Its Mustard! Sausages, Fennel, Spiced Crispy Apple, Baked Jersey’s and a Wicked Sauce

WP_20150425_18_47_13_ProThis was going to be a simple recipe, but ended up more complex as my brain chewed (sorry!!) over the options.

I had popped into the local Deli (Cook & Butcher, Thatcham), its recently moved to a larger location and was checking on my whether they had expanded on their range of Fox’s Gourmet products. A quick look around the shelves and yes, they had, my eyes drawn to a Tarragon & Champagne Mustard which looked interesting.

There were some freshly made sausages in the chilled counter, and I was soon walking out of the Deli, my brain whirring away with ideas on various recipes and thoughts on what I could prepare to delight the taste buds, Sausages & Mustard!

This isn’t a 30 minute meal, we are going to make a Chicken Stock from scratch which needs 2 hours simmering so read the whole post first, the stock can be made in advance and the leftover frozen for future use.

There is one picture in this post you might find a bit distressing, you have been warned…………………………

So as the dish developed there was a common theme developing, Aniseed. Linking flavour profiles and textures makes what might seem a boring meal that bit special, and I wanted to take the humble sausage (I am an addict of this British favourite), to the next level.

So if you fancy having a go, you will need the following;

  1. 1.5 Kgs Chicken Wing Tips
  2. 1 Calfs Foot, Split!
  3. 1 Carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  4. 1 Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  5. 1 or 2 Sticks Celery roughly chopped
  6. 5 Cloves Garlic
  7. 1 Tsb Tomato Puree (Double Concentrate)
  8. 1 Glass White Wine
  9. Olive Oil
  10. 6 Litres of Water
  11. 1 Jar Fox’s Gourmet Tarragon and Champagne Mustard
  12. 6 Pork Sausages (the BEST you can get, don’t skimp!), 3 per person!
  13. Jersey Royal potatoes
  14. 1 Apple (I used Pink Lady), peeled, cored and cut into 10mm approx. slices
  15. 1 Lemon
  16. 1 Fennel Bulb (sliced 5mm thick)
  17. 300 Ml Double Cream
  18. Butter
  19. 1 Egg
  20. Plain Flour for dredging the apples
  21. Panko Bread Crumbs for coating the apples
  22. 2 -3 Star Anise
  23. Ghee (clarified Butter)
  24. Salt
  25. 10 White Peppercorns
  26. Pepper

Making the Chicken Stock from Scratch

File 26-04-2015 12 01 32Yep, this is what 1.5kgs of Chicken Wing tips and a split Calfs foot looks like, drizzle with Olive Oil, mix well and roast in the oven at 180-200 deg, until browned 20 – 30 minutes.

WP_20150425_14_50_31_ProOnce you have roasted off the Chicken etc. place in a very large saucepan add 5 litres of water and slowly bring the boil.

Using the baking tray for the meat, place on the stove top, add the vegetables, 5 roughly chopped Cloves of Garlic, and start to scrape the bottom of the tray, releasing any sticky meaty bits.

WP_20150425_14_56_19_ProAfter about 5-10 minutes, as you can start to smell the aromas, add the Tomato Paste to cook out the raw bitterness, then add the Wine and cook for a further 5 minutes to burn of the alcohol.

WP_20150425_15_02_18_ProThen, add the remaining litre of water, add to the Stock Pot and start to skim off any scum that rises to the surface with a large spoon. The Stock needs to gently simmer for 2 hours, Chicken does contain quite  bit of fat, so keep checking the surface and remove as the delicious broth develops its deep rich flavour.

WP_20150425_15_11_59_ProAfter 2 hours, remove any remaining fat on the surface, and put to one side to cool down. You will only need about 1/2 Litre for the recipe, but now you have an amazing base for sauces and gravies which will be so much nicer than anything you get in the shops.

To cook the main event is quite straightforward. Bake the Sausages in the Oven, mine took about 35-40 Minutes at 180 deg. The Fennel once sliced, is placed in a baking dish and almost covered with some of the freshly prepared stock, add a decent knob of butter, season with Pepper, and squeeze 1/2 Lemon over the top. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for about the same time as the Sausages.

I boiled the Jersey Royals, let them cool and they also got the oven treatment to crisp up in some clarified butter, and seasoned with Sea Salt when served at the end.

