I cooked some Sainsury’s Taste the Difference Ultimate outdoor reared pork sausages.

They were quite nice, meaty, not too salty and didn’t go bang!

Something different for breakfast

I do like a cooked breakfast now and again. I also like to vary what I have. I saw Traditional Hogs Pudding in my local supermarket and thought, this is similar but different.

The instructions indicate the best way to cook it is slice it and grill, which I did. It was an interesting taste and texture, reminded me of the inside of a sausage roll.

Nice for a change.

Chicken with Lentils

This is my simple and quick way of cooking a wonderful French peasant style dish of chicken, pork, sausage and lentils.

Place some chicken thighs and drumsticks in a roasting pan, add some chunks of pork belly. You could use a jointed chicken if you wanted. Drizzle with olive oil and place in a hot oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes.

Cook some large pork sausages in the oven, as these take less time, put them in a little later.

In a large pan, soften some pancetta, diced onions and peppers. Once soft, add a knob of butter and some flour, stir well. Now add herbs, wine and stock. Cook for about ten minutes.

In a hot frying pan, cook some chopped mushrooms.

Prepare the dish.

Take the cooked liquid, add the roast chicken and pork. Slice the sauages and add them and the mushrooms to the pan. I used tinned Puy Lentils, but you could use cooked lentils or a tin of another kind. Mix well and heat through.

Serve with crusty bread.

Breakfast at Bloomsbury

I was recently up in London and stayed at the Ambassadors Hotel in Bloomsbury. I generally dislike having breakfast in hotels, as more often than not they are overpriced and though have extensive choice are not really value for money. For example a month or two back I stayed at the Thistle Barbican Hotel and breakfast (though included in my room rate) would have cost you £15.95. For that you would have to queue up unless you got up really early. Having sat down in the Thistle, if you were lucky, the waiting staff would bring you some coffee and toast. Then it was self-service for the cooked breakfast, which was not very inspiring.

So I was well pleased with breakfast at the Ambassadors Hotel in Bloomsbury. It was about the same price as the Thistle, but unlike that place, at the Ambassadors they served you your cooked breakfast at the table, and what an excellent cooked breakfast it was.


Beautifully served, it consisted of an excellent meaty sausage, some very nice grilled bacon, a small bowl of baked beans, grilled (and skinned) tomato, mushroom, bubble and squeak, black pudding and egg. You had a choice of eggs (chicken or duck) and cooked to your liking, I had a poached duck’s egg. It was also garnished with lettuce, not sure about the lettuce.

There was quite a choice of other cooked items as well, such as boiled eggs and kippers.

Along with the cooked breakfast, there was also a (self-service) selection of toast, bread products such as croissant and panettone, fruit, yoghurt, juice, cold meats, cheese and smoked fish.

Overall I was well impressed and would recommend the breakfast, though still not sure about the lettuce.

Don’t eat the pork!

The pork crisis in Ireland is hitting headlines all over the UK.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is currently saying

Pork from the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland should not be eaten at the moment due to contamination fears.


One of my favourite foods at the moment are Paul Rankin’s Irish Pork Sausages which are made in Ballymena, Northern Ireland by Doherty & Gray Limited.

How do I know this I looked at the packaging and this has the physical and web address on it.

Paul Rankin’s Irish sausages

No update or advice on their website about their products. If you are going to have a website, ensure that you use it to let us consumers know what is happening.

So how can Waitrose say:

Waitrose has withdrawn two sausage lines sold under Northern Irish celebrity chef Paul Rankin’s brand as a precaution, although a spokeswoman for the supermarket stressed that the origin of the meat was still being checked.

I would have thought it was obviously Northern Ireland, though I am guessing that this is not 100% certain it is Irish pork, I would hope that it was otherwise I am feeling I have been misled in buying the product – dioxin contamination aside.

Doherty & Gray should in my opinion at least post something to their website to let consumers know what is happening. I am seeing a large number of people visit this blog who have concerns, but I am in the same boat as them.

Disappointed to also see that the online arm of Waitrose, Ocado is still “selling” the Rankin sausages on their website.

No idea if you actually order them that they would deliver them.

Like others who have commented on my blog, I have recently eaten Paul Rankin’s sausages (just yesterday) and my family and I eat them on a regular basis. Despite the FSA assurance that the “risk” is slight, it is still a risk. If it isn’t a risk why are they now saying don’t eat the pork!

Irish pork recalled

BBC reports on possible pork contamination:

All pork products made in the Irish Republic since September have been recalled over fears they are contaminated with a toxic substance.

The action was taken after dioxins were found in slaughtered pigs thought to have eaten contaminated feed.

Tests showed some pork products contained up to 200 times more dioxins than the recognised safety limit.

Why am I concerned?

Well I do like Paul Rankin’s Irish Pork Sausages.

Chicken and Irish Sausages

Well I mentioned I had purchased Paul Rankin’s Irish Pork Sausages again.

This time I roasted them in the oven with chicken, red pepper, mushrooms and pancetta.

Chicken and Irish Sausages

I served it with a lemon risotto.

Ooh nice sausages

I seem to have been buying the same sausages for ages, so the other day seeing Paul Rankin’s Irish pork sausages on the shelf the other day, decided, oh lets try them.

Paul Rankin’s Irish sausages

I was slightly hesitant as sometimes you wonder if you are paying more for the “name” than the quality of the ingredients. I did wonder if I would get cheap salty tasting sausages which though made with “succulent cuts of pork” was actually made with cheap succulent cuts of pork!

However I did remember that I use the buy Sainsburys Taste the Difference steak which was endorsed by Jamie Oliver at one point and I really could taste the difference!

So what about Paul Rankin’s sausages?

Well they cooked perfectly with very little shrinkage or water loss. They had a good texture and tasted really good. Sometimes good quality sausages can be very salty, so all you can taste is salt, with these I could taste the pork.

I will certainly be buying these again.

Merguez sausages

One of my favourite sausages is the merguez sausage.

This is a North African spicy lamb and beef sausage that is really nice and meaty with a hot and spicy taste.

Merguez sausages

Merguez is made with lamb or beef, and flavoured with a wide range of spices, such as sumac for tartness, and paprika, cayenne, or harissa, a hot chilli paste that gives it a red colour.

I have had Merguez sausages in Cafe Rouge and have had trouble finding them for sale in my local suppliers.

However was pleased to find them in Taste.

Just grilled they were delicious.