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sausages 2

Much more so than strolling through Bangkok in a pale flared Pierre Cardin suit and smoking Sobranie cocktail cigarettes, making sausages has always defined exoticism for me. There’s been a sausage shaped hole in my life and on the weekend, I filled it – in abundance.

Simple principle – everyone brings their favourite meat mix, we make sausages and we eat them. The fact that no-one, including myself had ever made them before was no impediment. I had 30 metres of pig casings soaking, a kenwood mincer attachment and a long red funnel thing. The golden rule is fat – Vince Garreffa says 20% minimum and you listen to Vince. Roll the casings onto the funnel – like you might for an ambitious condom purchase, tie a knot in the end, pop a couple of holes in to let the air out, crank the mincer up and twist every sausage length in opposite directions.

And it’s great. It’s such an earthy thing to do. It’s sex, it’s death; it’s shit, it’s food; it’s delicate, it’s brute force. It’s like Pasolini in pork. Bits of meat everywhere; someone pointing out that ‘an animals been shitting in that all its life; instructions to roll as a man,not as a lady; the firming of flesh – it’s not for the weak of heart or the repressed of spirit. I think we made about twelve kilograms of sausages with nearly as many different mixes. Sausages were cooked, enjoyed and magpies hung around our house for the next week.


Given that amateur sausage is a dying art for the amateur, I’m thinking that with quite a few kids around on the day, that at least that one of them might get me through to the next century as ‘the person that made their own sausages’. It’s the quiet hope of a mortality addressing near-forty year old. I also hope they remember the completely awesome birthday cake.

A completely awesome cake



Can’t be arsed with pubs sometimes so summer brings beers at ours. Minimal fuss.

A kilo Elmar’s nurnberger sausages, a loaf of rye, some mustard and saurkraut – Hollywood!

A few pickles to kick off with then pop the sausage on the charcoal burner placed in the middle of the table. No dictatorship of the propane master here. Just cozy communal woody smoke warmth. Magnificent.


Just in case you were wondering, the table you see is made of Jarrah weatherboard salvaged from a mate’s shed and the centre-piece is an old 3 lidded stainless steel ice-cream freezer top I found on the farm. Just remove the lid and pop in the charcoal burner. Too easy.

Weihenstephaners and Löwenbräu all night finished with Seven Hills (South Australia) Sweet White Sacramental Wine (copy line ahhmmmm Sunday’s Best, Seven Days a Week!). Sweet.

Funny night. Best was the story of house sharing and finding a pat of butter in the fridge with ridge in it and a poil pubien. Ladies, if you find somone claiming “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” mid-congress, tell him Jean says Hi.


Handy Hint! If you must use the same tray for uncooked as cooked, line it with a piece of alfoil then chuck it before returning the cooked meat.

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Product + Service = Joy

Elmar’s. Makers of fine German sausages and the like and I finally made it there. Allgood as much as smallgood, it brings pause upon entering. A dozen things you know, a dozen things you’ve only heard of, and a dozen things you don’t know. But but but but service. They love their customers, gently chastising me for not coming before. More when I said I worked around the corner. Gallery tours have less love in them than the explanation of their sausage range. A mixed kilo of Hungarian and Nurnberger sausages for a large piece of wood lifting and BBQ evening and were they good? No. Ha just kidding, they were fantastic. I got a customer loyalty card, I didn’t need it but it was mustard on the Nurnberger.

Poor pieman got accused by a touchy soul of having it in for the Vietnamese. He is, in fact, a gold plated gentleman. Careful though, I’d keep a discrete distance if he’s been on the sea horse hooch.

Elmar’s Smallgoods across from the Queens, Cnr Mary and Beaufort Streets, Highgate.


You’ve been here.

Stir, stir

You remember. You’re staying in a strange house and you have to cook dinner. Numbers go from 4, to 6, to 9 in an afternoon. You visualise the forequarter of lamb in your head. Enough? Risotto for entree, straightforward enough – there’s chorizo in the fridge. The one guest you haven’t met is the chief wine-maker at Vasse Felix. Now the forequarter, is it going to be able to be made into a rack. Chorizo and, and, and, mushrooms should be a safe enough bet. Vegetables with the main. The usual jus should do the trick – shouldn’t have left the bag of dried forest mushrooms back in Perth. Shallots would be nice in the risotto, forget and just get onions.

Stir, stir

Get back with a few hours before dinner. Lamb has defrosted, simple pestled marinade of nuovo olive oil, garlic and rosemary, crushed together. Open an MB. Try to tidy up the forequarter but bone structure unfamiliar. A simple clean up with one of the shanks taken off, remember to keep the offcuts and put them in the bottom of the roasting tray for a better gravy. Rub the marinade over and decide to add some olive tapenade. Cover and leave. Chop up vegetables, thinking small cubes, end up with the usual chunks

Stir, stir

Look for a saucepan for risotto. Find a seventies jobbie that looked ceramic but probably isn’t and has a solitary millimetre of metal all round. Have a sneaky peak in a Jamie Oliver cookbook to make sure you know what you are doing. Sautee the field mushrooms with butter. Crisp up the slices of chorizo with olive oil. Nicely done, set aside. Add the chopped up onion and garlic, sautee until soft in olive oil, add a bag and a half of risotto, stirring until it colours. Ask if anybody wants a glass of white (A Kalgoorlie Childcare Centre Fundraising Chardonnay I think), then chuck a couple in with the rice and stir. Open up the packs of chicken stock, spill half of one over the bench. Heat up in another pot. Open another MB. Go back to veges, dodge Mum making noodles, return to risotto. Keep stirring until wine is evaporated.

Stir, stir

Add the stock and return to vege prepping. Look for a rack ,there is none but settle for propping on veges. Go back to risotto. Rice has stuck ever so slightly, you work it loose with more stock and realise that if as much as one grain of rice sticks and burns, the dish is useless and it’s fish and chips for dinner. Toddler one discovers unstoppably noisy fire engine. Microwave vegetables. Another ladle of stock, more stirring, saucepan is filling in volume. About 30 minutes until ready if I take it easy. Toddler two eyes off my bright green portable stereo with destructive fascination. Return still firm vegetables to microwave. Phone rings, guests will be half an hour late. Turn heat down to murmur. Get given a Slovakian Nude Scratchy Beer. Add another ladleful and keep stirring. Turn away to put roast in the oven and veges underneath.

Stir, stir

Stock running low. Look at beef stockcubes, you decide against it and go for subtle over harsh, dilute stock with water. Nick another glass of wine. Look down to see how the oven is going and it’s slow. Last of the guests arrive. Think you can politely stretch the risotto out for another 15 minutes. Your arm throbs. Check the roast, it’s slow. Turn up head. Field a question about which wine to serve, you shrug shoulders and send out an order for plate and grated pecorino. Down to the last few drops of stock. Give the roast and the veges a quick basting. Look up people still sitting there, gesture to eat. Go back to basting, take a guess on time and back the oven off. Join the table and scoff down the risotto, not bad, someone says creamy, that’s good enough…

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