Thursday, 18 February 2021

Adrian Colling - Filey - Plain Pork Sausage

In the late summer of 2020 I managed to escape for a few days to the scenic North Yorkshire coast. A jolly nice time was had by all, and of course I brought home some sausages.


The area has a wealth of proper butchers and we visited quite a few. There was always a warm welcome, and the customer service was invariably excellent. We heard stories of uncovered beautiful Victorian tiles, nationally famous pies, products named by TV viewers, and even a delivery sheep, so please do have a chat with staff when you pop into any of the outlets around the Yorkshire Coast – you may be amazed with something you hear and the butchers love retelling their tales (but I will not be held responsible for the occasional embellishment or complete myth!).



Where To Find Them:

Visit the small but perfectly-formed fishing village of Filey and when you're done with the beach, the chippy and the penny arcade head for Union Street. You can't miss this attractive, eye-catching butcher's shop with its blue and white awning and colour-coordinated bollard and butcher's bike. Smashing. If you're using SausNav type in YO14 9DZ. Be careful if you're parking close by, the traffic wardens appear to be very predatory.


Opening Hours:

During the COVID period daily opening hours are 0700 to 1500, but “when it's all over” this should revert to the following:

Monday – 0700 to 1700

Tuesday – 0700 to 1700

Wednesday – 0700 to 1600

Thursday – 0700 to 1700

Friday – 0700 to 1700

Saturday – 0700 to 1600

Sunday – Closed

Also bear in mind that Collings close for a winter break each year, from mid-January to the start of February. All right for some eh!



Stanwatch:

If you're new to Rate My Sausage a Stan is a member of staff who potters around in the background when you visit, usually with a handful of absolutely lethal looking knives. Scary. At Collings we saw a good selection of stans working hard to provide Filey with its quality meat products, nice.



Flavour:

Although labelled as Plain Pork, these were a mixture of pork and beef, which I forgot until I tasted them. At first bite I thought there was some kind of problem, the flavour was not what I was expecting, it was deeper and more salty Checking the notes from the shop there it was, pork and beef! The flavour is pleasant and ever so savoury as it stands but personally I do prefer just one meat to be included. A pork banger tends to be nice and sweet, beef darker and hotter. These sausages are good though, and in a league many, many levels above the likes of the bloody awful Richmonds rubbish.


Texture:

Short and stout is what you get, much like me. These sausages take on slightly different shapes and sizes in the pan, which we love. The skins are great, they are natural (meaning no splitting at the first touch of heat) and give that authentic “cutting into a proper banger” pleasure. The filling is crumbly with decent sized lumps of filling, as always we crave a coarser texture but most people don't. A slight down point is the weight loss during cooking which seems on the high side, but that's just a minor criticism of an otherwise cracking product.



Vital Statistics:

Average Weight Uncooked = 74 grams

Average Weight Cooked = 52 grams

Meat Content = 75 %

The meat content of these particular sausages is an equal split between pork and beef, although the shop can vary these numbers according to individual customer requests.


Value For Money:

£3.20 for 6 sausages weighing 446 grams. This works out as £7.17 per kg and 53p per banger.

We rate this as very good value for money.



The "Aah, Bisto" Factor:

A decent aroma emanated from these sausages, certainly enough to make your mouth water more than a bag full of Opal Fruits.


And Finally, Esther:

Lovely, homely, filling bangers. Buy some!


Monday, 1 February 2021

F Doncaster - Claypole - Red Onion & Sage Sausage


Do you remember Rentaghost? A children's teatime favourite from back in the seventies, usually shown between Animal Magic and Blue Peter. Which character do you recall best? I'll bet it's the mischievous jester, Timothy Claypole. This has nothing to do with sausages of course, but we found a great proper butcher in the pretty Nottinghamshire village of Claypole – I wonder if the Rentaghost script writer knew the place?



F Doncaster is the name of the butcher, and they first came to our attention when we taste-tested pigs in blankets just before Christmas NEWARK PIGS IN BLANKETS 2020. For the record my testing panel voted them into the bronze medal place which was a good result, but my own personal scoring put Doncaster's in top spot. At the time I promised myself that I would return to test the sausages.


There is a good selection of flavours on offer here, they generally offer four or five different ones each week. The recipes for the more traditional varieties are 100 years old, having been created when Mister Doncaster started the business in 1920. When I visited, the weekly “specials” included a Black Pepper & Truffle Mustard sausage, and due to the proximity of Burns Night, a haggis variety – these were absolutely delicious. All Doncaster sausages are made on the premises – except the Lincolnshires, which are made in a different location for some reason.




