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…………..


Tutts Clump Ribs & Asian Slaw – Heaven on a plate!

Another manic week over and things are looking good for the remainder of the year, a holiday in Djerba is on the cards and work is going really well.

With a change in the weather and some fantastic looking pork ribs on sale at the fave farm shop, thoughts turned to America and Jamie Oliver’s book of the same title, which features a plethora of great recipes. This is my slightly modified version of 5* Pork Ribs with Epic BBQ Sauce.


Tutts Clump is both a small village near Reading and the name of a fantastic Cider Producer. Tim Wale the genius behind the Cider was born in the village and started commercial production around 2008. The Cider replaces the apple juice used in the Rib cooking process, more about that later.

Its takes 24 hours to make this menu but the results are absolutely worth it, the result are the best ribs I have ever tasted, the boss also commented in a similar vein, please give them a try.

MARINADE – For this you need Fennel Seeds, Smoked Paprika, Orange Zest, Garlic, Dried Thyme, Brown Sugar Sea Salt & Pepper.


All the ingredients for the marinade need pounding in a pestle and mortar to make a smoothish paste. Steenbergs herbs and spices feature in most of my cooking these days, fresh, vibrant and from known sources which are at minimum Organic and many Fairtrade, they are difficult to beat.


Once the marinade is ready rub it well into the Ribs, you should find the marinade starts to soften after a time, this is exactly what should happen as it reacts with the meat. Cover with cling film and stick in the fridge for 24 hours.

EPIC BBQ Sauce – For this you need Onions, Chilli’s (I changed from the recipe here as I had Chipotle Chilli’s which add a depth and smokiness to the sauce), Garlic (lots), fresh Thyme, fresh Rosemary, fresh Coriander, Bay leaves, Cumin seed, Fennel seed, Paprika and Cloves, Oranges (zest & juice), brown Sugar, Balsamic Vinegar, English Mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, Tomato Ketchup, Apple Juice, Salt & Pepper…………Phew!  Believe me, its worth making this with or without the Ribs, its outstanding.

With a food processor, mince the Onion Garlic & Chilli’s to a smooth paste and fry gently (if you are using dried Chilli’s like me, they need soaking in warm water for at least 20 minutes to soften).

The Herbs & Spices get the processor treatment next, along with the peel of the Orange, and add to the Onion mixture along with the Brown Sugar.

Lastly, Water, the Apple Juice and Orange juice and other ‘wet’ ingredients and simmer gently for 10 mins or so.

Once the sauce is cooked you pass it through a sieve, it should look something like this.


Glossy, silky and delish.  If you sterilise a jar, you can keep the sauce for several months but once you taste it, my bet is it won’t last that long.

Next stage is for the following day so put your feet up and enjoy the evening………………………..

The Ribs go though 3 stages of cooking, all ‘low ‘n slow’. Firstly set the oven to 130 deg, the Ribs are cooked for 1 hour 30 mins with the frown face down, so the meat side is facing the baking tray and the bone, sinew side is in the air. When done, you need to create foil parcels (I lined mine with greaseproof to make sure the foil was not pierced by the bone edges), this time the ribs are turned over and smiley side is up. At this stage I used the Tutts Clump Cider instead of the apple juice, it brings something more to the dish and you need about 1/4 bottle for each rack. The foil is then sealed, and back in the oven for another 1 hour 30 mins, they will look something like this.


The next stage is to put the Ribs back in the oven having drained off the liquid to dry them a little bit, the final stage is to coat the Ribs in the sticky unctuous sauce and give them another 30 mins before they are ready to devour.


Asian Slaw With a Touch of Levant

To accompany the Ribs I planned both texture and further layers of flavour. Simple SweetCorn smothered in Red pepper Butter, Potato wedges, marinated and cooked in Ras Al Hanut and a touch of Cayenne Pepper, and the other star is Asian Slaw with a touch of Levant.