WP_20150425_19_26_27_Pro With everything doing its cooking in the oven, you can prepare the Apples, which need dunking in well seasoned flour ( I only used Black Pepper, no Salt), beaten Egg and then Panko Breadcrumbs as in the picture above. At this time, you might want to stick some plates in the oven to warm up, ready for serving.

To cook, add a decent amount of Butter in a frying pan, then 3 – 4 Star Anise, you don’t want the Butter too hot or the solids will Burn.

WP_20150425_19_41_37_ProYou will start to see the Aniseed theme, in the Mustard, in the Apples, and of course, the Fennel. Once cooked to crisp on both sides, remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper, they can rest for a few minutes in the warm over whilst you finish the final stage, the amazing sauce.

When everything is cooked,  we are ready to get the sauce done and serve up. Take a frying pan, place on the heat and add about 300 mls of the Chicken Stock and boil vigorously, reducing by at least 1/2, then add a ‘glug’ of white wine, and continue to do the same.

WP_20150425_19_50_45_ProTake the dish with the Fennel in, and take about 2 Tbls of the cooking Liquor and add to the frying pan, this enables the Fennel theme to travel further through the dish, and the Lemon Juice in the cooking liquor, adds a further lift, finally add about 150 mls of Double Cream and continue to reduce.

This part of the process requires YOU to estimate, based on taste and consistency, every Pan and Hob is different so use YOUR judgement to adjust and you will be rewarded with a sauce of beauty.

The last stage is too add the Fox’s Gourmet Mustard, I used about 2 Tsp’s, again adjust and taste to get to your preferred flavour, finally season with salt after tasting again, if needed. If you are happy with the consistency, then serve up, if not reduce or add more cream, whatever you feel is needed.

WP_20150425_20_03_29_ProThat’s it, Sausages, Fennel, Jersey Royals, Crispy Star Anise Apples and an amazing sauce, you won’t be disappointed.

Yes, preparing the stock takes some time, but its really well worth it as now you have the base for further cooking with all the major prep done.

Hope you have a go at this and get the same satisfaction that I did. I am off to France in the next few days to learn some more cooking skills at The French House Party, I will be posting if I get the time and a full review will get posted after.

Until next time……………………L8ers…………..


Toulouse is Smokin’ – My take on a Italian, Rick Stein Sausage Dish! (Oh, and a short review of Michael Neaves Kitchen and Whiskey Bar)

WP_20150402_18_54_58_ProI was originally planning to cook a Moroccan dish, the centre stage being Merguez Sausages but when I arrived at the Ginger Pig in Marylebone they didn’t have any!

The Ginger Pig is an acclaimed butcher, they began over 20 years ago, with a near-derelict farmhouse and three Tamworth pigs, and now farm over 3,000 acres of their own pasture and North Yorkshire moorland, and work with a small network of like-minded farmers to supply their seven London butchers’ shops.

At the heart of everything they do is good animal husbandry and welfare; livestock that is looked after well in the field will simply taste better on the plate.

So looking at the options available to me and searching deep in the grey matter for a taste tingling sensation I tried to conjure up a fitting recipe for another sausage, the Toulouse, which they did have in stock. I picked a hearty smoked variety.


I’m going to go of on a tangent here for a few moments (it IS relevant). I recently discovered that someone I worked with had a sister in the world of artisan food.

Della, the owner of Fox Gourmet Foods make an amazing range of Jelly’s, Jams, Sauces and Chutneys, being artisan you won’t find them in the larger supermarkets, only in smaller Deli’s and specialist food outlets.

When I was out getting my hair cut recently, I popped into our local deli (had not ventured in there for many months), and discovered they stocked some of Della’s products, so bought a jar of Green Grape, Apple and Lemon Thyme Jelly, with a plan to try it in a recipe.

Eureka moment,  Rick Stein had published a nice looking dish in his Mediterranean Escapes Book, using Luganega Sausages from Italy that are fennel based, and braised with Potatoes and Lemon, I could do a twist on this and use the Toulouse variety and incorporate the Jelly from Fox’s to add to the flavour profile.

