Savoury Lorne Sausage

Well, Lorne Sausage (or square sausage, if you like) is a staple of the Scottish breakfast and it’s particularly awesome. This is my take on it, including a sage & onion mix and basic crumb coating that my local butcher used to add when I was a wean 🙂


  • 750g minced (ground) pork & beef – 20-30% fat. Equal parts pork & beef.
  • 150g pinhead rusk. You can buy this by the kilogram on Amazon for the square-root of hee-haw. You could also make your own breadcrumbs, it’s just a double baked biscuit of flour, water and a little raising agent, whizzed up.
  • 200g chilled water.
  • 2 tsp salt.
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg.
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.
  • 1 tbsp onion granules (you can vary to taste).
  • 1 tbsp dried sage (you can vary to taste).
  • 1 egg and a little milk for an eggy wash.
  • Crumb coating – ruskoline is good, but you can make your own breadcrumbs from cold toast if you like.


Mix all the herbs, spices and salt together with the meat in a large bowl. Try and get it as even and broken down as possible. A food processor can help here.

Mix in the water and work it through to make a horrible sticky gooey mess.

Now mix in all the rusk, again getting it as uniform as possible.

Line a bread tin with clingfilm (don’t skip this – trust me) and pack the mixture in tightly. Leave for 24 hours to set. The rusk will absorb all of the liquid and bind everything together.

When it’s set, pop it out and slice into 1 cm slices with a sharp knife.

Make up your eggy wash and coat each slice then dredge in the ruskoline to coat.

Fry  or cook under the grill and serve on (preferably) a well-fired (i.e. burned) morning roll 🙂

Share Button


imageI think this is more of an Italian-American dish that straight Italian – someone who knows will no doubt tell me. It’s similar to a Lasagne, but without the need to make two sauces. It’s cheap, it goes a long way and it’s delicious.

So, here’s what’s needed.

  • 500g hot Italian sausage (mix together 500g pork mince, 1 tbsp ground fennel seeds, 1tsp salt, 1tsp ground black pepper, 1 tbsp good balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp chilli flakes).
  • A little extra virgin olive oil for frying.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carton of passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • imageEither 250g grated mozzarella or 125g grated mozzarella and 125 sliced provolone. Provolone is getting kinda hard to find in the UK, hence the option.
  • 1 carton of sour cream – usually about 200ml
  • 400g dried Rigatoni or Ziti (big tubes) pasta. Offering Rigatoni as a substitute here as Ziti has gone the same way os provolone in the UK.
  • Salt for seasoning.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees / Gas Mark 5.

First up, we’re going to make the ragu. Lightly brown the sausage in a little olive oil. Add in the onions and garlic, stirring frequently over a medium heat and taking care not to burn the garlic, until the onion is softened.

Add the balsamic vinegar, basil and oregano and continue to stir for a minute or two until the hissing from the vinegar dies down a bit.

Add the tomato puree and mix in well, then add the tin of tomatoes, the passata, and the brown sugar.
Bring all this up to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for around 30 minutes. You want the tomato cooked and the whole thing reduced a little. You’ll see from the surface when the tomato is cooked as the oil will begin to separate a little and it’ll go a lovely glossy dark red.

While this is simmering, drop the pasta into a large pot of boiling salted water (please, no oil in there) and cook for around 8 minutes until al dente.

While that is simmering, butter the insides of a large casserole dish.

Once the sauce is ready, we want to start constructing the Ziti. First off, put a layer of half of the pasta in the bottom of the casserole dish.

If you’re using provolone, layer all of it on top of the pasta, otherwise layer half of the mozzarella and a quarter of the parmesan.

Top this with all of the soured cream and spread it over with a knife.

Next, layer on half of the ragu.

Next is a layer of the remainder of the pasta.

Then the other half of the ragu.

Finally, add the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.

Bake uncovered in the centre of the oven until either the cheesy is all melty and brown or until you can’t take the smell any longer and need to devour it.

Note: this makes enough food to feed four or five people easily. As an alternative to doing the whole lot in a single big dish, you can construct individual servings in little foil trays and freeze before cooking.


Share Button

Basic Italian Sausage

This is a lightly spiced sausage meat which works great for any red meat-based Italian food (your lasagnes, bolognese and what have you) as well as for stuffing into skins if you’re so inclined. A word about the ground pork / port mince first, though; if you’re going to use a packet from the supermarket, make sure there’s at least 20% fat content or you’ll have rubbery tasteless yuk at the end. If you’re mincing your own, I’d recommend a cut of pork shoulder (skin off, obviously) as it has the best fat:meat ratio.