 The Asian Slaw is a taste as you go experience, you can see the Ingredients I used in the picture above. The extra flavours were provided by Pomegranate Molasses, Sumach, Yuzu Juice, Lemon Zest, Rice Wine Vinegar, Jaggery (Indian Sugar you can even get in the well known supermarket that I don’t like going too!), Ground Persian Black Lime and Rapeseed Oil.

Just finely chop equal quantities of Apple, Carrot, Onion, Cabbage and Cucumber (cut in half and remove the centre with a spoon). The dressing should follow a 3:1 ratio of Oil to Vinegar, remember that the Lemon and Yuzu Juice is also acidic so an allowance should be made for this.

Aim for a slightly sweet, slightly sharp flavour, everyones taste buds are slightly different so just experiment and see what happens, remembering its easier to add than remove.


So after another mammoth event, and quite a few ingredients a really delicious (and quite healthy) meal.  The Ribs really are awesome and work well with the slightly tart slaw.  I added some slide baby plum tomatoes to go with the corn and wedges and the main even was great.

It may seem a lot to do but in reality its a few simple stage spread over  a couple of days, try them and you won’t be disappointed.

Till next time bon appetit.

بلاد الشام / Bilad al-Sham / The cuisine of Levantine

When the weather is hot my cooking turns to the middle east, as you will have noticed in recent posts. I find that I cannot manage to eat large meals, and whilst salads can be exciting, a Meze type meal is healthy, easy to digest and great fun to create.

Shawarma is traditionally cooked on a vertical spit, and comes from the turkish word ‘çevirme’ which means turning. One of my food heroes Yotam Ottolenghi has his version of the dish in the book ‘Jerusalem’ which was also a TV series shown on BBC 4.

Spices for Shawarma

 Lamb & MarinadeAs you can see, quite a lot goes into this dish apart from a leg of Lamb, that has been ‘punctured’ with a long thin knife to let the marinade penetrate over a 24 hour period.

If you want to have a go, you will need Peppercorns, Clove, Cardamom pods, Fenugreek seeds, Fennel Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Star Anise, Cinnamon sticks, Nutmeg, Ground Ginger, Sweet Paprika, Sumac, Sea Salt, Fresh Ginger, Garlic Cloves, chopped fresh Coriander, Lemon juice and……………………..Groundnut Oil………..!

Pop all the ‘seedy’ spices into a pan and dry roast them, the kitchen will be filled with exotic aroma’s n no time at all. Grind the spices once heated through and add to a bowl with everything else and you have you marinade. Once done, take you leg of lamb and puncture the meat in several places and then put into a dish, smother with the marinade and rub well in. Cover and stick in the fridge for 24 hours, taking out from time to time to turn over and make sure the leg is really well coated.

Soused Onion

Completed OnionI was planning to serve the Lamb with various salads, a simple Red Onion piquant one was created by combining Sherry Vinegar with Rape Seed Oil, Salt, Pepper, Lemon Juice and Zest, and some fresh Coriander and finely chopped Mint.

The second Salad was some Baby Gems leafs, Tomato, Cucumber, Coriander (lots), and a dressing of Sherry Vinegar, Rape Seed Oil and Za’atar.

The lamb goes into a low oven (150 deg Fan, 170 deg Convection), for 4.5 hours. You need to add some water from time to time and cover the meat for the last 3.5 hours so the spices do not burn.

Cacik I made some Cacik to go with the Lamb, Yoghurt, grated Cucumber, Garlic, some Lemon Juice and drizzled with Olive Oil and sprinkled Sumac on the top too. I do like this particular dish, its adds a freshness and tartness which goes well with the Lamb, especially when served in grilled Pitta Breads, used a pockets to hold the various tasty fillings.

As you can see from the heading photograph, this meal is pleasing on the eye as well as giving the tastebuds a real treat. As the Lamb is cooked gently, it is meltingly tender and when stuffed into a ‘Pitta Pocket’ with the various salad’s and Caciik, you end up with the most delightful fresh taste, that will take you to the Casbah’s of distant lands.