Anne Halson re-creates the classic sausage roll using Johnny's greek lamb
This idea can work anyway you would like. You can easily substitute ingredients for other sausages and overall flavour combinations. Make them a lunch size snack or canapé. If you have a particular sausage idea in mind, come and have a chat with Johnny at the Mediterranean Market - he's always keen to make something new!
Johnny Bath is our beloved butcher. He's a strong man with a ready smile. His exceptional butchery skills and his eagerness to create something new are fixtures of the Mediterranean Market's deli. When he's not spooling out some butchers twine to help a customer with their roast, or sharpening up his knives while chatting with a local about a sausage sizzle for their upcoming birthday party, he'll be dreaming up new sausage creations. It's part of his makeup - because Johnny's been making sausages, thousands of them, all over the world for years.
As a young South African - in a land where chicken is considered a vegetable - Johnny began his training alongside his brother-in-law at the local abattoir. The place gave him an appreciation for where the meat came from, who sold it, and how to produce the best cuts for his community. He went on to perfect his butchery skills working in the continents largest meat works, processing (among other things) over 200 sheep per week. The works taught him how to manage large scale production, but it lacked a direct connection with people and the opportunity to collaborate. Always looking for a challenge, Johnny jumped up and stepped in when his butchery school instructor sliced four of his fingers on the first day of training and taught the class how to break down a half steer himself. Even though the meat works tried to keep him on, his desire to see the world at large got the best of him.
Being a bit of an adventurer, and a sky diving instructor, Johnny travelled the world meeting inspiring people while also furthering his butchery skills. In Denmark he worked with the director of the country's premiere butchery school. He then hopped between Scandinavia and Israel for a few years before landing in what he considers to be the cherry of his travels - Queenstown, NZ. Johnny had been looking for something special and, like a lot of other people, feels he's found it here.
At the Market Johnny's right at home in the middle of a dynamic conversation between his suppliers and his customers. Like his days back at the abattoir, he has regular conversations with those supplying his lamb, beef and chicken. But the inventor in him also loves the chance to chat with the Market's other producers, Mondillo winery for instance, where Johnny got the idea to add their surplus Merlot grapes to his cracked pepper beef sausages.
A bloke who's always listening, always learning, he'll be discussing new ideas with his customers and taking on board their good suggestions - like adding local mussels to Angus beef, or blue cheese to a pork sausage. He loves being the creative agent in the middle, daily roaming the Market to gather a wide range of fresh supplies for the makings of his sausages, which have included:
• beef and mustard
• pork, apple and chive
• Merlot and cracked pepper
• beef and mussel
• dark chocolate and beef
• greek lamb
• Waitoa free range chicken
• pork chipolatas
• biltong and drywors
• preservative free and gluten free pork
All of these sausages use Johnny's secret herbs and spices and are made with natural pork or lamb casings. (If you have any special dietary needs, Johnny also has detailed print-outs listing every single ingredient for each sausage)
Johnny thrives on these creative connections, but when it comes to producing fresh sausages every day he's all business. His large hands quickly line the sausage maker with all natural casings and he deftly pumps just the right amount of ground meat through the machine, tying off each sausage like an origami master. He fills orders, passes out samples to curious newcomers, and comes up with even more ideas as tray after tray of lamb and mint or gluten free pork sausages fill the cabinet. And when it comes to cooking them, he knows exactly what to do: "Pop them in the oven at 180˚C for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and let the steam out. Close the door for another 10 minutes and they're perfect!" Sausages baked "Johnny-style" come out of the oven crispy on the outside, juicy and full of flavour on the inside - flavours Johnny's perfected with years of craft, beautiful combinations of the regions tastiest ingredients.
Next week our chef Anne Halson will remake a kiwi classic using Johnny's greek lamb sausages.
Coming soon, we're putting in a meat rack so Johnny can hang, age and butcher our own meat at the Market. Watch this space.
Nutritional advice from Kim Malcolm
Understanding what holds your sausage together.
When the quality of meat and poultry used to make a sausage is unquestionably the best, then the best choice of casing to hold it together is a natural one. Natural Casings are made in the same way today as our ancestors made them centuries ago. Animal intestines are naturally cleaned, then treated with salt to make them ready for use. Natural casings have a unique combination of tenderness and thinness so they shrink equally with the meat while cooking to give you a better tasting sausage. These casings have natural tiny pores that allow the meat to permeate the flavour throughout the sausage and also allow the sausage to breathe when resting on your plate before serving, which further enhances the flavour.
Synthetic Casings are a mix of highly chemical processed options originating from cowhide, collagen, and cellulose fiber. There is a lot of technology attached to the synthetic casings right now, which make them more edible and digestible, but it is the process to get them to that point that needs awareness. If you want the best for your body, make sure everything you put in it, casings and all, or as healthy as can be.
