I've previously extolled the virtues of Sunnyside Home Farm which is only a few miles away from me in Maryculter, Aberdeenshire. I was delighted to spot on their Facebook page a couple of weeks ago that they had both Goose Eggs and fresh Mangalitza pork sausages on sale. We procured three packs of the beautiful meaty, moist, gluten-free, free range sausages and the only three remaining goose eggs.
The goose eggs were huge and oh so pretty. I'm a fan of duck eggs but this was my first try of goose. Lager eggcups and huge soldiers required for these bad boys. Sometimes things are just meant to be and on a charity shop rummage I came across the hugest egg coddler I have ever seen. It had to be purchased to add to my kitchenalia collection. £8 for all three was a fantastic bargain. Egg number one was duly coddled.
The shells of the goose eggs are much harder than those of hens and require a pretty hefty thump to crack. The outside may not be the proverbial golden goose egg but the yolk contained within is most definitely pure gold.. They have a noticeably higher yolk-to-white ratio than chicken eggs and the overall flavour is rich, creamy and unctuous. Egg two filled the whole frying pan whilst egg three was scrambled to perfection.
Now for the sausages. The first pack was simply grilled and devoured alongside egg and chips. Comfort food at its best. I decided to do something in the slow cooker with the second pack and was inspired by the Spicy theme of the Slow Cooked Challenge for March. This isn't a full on hot hot hot recipe by any means but the subtle smokiness of the paprika is truly wonderful and works really well with the pork and beans. Some jovial twitter chat about a name for the dish led to the Ecosse-oulet moniker.
Ecosse-oulet - A Scottish Cassoulet
6 Large and Meaty Pork Sausages
200g Streaky Bacon
400g Tin of Fava Beans (I used Hodmedod's British Fava Beans)
395g Tin Red Kidney Beans in Chilli Sauce
1 Pork Stock Cube made up to 250ml
1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed.
1 Tsp Saison "All in a Stew" Slowcook Seasoning (or mixed herbs)
Wrap the sausages, kilted style, in 6 rashers of the streaky bacon and place in the bottom of the slow cooker crock pot.
Drain the fava beans and add to the slow cooker along with the kidney beans in chilli sauce, smoked paprika, crushed garlic and herbs.
Chop up the remaining bacon and add along with the stock.
Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
Serve with crusty bread to soak up the juices and soured cream sprinkled with smoked paprika.
The saying goes that "you can eat all of a pig except the squeal". I was about to put this to the test. A friend had mentioned a fantastic recipe utilising pigs cheeks. These aren't the kind of thing you see in the supermarket so I asked Sharon and Kevin at Sunnyside if I could get some from their piggies. They looked absolutely amazing when I prepped them ready to be marinated and slow cooked. The fantastic marbling was a clear sign of how melt in the mouth they would ultimately be.
The recipe I'd been recommended was for Chinese Style Pig Cheek Baps. This came with high praise from my friend and Foodie Quine branding guru Mimi Hammill. My end dish was a rather loose interpretation of the recipe as I modified it to what I had to hand. I did however follow the advice not to scrimp on the marinating and cooking times. The quantities and ingredients and timings I used are listed below.
ORIENTAL PULLED PIGS CHEEKS
my version of North 19's Chinese Style Pig Cheek recipe
750g Pork Cheeks (that was the weight of my 12 cheeks)
3 Tsp Lazy Ginger
1 Red Chilli, seeds removed and finely diced
2 Star Anise
2 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce (I used an awesome premium dark soya sauce from KWH inSingapore)
4 Tbsp Gin (Sacrilege I know but I had neither Shaoxing Wine nor Sherry!)
50g Demerara Sugar
I let my cheeks marinate overnight and they had close to 24 hours in total, cooking time was almost 5 hours and the smell emitting from the oven throughout was amazing. The meat completely fell to pieces when it came to pulling the cheeks apart. I omitted to properly read the second part of the recipe on North 19 so missed the trick of reducing the sauce. The meat was dark, sticky, melt in the mouth tender and oh so tasty. I reckon pretty much any combination of oriental spices would work well for this dish. I'll definitely be first in line for Pig Cheeks next time there are some available at Sunnyside.