Anyhoo – here’s what you’ll need for 500 grams of basic Italian sausage.

  • 500g minced/ground pork
  • 2 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp good quality sea salt (you know my preferences there)
  • 1 tsp good balsamic vinegar

Method: mix it all together, leave for an hour or two to marinade. Use. 🙂

Some optional extras – you can make sweet, hot, smokey, all kinds of varieties by adding a teaspoon of chilli flakes, smoked paprika, brown sugar, etc. Obviously not all at once though. Although…

Share Button

Monster Hunter Generations (3DS)


Look! I’m not Bague! I’m Chewbury! And I’m a bloke! This is a direct result of the Rath Heart Armour making me look like a cupcake in MH4U.

Oh Lordy! It’s a new Monster Hunter game. And I haven’t even reached G-rank on MH4U yet! Well, that’s embarrassing! Anyway, all is not lost! Just like MH4U played sufficiently differently to MH3U that it didn’t supplant the previous version, MHGen does the same thing – in spades. The jumpy mechanics introduced in 4U are still there, but there’s a whole new “Styles” system which allows you to switch up both your play style and the special abilities that style gives you, depending on the fight you’re doing.

For example, this time round I’m using the switch-axe as my main weapon. I’m also using the ‘Aerial’ style rather a lot. This basically adds a little jump to my dodge, meaning I can vault off monsters (which makes special attacks fun and mounting easy). The trade off is that I can only select one special move and my combo finishes can only be triggered while part of an aerial chain. Other styles allow you to select up to three special moves and provide a wide range of defensive and offensive options.

On top of these new mechanics, there’s a buttload of new areas and new monsters as well as a VAST array of villages, areas and monsters from earlier editions, right the way back to Monster Hunter 1. I think I could probably play this one forever.


Share Button

British Indian Restaurant style base curry gravy

Hello all. So, I’ve been experimenting a lot with curry cooking the way it’s done in British Indian Restaurants. These dishes have a unique taste and texture of their own, distinct from traditional Indian and Pakistani cooking. I expect this has come about from a requirement to rapidly produce a wide range of dishes in as short a time as possible.

Using this “base gravy” as a stock allows you to produce a huge variety of curries just by changing the ingredients in the basic masala (spice mix) you start with. Anyhoo, here’s how the gravy is put together.

First bit:

  • 1.5kg brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • 100-125g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • Half of a large green pepper, roughly chopped.
  • 100g potato, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • 80g ginger & garlic paste.
  • 1.5 tsp salt.

In a large pan (a pressure cooker works well – you’ll need a minimum of 5 litres), heat 200ml oil on a medium high heat. Add all of the above to the oil and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover and turn down low. The aim here is to simmer gently for an hour, until everything starts to disintegrate. Stick your nose in it – it should have a gentle sweet smell.

Second bit:

Turn the heat up to medium and add:

  • 2 tablespoons of mix powder
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala

Cook in the spices for a minute or so, stirring constantly to make sure they don’t burn. Next add:

  • 160g double concentrated tomato puree
  • 40g creamed coconut block (or 80ml coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery or brown sugar
  • 2 litres of water

Bring to the boil then put the cover back on and turn down to low. Simmer for about an hour. 15 minutes before the end, add a handful (a generous one, in my opinion) of chopped coriander stalks. About 50g. Or the stalks and the leaves. Whatever, but DEFINITELY the stalks – that’s where the flavour is.

You have an immersion “gravy gun” style blender, yes? Stick it in there and blend until it’s as smooth as you can get it.

You now want to simmer for another 30 minutes. Yes, I know this is a long-ass recipe (2.5 hours cooking so far, never mind the prep), but it freezes well and you’re making enough for a good dozen curries.

This base gravy is double concentrated. Before use, you’ll want to dilute it a bit. I generally portion it up as is in takeaway sized tubs. When it’s time to use, I add another takeaway tub of water to the gravy to thin it. This generally makes two single portions of curry.





Share Button

Indian Restaurant style “Mix Powder”

So, in most of the BIR style curry recipes I make, I use what’s called a “mix powder”. This is just a blend of the spices common to just about every British style curry there is. It’s easy. Just punt the following spices into a jar, shake ’em up, and you have mix powder.

  • 4 tablespoons of a GOOD QUALITY MILD curry powder. I’m not talking Schwartz or your supermarket’s own brand. Those are SHIT QUALITY MILD curry powders. If you need a recommendation, Al Noor Pakistani bassar curry masala is an excellent choice.
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon good quality garam masala. You can make your own – in fact I recommend you do – but if you don’t want the faff, the East End branded one is pretty good.

And that’s it.

