Tuesday 14 April 2015

Creake Abbey - North Creake - Pork, Leek & Bacon Sausage

As part of our comeback series of reviews, looking at sausages harvested from Creake Abbey Farmers Market, this week we may be in for a real treat. The sausages are none other than those from Creake Abbey's own Food Hall, produced by an uproariously talented young butcher by the name of Lisa Scothern. It should be no surprise that Lisa's charcuterie skills are so fabulous, as she learned her killer meaty moves from master butchers Ray Smith (River Cottage) and Matt Cockin (Fruitpig Company). OK, not everyone who has ever shaken hands wih David Beckham can bend it like Goldenballs, but Lisa has learned from these Professors of Pork and has the piece of paper to prove it.

When I say "piece of paper" I mean "Degree in Artisan Food Production". This was gained at the School Of Artisan Food in Nottinghamshire, with a major in butchery/charcuterie. This is obviously a very broad subject, as students not only learn how to butcher and process meats, but also "what a fluffer is". Now, unless there's a butcher-specific definition of fluffer, this does seem slightly off-topic? Nevertheless Lisa learned well and set up her own business, "Sherwood Charcuterie". In her own words, "....set up my own business in 2013. My focus was initially on producing great bangers and burgers and cooking at events. I also had a small range of air dried produce. I relocated lock, stock and barrel as I fell in  love with the giant that manages Creake Abbey (all Matt Cockin's fault!!) and we all live happily ever after........My plan is to re-establish a business in wholesaling salami and salumi, once I find a suitable premises locally, whilst keeping a hand in as butcher at Creake Abbey."

Where To Find Them:
The home of this sausage is the food hall at the delightful Creake Abbey Cafe and Food Hall. If you're using your Satnav then type in NR21 9LF. Alternatively find the sausages at Drove Orchards Farm Shop in the gorgeous north Norfolk village of Thornham (PE36 6LS). While you're there head down the lane towards the sea and you may find Junior Sidekick and me crabbing off Thornham sluice gate! Idyllic.

Deep, dark, almost smoky - that was what I wrote in my notes, and before I knew that the bacon included is home-smoked. This is a splendid banger indeed. Just as we like it, each mouthful is a little different which is great to taste and also proof that there is no Mega-Banger X5000 machine pumping these out at a vast rate of knots. The tasty products here are obviously, and superbly, made by hand. You can almost see the thumbprints. Leek or bacon sometimes take centre stage which I particularly admire, and there was the occasional squeak when biting into a larger chunk of the leek. Totally and overwhelmingly delicious.

Very coarse and very rough cut. Exactly the way we likes 'em. These sausages are tough to push apart and when you do finally manage it there are large lumps of loveliness tumbling around your plate. Bloody fantastic work. Substantial and  huge lumps of the top-rated Blythburgh pork, big bits of bacon, and what appears to be half a leek here and there - this is Rate My Sausage perfection. Before our recent break from reviewing it became obvious to me that pork and leek was my favourite type of sausage - Oh Emm Jee these bangers have raised the bar, and the enjoyment of eating, to another level. Natural casings are the perfect finishing touch to one of the greatest sausages I've ever had the pleasure of eating.

Vital Statistics:
Average Weight Uncooked = 105 grams (MONSTROUSLY HUGE)
Average Weight Cooked = 92 grams
Meat Content = 75 % pork, and 16% bacon, smoked in Creake Abbey's very own smokehouse. 

Amazingly we were provided with the full list of ingredients, which is a first as butchers are invariably secretive about there bangers. But we're keeping them a secret.

Value For Money:
£6.28 for 6 sausages weighing 631 grams. This works out as £9.95 per kg and 104p per banger.

We rate this as absolutely bloody marvellous value for money.

The Fruitpig Factor:
Lisa Scothern of Creake Abbey and Matt Cockin of the Fruitpig Company are, at the same time, the best of friends and the keenest of rivals. Indeed, Matt is credited (see above) for starting the avalanche of amour that will end in Lisa's forthcoming nuptials, and I have it on 100% good authority that he will be the chief bridesmaid at said wedding. It won't be his first time....

Take It Further:
Right, you have just read this review. And it's feckin' awesome. You want to make your own sausages just like these. Well....maybe you can....

Lisa Scothern is a tutor at the superb Cannon & Cannon's Meat School. Located in Borough Market, London, this place is a meat-lovers nirvana. Check the link, and if it tickles your fancy, treat yourself to an inside track to pork (and more) perfection. You will NOT regret it!

And Finally, Esther:
A Mary Poppins of a sausage - practically perfect in every way.

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