Tag Archives: Italian

Summer sausage

Xmas cupcakes

Hi Tony.

Ah, ok, so it’s about 2 months since the last blog. My fault! I know I wanted to. I intended to, but stuff got in the way. The festive season for one. Speaking of which, happy new year!

So, we ended up having a quiet Christmas. No travelling this year, just time to catch up on overdue things and spend a little time getting fit and losing the “post-wedding/honeymoon, I ate too much good food” extra weight.

Despite the promise of summer, Melbourne has had a mixed bag of weather. Only some of which has been BBQ worthy. Not letting some rain and thunderstorms dent my enthusiasm, I’ve made another batch of sausages. Every batch seems to get a little better. Or more to the point, I seem to learn a little more.

Thai fixings

I thought back to when we made a batch of Thai chicken sausages and thought I had better give that another crack. Here’s something I learnt this time…mincing chicken in a domestic style mincer…doesn’t work for sh*t. Not sure if you will detect any frustration there, but there was plenty! Tip for young players…buy minced chicken!

Ok, another thing I learned. I bought some collagen casings from my butcher about 9 months ago and kept them in the fridge. Who would have guessed, but they dried out a little much and became fragile. So I had to adapt. I figured out a way to still use them (winning)! Easy as it turns out, simply fill them to ½ to ¾ what you would normally do and after a few mins the mix will soften the casing enough that you can squeeze the mix down further and properly fill the casing. Eh, voile!

Thai chicken sausages

So here’s what I made this time:

  • Pork, sage, apple and brandy;
  • Trusty Italian (pork, sherry, fennel seeds and parsley);
  • Pork, dried apricot, pistachio and saffron; and
  • Thai style chicken (chicken, ginger, garlic, chilli, fresh turmeric, lemongrass, kafir lime and coriander).

Italian sausages

The favourite? The Thai chicken. Pity I can’t do it anymore, but chicken, roast garlic and aged cheddar is pretty tasty too.

I really need to write down the quantities I use as I do the typical thing and play each by ear. I got the chicken and the Italian ones right, but more apple and brandy is needed and heaps more saffron.

All in all, that is about 6.5-7kgs of sausages. Freezer is full again!

Home made

Have you tried out your mincing/sausage machine yet? I would think with the abundance of interesting flavours you can get to, there would be some pretty fun options? I’m keen to try some duck based ones. The extra fat in the duck would help them hold up nicely I would think.

Don’t forget, get the leanest pork you can find and then add about 25% by weight of pork backfat. Even add some of that to the chicken sausages. Any less than that and the sausages dry out too much when you cook them. Oh, and I know I am preaching to the converted, but only ever BBQ them and on low heat. Slow is best.


It’s Thailand FFS – try some local food


Cold weather? It’s all yours, though a flying trip to Queenstown in August is bound to be somewhat chillier than I’ve got now. I’m hoping there will be lamb ragù on the menu. Will keep you posted.

We were passing by and stopped at The Library on Chaweng Saturday for a meal by the beach. It’s not the view we have, or want really, but interesting to see every now and then. When the megayachts come in (it’s the one in the background, below, you may just be able to see it behind the longtail boat) you know it’s the end of the neighbourhood.


There are so many beautiful places to anchor around Samui. I wonder why you’d choose Chaweng? Unless you’re desperate to be seen. Sadly, it’s this sort of tourist the place attracts these days.

There’s a story being told in that picture that is playing out around the island too. No sooner do I mention Khun Play’s seafood fried rice  on the beach than the pace gets taken over by a bunch of Italians who have set up a pizza oven.

Now I like pizza, don’t get me wrong, but in my local Thai village it’s starting to get hard to find Thai food. There’s something deeply, horribly wrong with that. It hasn’t quite happened on our island yet, the one loser French restaurateur notwithstanding. I hope we can resist any further incursions.

But really, it’s Thailand FFS – why don’t you try some local food? Why travel all the way from Europe for what is bound to be a second-rate pizza? What’s wrong with people? Ah well, I did once see a bunch of Singaporeans off to a Chinese restaurant in Rome (I went elsewhere for pizza. ‘When in Rome’, goes the saying) so it cuts both ways.

Naturally, the menu at The Library does have some local dishes, though they’re fancy versions thereof. A pad Thai goong and a khao pad talay (that’s a seafood fried rice – just displaying my superior Thai language skills), were actually pretty good, and not watered-down too much on the spice for those sensitive European palates. Shame the beer is served in flat glasses.

Pad thai

I fear this is the future though. Unless I want French or Italian I’m going to have to go to fancy restaurants in Samui to get a local meal. At least they’re available somewhere. I do wonder why people bother travelling at all if all they want to do is replicate home though. If they’re not willing to actually eat the local food as a bare minimum of experiencing the place what are they gaining by travelling at all?  They could do us all a favour, cut their carbon emissions and make Samui more beautiful to boot if they just stayed at home.