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Market Stars #4 - Sausages

First of all, an apology – just four Market Stars in and I’m already a couple of weeks behind. In my defence it has been December, and it’s been a mad, feverish December worthy of two Christmases we couldn’t celebrate properly. I fully threw myself into this festive season and I’ve now seen Hallmark movies galore, read cosy childhood classics, sipped all the mulled wine, made all the gingerbread stars, skated in the rain and decorated my flat for £14 from Poundland (paper chains and sparkly mini trees are a must).

In the process I’ve also hosted a World Cup game (me?!) and a Christmas party. I am now about 50% mulled wine, 40% pastry, and the rest is some weird conglomerate of brie, Maltesers reindeer and Cool Original Doritos. So, this Market Stars round-up is a little late.

Anyway, my fourth Star is a sausage, and at this hallowed time of Twixmas, you may have a few knocking around the fridge.

They’re a year-round staple for many families. At a basic level, they have “budget” written all over them – they use up all the parts some might shy away from, and are deliberately salted or smoked for preservation.

According to Atlas Obscura, there’s even a Taipei sausage party where a sausage-smelling mist envelops visitors. They’re inevitably funny, and not just because my Medieval forefathers spelled it “sawsige”. Getting banned by Constantine and featured by Seth Rogen is a sure way to enter into the innuendo halls of fame.

We also use them willy-nilly (pun absolutely intended) at Christmas: bratwurst at a Christmas market, charcuterie or cocktail sausages for drinks parties, pigs-in-blankets with the roasts, or, if you’re feeling really festive like the creators of this Staffordshire pub’s Boxing Day menu, pigs-in-blankets and bacon on a burger. The whole hog, so to speak.

I visited the wonderful Giggling Pig in Oval Market, which also offers hangover-busting bacon or sausage rolls in thick white baps. For variety (and their three-for-two deal) I picked up a packet of chipolatas, six Christmas sausages and six classic bangers, and threw in a packet of sausage-meat.

It’s a bit more of an extravagance than the usual market vegetable, but it’s also Christmas and there was entertaining to be done (see above).

So, I started with a cosy, stodgy, winter dish of Sausage, Swiss Chard and Gorgonzola Lasagne, using the bangers. I had some swiss chard to use up and the old and current flatmates were around for dinner, so I figured hearty and cheesy couldn’t go badly. They had also bought me a Christmas tree as a surprise when I said I couldn’t afford one this year, so a whole lot of teary love went into this. I think the lemon zest and the sharpness of the gorgonzola are quite important here, and I wouldn’t use a milder cheese.

When it gets cold and miserable in January and the resolutions fail (because why, why would you choose to deprive yourself of anything in objectively the most rubbish month??), I think this would be a pick-me-up.

Next came the World Cup England-France game. I had forgotten this was going to happen when I cheerfully invited a few friends over for (more) mulled wine and snacks, thinking we could stick some carols on the telly and fill ourselves with festive cheer. I was quickly dissuaded of this notion and even managed to shout at the ref a bit. Anyway, for that there was a Sausage World Cup Wellington. Much less temperamental that the beef version, goes very well with cornichons. And the parma ham was 90p for five slices at Sainsbury’s.

In the spirit of entertaining, there had to be Festive Scotch Eggs this month. They’re festive because they have cranberries in (ok?) but I also used the Christmas sausages from Giggling Pig, and dried sage in the breadcrumbs. You’ll notice a proliferation of dried sage in this week’s recipes, for which I make no apologies.

As another nibble, see the Honey Mustard Chipolatas – these are self-explanatory.

Because I failed to get this round-up together sooner, and because it’s on the porky theme, I’m also chucking in this recipe for a Ginger and Cranberry Gammon. I’d hoped I’d have leftovers from the Christmas party but no luck – what I did get instead was a lot of very fragrant, gingery ham stock. Which had to be simmered with peas, shallots, a few leftover sprout tops and some herbs, then blended into a gorgeously restorative green soup. I’ve frozen a few portions for January.

Wishing those who celebrate a happy Christmas. I’ll be back in the New Year.

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