.  I “think” the market starts at half past eight and runs until about two.  Visit!

The Next Day Cold Sausage Test:
I couldn’t eat the four bangers that I purchased all in one go.  One of the extra two was grazed through the day every time I passed the fridge.  The final one – yes, the picture shows ONE of these humungous bangers sliced up – was saved for the important “next day, cold” test.  Sauces used were; mayo, HP Sauce, Tomato ketchup, Wholegrain mustard, Reggae Reggae sauce, English mustard, and “nekkid”.  Which do you think will be the best combo – before you read on?  The results were:

Mayo:  Bit of an odd combination.  Second time round, still dubious.  Without the quality of the banger, maybe even a bit sickly.

HP Sauce:  Sweet porkacheesiness, super tangy sauce, fab. Second lap – the sauce gradually disappears, leaving you to enjoy the sausage.  Impressive!

Red sauce: MMMMM!  Cheese and tomato with a side helping of delicious pork – a match made in sausagey heaven!  Again, the sauce slowly makes way for the meat, and the stilton is really encouraged tonsay “Hello”,  The winner!

Wholegrain Mustard:  OK, but kinda subdues for some reason.  “Pleasant”.  “Mostly harmless”....spot the quote?

Reggae Reggae:  Yowser!  Reggae Reggae is a very in-your-face sauce, and takes over completely. Just too powerful for this sausage.

English mustard:  One slice dived in headlong, the full Tom Daley!  Ouch!  Too spicy, you impatient devil.  Ouch and double ouch......too hot!

Nekkid:  Good lord, it’s a triumph of a sausage cold as well as hot.  Yum!  Solid, meaty, but cold the sausage seems to be lacking ever so slightly without a saucey companion.  A close second to the Red Sauce.


Anonymous said...

Ketchup (not Heinz.....yukk) can't beat it!

Vinogirl said...

Hmmm, I like stilton, but don't think I'd like it in my sausage.
Really funny post.