Where To Find Them:

Claypole, obviously. If you're going to use SausNav the postcode is NG23 5BE. But they also have a shop in the attractive minster town of Southwell (NG25 0AA). They have a decent website too if you want to have a look: F DONCASTER WEBSITE  There's parking right outside the shop, or if that's full the village hall car park is just across the road.




Opening Hours:

Due to COVID the opening hours are different from the norm – see the photo. We'd really advise you to call the shop to check if they are open before setting out from home – their number is 01636 626272.


Stanwatch:

Really helpful staff on serving duties, and you could see a couple of Stans beavering away in the rear part of the building. A good picture.




Flavour:

Sweet, sagey, splendid. I wondered if the red onion would dominate as the aroma was very intense, but that was not the case. There mut be a good amount of sage included to balance out that onion, and when combined with the sweet and succulent locally-produced pork, Doncasters have created a flipping flavoursome treat. Good work chaps.


Texture:

The filling is firm, knobbly, but fine. We're fans of a coarser cut but this is a good offering. It's a solid sausage and stands up well to your fork, unlike most of the supermarket abominations. The casings are collagen though, and this rather lets down an otherwise cracking banger. Some started disappearing during cooking which is never a good look, and you're missing out on that fantastic “snap” that you enjoy when cutting into natural skins.




Vital Statistics:

Average Weight Uncooked = 55 grams

Average Weight Cooked = 46 grams

Meat Content = 72 %


Value For Money:

£2.62 for 6 sausages weighing 329 grams. This works out as £7.98 per kg and 44p per banger.

We rate this as very good value for money.



The "Aah, Bisto" Factor:

My notes say “Nice onion-ey waft from the packet when opened, and this intensified in the pan”. One of those that you can hardly wait to finish cooking.


And Finally, Esther:

Fab flavoured filling, skins could be better. Buy some and judge for yourself!




Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Newark's Best Pigs In Blankets 2020

The tasting teams are full up, 90 chipolatas wrapped in streaky bacon have been tried and tested, and the results are now in for Newark's Best Pigs Blankets 2020.



We'll reveal the winners in a moment but first how did we decide? To begin with a testing panel was recruited, five sets of people with enthusiasm and a big appetite. The next step was to collect samples of chipolatas and streaky bacon from nine sources in and around Newark. These were divided into bags with just one letter written on so that the testers would have no idea which product was which. The teams assembled and cooked their PIBs and judged them on three criteria, Flavour, Appearance & Aroma, and Texture, with scores awarded from 1 to 5 in each category. And now the results are in...



Particularly interesting is that the pigs in blankets from “proper” butchers occupy the top seven positions, and the two supermarket bought samples trailed in eighth and last. Surely that must tell you something – shop local, buy meat from a butcher and not a multi-national corporation!



And the winner is – Sibleys of Newark, 59.75 points out of 75. Cost £1.25 each.


A fantastic score for Sibleys. Testers said:

The sausage looked a bit ‘coarse’ and meaty which we liked; it was nice and filling.

When the family tried them this was their favourite.

Nice Lincolnshire-style sausage.

Too big, massive!

Coarse, knobbly, crispy sausage skin, perfect.

Well balanced, best one by a country mile.





Second – Robbs Newark, 53.25 out of 75, £1.10 each

Firm, good coarse texture.

Smells smoky and bacon-y, smells amazing.

Probably the best bacon that we sampled. Good size sausage that you want for a pig in blanket so you can have a few.

Plump out a lot in cooking.

Fantastic and amazing taste, for me they were superior in every way, amazing smell, incredible taste and an appropriate and nice size as well.



Third – GH Porters Provisions, Newark, 49.5 out of 75, £1.57 each


Cut really nicely, really firm.

Herby, sausage was gamey.

Large, imposing, looked the part.



Fourth to Seventh, all with similar scores came Richards Quality Meats (Newark), Cottiers (Balderton), Porters (Newark) and Doncasters (Claypole). Just outside the podium places this year but still really nice products, and much, much better than the supermarket. Some sample comments:



Richards Quality Meats £0.81


Well balanced sausage and bacon, perfect saltiness.

Smells like breakfast!



Cottiers £0.58


Nicest looking, good size, crisped up nicely.

The bacon crisped up nicely and had a smoky aftertaste.



Porters £1.02


Sausage is lovely and flavoursome.

Evenly cooked with a nice texture.



Doncasters £0.76


These were my favourites and I'd definitely go out of my way to purchase both the chipolata and the streaky bacon.

