If you’re wondering why Her Outdoors hasn’t featured a lot this week, it’s because she’s been turning this:

chair before

Into this:

chair after

For a client. Not as easy as it looks, I would write – if it looked easy.

But last night she joined me for a mammoth sausage session (I should probably re-word that). I’ve written somewhere on this blog that you should never start making sausages at 6.30 in the evening. So at just after 6.25pm, I started mincing the meat. If you use a hand-turned machine and find yourself fighting with it, stripping it down and getting very upset, I’ve found the following tricks useful:

o Cut your meat into long strips, about 2 x 2 inches across

o Use a table knife to scrape away the meat at the front end every now and then and

o Reverse the direction of cranking (for a couple of turns) quite regularly

I also switched to the holey thing with the larger holes for the second bucket of meat, which seemed easier.

After a long while, we ended up with this:

mixes

There’s mixed sausage meat, unmixed, salami and chorizo. This is the chorizo:

chorizo

A light, late supper of sausage burger later, we mixed and processed all the sausage meat and hung it over the bath. This morning it looked like this (yes, that’s why there are nails in beams in old houses):

hanging sausages

After yet more washing up, I got back into the yurt at 25 seconds to midnight. (Several hours before I finished the first time we made sausages.)

I’ve just put all the sausages in bags in the freezer. Right now Her Outdoors is asking butchers for more, bigger skins for the salami and chorizo. I still have half a day of making lardons to fit in at some point. We have to wrap and hang the ham in the “tractor shed”. And we have enough leftover sausage mix for burgers over the next few days.

Pig Week, dear readers from around the world, is over. Which is a good job, because the weather’s turned cold and I need to re-stock the wood shed. Rain’s possible tomorrow and definitely forecast from Monday, so it’s time to cut wood.

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I know I said in an earlier post that I can attach the nozzle to the front of the sausage machine to speed up the whole process, but I think I should ignore that next time. I think I might find it easier – and less effort, and certainly less sweary – if I mince the meat first, then add the breadcrumbs, herbs etc, then put it back through the machine into the skins. I’ll let me know how this works out.

Also, I don’t think I should worry too much about stripping out the tendons at the hock ends of the legs. Any bits that look like a lot of work can go into a delicious slow-cooked, fall-apart-in-the-mouth curry. Or rillettes.

Oh yes – I should cut the flare fat away before leaving the pig overnight. Makes things a bit easier the next day.

I probably shouldn’t bother with the lean pork chunks – it makes for a fattier sausage mix. And while I’m on that point, I mustn’t forget to put some belly aside for the sausages. I know bacon is delicious but recipes are recipes. And get some mace next time!

10

If you’ve been counting the moons, you’ll know that our three formerly little pigs will soon be big enough to be become a selection of hams, roasting joints, salami, chorizo, bacon and anything else that takes our fancy.

Of course, we’ll be doing as much as we can ourselves, with only Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s “The River Cottage Cookbook” and “The River Cottage Family Cookbook”, and John Seymour’s “The New Complete Book of Self Sufficiency” for company.

Unless you count a bottomless glass of wine.

Or two.

(More if necessary.)

It’s a bit intimidating. Three pigs is a lot of meat. It’s got to last us as much of next year as possible without spoiling. And before the Wednesday before Hallowe’en, neither me nor Her Outdoors had ever even made so much as a sausage.

If you want to repeat our experience (and I wouldn’t recommend it, as you’ll see in a moment), this is what you do:

Buy a hand-cranked sausage-making machine from your nearest sausage-making machine retailer (passing on the motorised one which, at 200 euros, is four times more expensive and many more times likely to break).

Spend a long time washing what looks like engine grease off it, fix it to some wood and clamp it to a large farmhouse table (or similar) in your kitchen (or equivalent), thusly:


Mince 1kg (2.2lb) of boned shoulder and the same of pork belly freshly bought from your favourite butcher (who even sells you the sausage skins and laughs reassuringly when you tell him what you’re doing for the first time), using the attachment with the big holes:


Then mince again with the smaller-holed attachment.

Mix with breadcrumbs and herbs, à la recette (recipe):


Fry a quick pattie to taste (and find it’s bluddie delicious):


Put it back through the mincer, with the sausage attachment on now and the sausage skin carefully shimmied on (feeling a bit tired now – beginning to wonder if the one with the motor may have been a better idea) to create One Willy Wonka of a Stonker.

Spend a few minutes twisting The Enormous Sausage this way and that…


until your plate runneth over:


Relish the delight, awe and advanced orders heaped upon you by guests at your Halloe’en party.

Then meet an English butcher. During your conversation, realise that you can mix your diced pork with your breadcrumbs, herbs etc, BEFORE YOU PUT IT THROUGH THE MINCER THE FIRST TIME. Which means you can attach the sausage teat right at the start and do it All In One Go.

Seems obvious. But so does using a Gripple.