Dark evenings and chilly days are finally upon us, and my thoughts have turned to warming, hearty food. Did you, like us, have sausages on bonfire night? It is the most popular time of year for sausages and there is even a National Sausage Week to celebrate! Independent butchers pride themselves on their home-made bangers and you can buy excellent ones from independents A&C Meats, John Pender and Jelley’s Meats.
But there is a new local sausage-maker I want to tell you about, who makes her delicious range of sausages at home, by hand, using local and seasonal ingredients. Milly’s Kitchen opened for business in July and I met owner Emily King at the St Albans and Harpenden Food & Drink Festival to hear how she is getting on.
Emily makes all the sausages herself, using free-range meat from Foxholes Farm in Hertford (you may know them from the local farmer’s markets) and Farrowby Farm in Hinxworth (the kitchen has been awarded a five-star hygiene rating). As well as free-range pork, Emily’s sausage varieties use beef, lamb and venison, when in season. The recipes reflect the Hertfordshire heritage of the ingredients and I particularly enjoyed The Harpenden, which is a beef and lamb sausage flavoured with Wobbly Bottom sheep’s cheese, a little garlic and red wine. The Arderley sausage is made with venison, red wine and pear but is only available for a short while until venison season is over in February. The Hadley is a flavour-packed pork sausage, made with smoked bacon, ale, mustard and cheddar, and the Tewin includes Harissa and roasted red peppers. I was impressed to see that Emily has managed to source red wine from the UK, Lychgate from the Bolney Estate in West Sussex, which she uses in the Harpenden and Arderley recipes.
As the sausages are not made with bread or husk, the texture is slightly crumblier than many sausages you can buy and you can see when you cut into them that the meat content is very high. They cost more than supermarket sausages (£5 for six) but the quality and density of the meat is evident. I don’t think you can buy venison and beef sausages easily elsewhere.
The sausages need careful cooking so as not to fall apart, and we cooked ours in the oven for 25 minutes and they cooked through perfectly. We ate the Harissa and roasted red pepper sausages with couscous and roast vegetables but I think the others would be delicious just with good old mash. Emily has served The Harpenden with pasta, tomatoes and anchovies, which sounds delicious.
At the moment you need to buy the sausages through Emily’s website www.millyskitchen.co.uk, call her on 07734 947498 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Emily is waiting for a space at the St Albans Farmer’s Market but she is offering free local delivery if you buy two packets. The sausages are vacuum-packed and wrapped in WoolCool packaging so they will arrive safely and will last for 7 days from delivery. Thay would make a rather funky present for someone! I think Milly’s Kitchen would be hugely popular at the local markets so I do hope she gets a stall soon. Emily has received enquiries from local pubs and restaurants too; I can imagine these would be perfect in a cosy pub this winter.