Sagey, lovely sausage.



So there you have unbiased opinions on seven pigs in blankets from seven butchers (sounds like a terrible title for a Broadway musical). The final two places were as follows:



Eighth – Richmonds thin sausages and supermarket value bacon, 29.75 out of 75, £0.38 each


You said not to be defamatory so I shan't say anything!

It was very thin so easy to wrap and crisp up and this made it look deceivingly more appealing. The sausage was quite bland and didn’t change colour much from being raw to being cooked.

Mushy, awful cheap sausage, lots of bread filling in sausage.

Bit slimy on eating.



Last – Supermarket own-brand pigs in blankets, 27.75 out of 75, £0.19 each



Tiny, completely underwhelming.

Surprised me as I would call it a cocktail sausage not a chipolata.

So tiny, these are what I'd imagine you'd get in a ready meal Christmas Dinner.

Shocking.

Would look better on a stick on a buffet.

Greasy, too smooth.

Not enough seasoning, bland.

Wouldn’t have these again, a bit nondescript. Younger samplers described them as a bit gooey.




They think it's all over....it is now. Buy your meat from a quality local butcher and not the supermarket!


Monday, 7 December 2020

Perfect Cheese On Toast - Part 2 of 8 - Huff Post


Cheese on toast is simple and standard right? Well, apparently not, there are a myriad different ways to produce this delicious snack.



Our first attempt was a simple slice it and grill it version, now we're going to explore a few other methods, the first of which is by the Huff Post website – you can find their recipe here: 

HUFF POST CHEESE ON TOAST



Who knew that there was a scientific formula to produce perfect cheese on toast? Well the British Cheese Board did because they produced it in 2013. This version, unsurprisingly, turned out to be more labour intensive than the first but rewarded me with a tastier and heartier end product.



There was more to do, but it wasn't difficult, even for a culinary pedestrian like me. Anyone can crumble crumbly cheese, chop spring onions and dollop some mustard. It was lovely watching the cheese mixture melt and coagulate in the pan, but the specified “microwave bacon on kitchen towel” idea is something I will not be trying again, as it produced rashers coated stickily with the paper, yuk.


Overall it was a very tasty end result, putting the Huff Post recipe top of the table so far.

1 – Huff Post

2 – Standard Slice & Grill


Sunday, 29 November 2020

Perfect Cheese On Toast - Part 1 of 8

 Cheese on toast, a quick and easy comfort food right?


Well, not necessarily. We here at Rate My Sausage have decided to diversify from good old bangers and try to find the perfect way to make this simple snack.


For starters we've made it the way we believe 90% of people might do, namely:

1 Toast the bread

2 Place sliced cheese on the toast

3 Melt the cheese under the grill

4 Eat (splashing with Worcestershire sauce optional).


This must be one of the simplest recipes known to man, and it produced a really tasty, and quite hearty lunch.


Over the coming days we're going to road-test other cheese on toast methods to find out if they can beat this good old simple style. Did you know that in 2013 the British Cheese Board researched a mathematical formula for the perfect version? We'll be making it tomorrow.


I asked others and here are some of their methods:


Chantelle “white bread, sliced or grated and any cheese. But under the cheese I have...Sliced onion. Sliced tomatoes, Branston pickle is a good one, Tomato sauce only a thin layer, And then grill it”


Wayne “Roberts thick toast bread, melt Edam, pour over toast


George “White bread lightly toasted. Then add marmite and then sliced cheese and grill. Wonderful


Nikki “Sliced together loaf. Depending on my mood either some onion under the cheese so it cooks slightly or a drizzle of marmite over the top when it comes out of the grill. I've a friend who swears by mango chutney with it. Not got round to trying that yet.


Deno “Worcester sauce


Mason “Whatever bread is present and open. Sliced cheese not grated. Only addition for me is Lea and Perrins.”


Ash “Home made thick slice of doorstep white bread, loads of grated cheese (usually just a mild cheddar as that’s what we buy in most for the kids) then loads of Worcester sauce on top before it’s grilled, when grilling no burning of the cheese allowed, serve with optional pepper


Sarah “Bread (toasted) butter, marmite, red sauce, cheese, under the grill”


Andy “Add some Branston pickle”


Estelle “White bread, sliced Red Leicester, under the grill till just bubbling. Add brown sauce – perfection”


Ruth “Brown or white, sliced with Worcestershire sauce”


Lynda “Thick white bread lightly toasted in toaster, then Red Leicester cheese, Worcester sauce. Lightly grilled"