Ramsay-of-Carluke-Award-winning-sausagesWe are delighted to welcome guest writer, Simon Ruddlesdin to our team. Simon, a life long Leeds United supporter and enthusiastic allotment tenant who has not so much opted for the full on ‘Good Life’ but enjoys growing and eating his home grown produce and finding good value wherever possible. Over the next few editions we will follow Simon as he trawls through the county finding the best bangers in ‘Rate my sausage’. First up, Simpsons Butchers…   

Simpsons is a chain of butchers in Lincolnshire, and are part of the Q Guild – this is a real mark of excellence, and my dealings with them have so far confirmed that they are deserving members. I visited their Sleaford shop and was, as usual, impressed with the experience.

Unusually for a high street butcher Simpsons run their own rewards scheme, available for both in-store customers and for online shoppers. This is a great marketing idea to ensure their customers keep returning – however I think people probably make return visits due to the quality of produce on offer, and not just to top-up their Simpcard.

They have a functional website too, where you can order online for delivery anywhere in the UK. Have a look, but not before you finish reading this review – www.gsimpsonbutchers.co.uk

There are six lovely Simpsons stores dotted around, but this one is located inside Four Seasons Garden Centre at Silk Willoughby. Head out of the market town of Sleaford on London Road and after a mile or so you will find them on the right hand side. Don’t turn to the left or you’ll find yourself in Birdies, which claims to be a golf centre and not a “gentlemen’s club” but we shall never know the truth….

If you’re using SausNav use the following postcodes for their shops: Sleaford NG34 8NY, Lincoln LN2 4SX, South Hykeham LN6 9NT, Heckington NG34 9RW, Spalding PE11 1SG and Stamford PE9 4BB.

Stanwatch:
If you’re a fan of the men in white coats pottering around behind the scenes then you will love this place. There’s an almost constant buzz of activity behind the counter. Stans carrying freshly baked pastries hither and thither, stans topping up the professional looking chilled display cabinet, and a whole host of stans in the actual butchery area, which you will spot off to the right behind the counter.

squishFlavour:
These bangers are very herby, the mouth is filled with sagey flavour, almost (but not quite) too much. Did Stan the butcher cough when weighing out the herbs and adding them to the mix? The pork is light and sweet and definitely takes a supporting role. These sausages taste a million times better than some sludgy monstrosity from a supermarket.

Texture:
First thing to note is the skins – and how they are not like Amanda Holden’s lips. That is, they are not made of collagen. These natural sausage skins are a delight, there’s a lovely snap when you cut them and a nice resistance when you’re chewing. Take a look at the filling in the pictures and you’ll see that is quite fine and juicy – a little too fine to be perfect for us but still pretty good. We love the range of sizes we found in this offering from Simpsons, from the proverbial “blind cobbler’s thumb” right the way up to some large and chunky meat torpedoes. Good stuff, and proof that these are hand-made and not squirted out of an automated machine onto a conveyor belt.

Vital Statistics –
Average Weight: Uncooked 61 grams, cooked 52grams
Meat Content: 68 %
Value For Money: £3.69 for 8 sausages weighing 485 grams. £7.60 per kg and 46p per banger.
We rate this as very good value for money

See more from Simon at http://bangersandsausages.blogspot.com or on Twitter @RateMy Sausage