Share Button

Rye Wit

So, those lovely, lovely gentlemen at Basic Brewing Radio recently produced a recipe for a session Witbier called Rye Wit. It’s basically a low alcohol and low calorie Witbier comprised of 75% wheat malt and 25% rye malt, with the majority of the hop flavour and aroma coming from a late addition of citra. It sounded kinda intriguing to me as witbier’s pretty much my standard summer brew.

Given the sticky nature of wheat and rye, I thought I’d add some rice hulls as I’d be brewing in the Grainfather, rather than with Basic Brewing’s recommended BIAB method. Wasn’t sure how it was going to go, given the tiny volume of mash water, but the rice hulls certainly seemed to do the trick. I did up the grain bill a little to try and compensate for the reduction in efficiency of not doing a brew-in-a-bag setup. The recipe is:


  • 1,500g Wheat Malt
  • 500g Rye Malt
  • 90g Rice Hulls

I performed a 60 Minute mash at 65 degrees in 9.5 litres of water. I calculated the strike temperature at 72 degrees but this was a little high as the grain addition only took it down to 68 degrees. Maybe 70 degrees next time.

I sparged with 19 litres of water at 75 degrees to give me a pre-boil volume of 28 litres. The sparge went absolutely fine, thanks to the rice hulls. A little bit of encouragement towards the end by pressing down the top-plate of the grain basket left me with a pretty dry grain bed. The Grainfather was recirculating what looked like crystal clear wort.

For the boil, we have:

  • 18g Fuggles at 60 minutes
  • 5g Irish Moss at 15 minutes
  • 28g Citra at flameout with a 20 minute steep. I don’t intend to dry hop.

Note: thanks to our lovely soft Scottish water, I’m not doing any water treatment other than dropping in a camden tablet to get rid of the chlorine.

Anyhoo, once the boil was complete, the original gravity worked out at 1.024 – bang on target. Assuming a final gravity of 1.008 (time will tell), that would produce a very quaffable 2.2% abv – a perfect ‘barbecue beer’. I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out. In 25 years of brewing, I haven’t brewed with rye before so it’s all very exciting 🙂

Share Button

The List of Shame

It’s woefully out of date. I have actually played some things, but I’ve also been evil and added (many) more. I’m going to sit down tonight and update it, then dress in sackcloth and ashes for a month and actually stick to it. 2015 was insane for gaming.

Share Button

Robinwood Best Bitter (clone)

So, I’ve finally tracked down what appears to be a fairly accurate reproduction of one of my all-time favourite beers. It was a plain ol’ Best Bitter made by a brewery called Robinwood Brewery. They operated for a fairly brief amount of time, between 1988 and 1994, but produced what I believe is the best session bitter I’ve ever had.

I haven’t tried this recipe yet – it’s next up on my brew-days schedule, so I’ll report back with the results, but the recipe is:

4.75kg Maris Otter Pale Malt

250g Crystal Malt

10g Chocolate Malt

Straightforward mash profile – 60 minutes at 67 degrees, followed by a mashout and sparge at 77 degrees.

Next up is a 75 minute boil with 40g of Challenger hops added at 75m and 15g Challenger hops added in the last 15 minutes.

Yeast used will be a Safale S-04 English ale yeast.

Share Button

Fallout 4

fallout4_ps4_boxfront-ee-01_1433339891Readers of this blog will most likely be aware that this came out 🙂 It’s pretty much the only thing I’ve been playing of late, on account of it being fecking great. There’s been a bit of mud slinging about it (mainly from Kotaku), so I thought I’d mention a few of the gripes along with my response to them;

  • “It doesn’t look any better than Fallout 3.”  I suspect anyone claiming this hasn’t played Fallout 3 recently and are relying on memory.
  • “The gameplay is too much like Fallout 3.” Yes. That’s because it’s Fallout 4. People love Fallout 3 and want more of it. So Fallout 4 is more of it. If it was different, it wouldn’t be. I’m kinda amazed that I feel the need to explain this.
  • “It’s really buggy.” An easy one; No, it’s not. Granted I’m only 40 hours in, but I haven’t experienced anything other than the occasional oddity (something’s arm clipping through a door – that kind of thing. The kind of thing you get in practically every big game). No frame rate issues, not save-eating crashes. No crashes at all, in fact.

But moaning aside, how is the game? Magnificent – it’s just as vast, engrossing and addictive as its forbears and it’s currently eating all of my spare time. I’m hoping it’ll keep me going until No Man’s Sky appears.

Share Button
Return top

Random Fact

Two wrongs don't make a right, but two Wrights did once make an aeroplane. Unless you're talking integer maths where two wrongs DO actually make a right. Also, three lefts make a right.