So, for this take on Sausages with Potatoes and Lemon you will need the following (as per the picture at the head of this post, adjust the vegetable volumes by eye/sense);

  • 3 Sausages per person (get REALLY strong flavoured ones like Toulouse if you can, it makes a big difference)
  • Waxy Potatoes such as Charlotte
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 Lemon
  • 4 – 5 Shallots
  • 2 1/2 Tbls Green Grape, Apple and Lemon Thyme Jelly
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • Bunch Wild Garlic (In season at the moment)
  • Optional – 1 Bulb of Fennel, shaved on a Mandolin. (I forgot to use mine, hence optional!)
  • 1 Tsp Piment d’Espelette (available HERE)
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Parsley
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Glass White Wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc are good)
  • Salt and Pepper to Season

WP_20150402_19_13_47_ProStart of by quickly browning your Sausages in some Olive Oil and set aside, you can just see them in the white bowl in the upper left of the picture. Remove from the pan and add the Shallots, (thinly sliced), and then the Garlic clove, (sliced), and soften for a few minutes.

Then add the Glass of Wine and cook vigorously to evaporate the alcohol, add the potatoes which have been sliced into approx. 1 1/2 inch chunks and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in 2 1/2 Tbls of the Fox’s jelly until melted, you can see the flavoursome Jelly just as I had added it, in the picture above.

WP_20150402_19_15_27_ProNext, sprinkle the Piment d’Espelette over the top. Piment d’Espelette literally means “pepper of Espelette” in French. It is a food product produced around the town of Espelette in Southern France, in the region known as Basque Country. This pepper is so famous that it has been given a protected designation by the European Union, ensuring that only peppers grown in the Espelette region may be labeled as “piment d’Espelette.” There are only 7 villages in the area that are permitted to produce it.

WP_20150402_19_19_47_ProFinally, add the Sausages back into the pan, along with 2 Bay Leaves. Take your Lemon and Pare (remove the outer skin), with a Peeler, leaving the white bitter pith behind and add to the pan, then cut the Lemon in half and add the Juice, squeezing through your hands to catch the pips, (or use a sieve!!).

Cover, turn the heat down, and Braise for 45 Minutes, check occasional as you don’t want the potatoes overcooked.

WP_20150402_20_05_19_ProA couple of minutes before your ready to serve, if you have managed to get some Wild Garlic Leaves, cut them in 2 c.m. lengths and add them to the pan, and finally chop the Parsley, add, and your finished.

WP_20150402_20_17_14_ProVoila, thats it —- I was obviously tired when preparing this dish as I had purchased a Fennel Bulb to slice and add some crunchy texture, but forgot it altogether. I will be doing this dish again and adjusting some of the ingredients, including adding the Fennel, Doh!

My acid test when cooking is whether the Mrs! likes it. She is honest and critical, so if she does not like something, I will know very quickly.

The verdict, bl@@dy delicious, punchy Sausages, Lemony sauce, subtle Garlic and Thyme, the jelly added both consistency and flavour so I was really chuffed, as was the Mrs who polished her whole plate with nothing left.

Please look out for the Fox Gourmet Range, they are available online from specialist Deli’s google will assist you find your local supplier.


Review – Michael Neaves Kitchen and Whiskey Bar, Edinburgh

A recent trip to Edinburgh on business and I was looking for somewhere decent to eat. Many (not all) Hotels these days have tedious menu’s using words such as ‘classic’ that really don’t inspire confidence in me wanting to even try their food.

My research found Michael Neaves Kitchen and Whiskey Bar, a restaurant that has only been open for a couple of years, but with a head chef who is only 23, yes TWENTY THREE.

The menu had an excellent, but controlled mix of Seafood, Meat and Vegetarian dishes that really made your mouth water.

File 03-04-2015 08 02 20The starter I picked was Pigeon Carpaccio, with Candied Walnuts and Beetroot Dressing, it was just AMAZING, the flavour and texture combination worked brilliantly.

File 03-04-2015 08 03 57The main course of John Dory on Bisque, with Kale was absolutely stunning, the Fish was spot on, crispy Skin, but not overcooked, the bisque, subtle and not too overpowering. I have to say it’s probably the BEST fish dish I have ever eaten (and this guy is only 23!!).

File 03-04-2015 08 03 26As for dessert, the Blueberry parfait with Pistachio crumb and Meringue was just beautiful, flavour packed, lovely textures, and went down a treat.

This was one of the best meals I have ever had (The other 2 being both in Edinburgh, Tom Kitchen and Martin Wishart, both much much older, and with a Michelin star each).

So Michael, thanks for lovely food, your staff are fantastic, service being spot on, highly recommended and if I am back in the lovely city of Edinburgh, your restaurant is on my must re-visit list.


Till next time……….L8ers