We love extraordinary food. And, we’ve found that a consistent marker of quality food is that it’s made by people who favor the wisdom of the past over industrialized farming that leaves a bad taste in our mouths. We’re always on the lookout for those who intelligently apply contemporary best practices while valuing proven organic processes.
Robin and Lois Greer of Retro Organics are our kind of people. For more than 20 years they’ve been perfecting their rich soil, their luxurious grass and their beautiful Jersey cows to create some of the best dairy we’ve ever tasted. Every certified organic litre of milk and yogurt that comes from their on-site facility, has decades of care, innovation and hard work behind it. A sampling of Retro’s dairy will make you say this is how milk used to taste; how it should taste!
Retro Organics runs 350 easy to manage, easy to love Jersey cows on their farm outside of Gore. Their fields run near Southland’s Mataura River, whose headwaters begin at end of Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu. The river is famous for it’s 150km of world-class trout fishing and ambles smoothly around the rolling hills that surround the Greer’s farm. Walking around the place, Robin tells us how his primary role is actually a soil farmer. He considers the ground a living thing and wants to maintain it’s life-generating biology instead of depleting all its goodness. He nourishes his fields with fish oils, dung beetles (the first to do so in NZ) and natural rock fertilizers to maintain soil health. Robin also keeps heavy equipment use to a minimum so farm machinery doesn’t compact the soil his worms work hard to aerate.
All this effort pays off when it comes to growing grass. Robin wants his Jerseys to have a wholesome and delicious diet, so he plants them a salad of eight different grasses! These include heirloom rye grasses, chicory and plantain herbs, two types of clover and sweet timothy. Grass diversity covers the cows nutritional needs and like many organic famers, Robin thinks it makes the cows happy to boot. This kind of biodiversity goes a long way towards explaining the sweet creamy flavour of Retro dairy. Cooperating with nature in this way, Robin simply allows his Jersey’s do what they do best.
Robin’s soil and grass combo act as the perfect foundation for Jerseys to produce extraordinary milk while maintaining a volume that keep’s Retro Organics competitive. Most dairy’s in NZ choose a larger Friesian cross breed because of the volume of milk they produce. Being the unconventional man he is, Robin farms the smaller Jerseys because even though they may produce less overall volume than the larger Friesian, a Jersey’s milk will have:
For Robin, the entire process of getting his dairy organically certificated was a kind of conversion. Both Robin and Lois lost parents to cancer as teenagers. After farming for some years, they saw an increasing connection between health and the food chain they were intimately involved with. They decided to take each piece of their farming practice and bring it back to nature; back, in many respects, to the way NZ dairy farmers would have operated 50 years ago. The Greer’s now have a strong commitment to extending the health benefits of organic dairy to the entire country.
It’s taken quite a few years, but Robin feels that Retro Organics’ farm now has a very healthy, sustainable system in place. And while borrowing farming techniques from the past, Robin keeps pushing the farming envelope. For instance, six years ago he built an onsite dairy processing facility to create his own yogurt and cheese. Retro’s milk runs through a pipe straight from the milking shed to the processing plant (which means they can deliver their milk to market the same day the cows produce it).
Another first for Robin was to introduce lactose free milk and yogurt to NZ. Retro Organics pioneered adding lactase to their milk so Kiwi’s with a lactose intolerance can digest and fully enjoy these rich dairy products. Thanks to the naturally rich milk produced by the Jersey’s, there’s also no need to add the sweeteners or thickeners most producers use. Retro makes a very yummy greek yoghurt flavoured with honey, raspberry, or orange & mango - but what’s really incredible is how deliciously sweet their plain greek yogurt tastes with no added sugars - just Jersey milk and natural cultures.
We wish everybody knew this. A lot of New Zealanders probably think that everything in the country is organic, and so getting Retro Organics into the average fridge has been a challenge for Robin. He really appreciates the Mediterranean Market’s focus on honest, quality foods and how they’ve promoted the cause over the years. He now hopes that as more Kiwi’s learn about organic food chains and the overall health benefit of great dairy, they’ll see the true cost / benefit ratio of milk and yogurt as they tasted back in the day.
Nutritional Advice from Kim Malcolm
Know where your milk and dairy products come from?
Healthy pastured cows eating a rich diversity of well-grown grasses and herbs produce good life giving dairy products. Organic Unhomogenised whole milk and dairy products have powerful anti-microbial properties that kill bad things in our bodies. They strengthen the immune system and build healthy gut walls while assisting in the assimilation of nutrients into the body. This kind of dairy product is a good saturated fat that increases metabolism and promotes weight loss.
Alternatively, the methods used to create homogenised milk changes the structure of the full goodness we get from having whole unhomogenised milk which our bodies find it harder to digest. Better to keep the milk in its most natural state, something Retro Organics excels at.
Lois Greer’s Papakura Intermediate School Pizza
When Lois Greer was a teenager, she learned to make this pizza at school. She’s been perfecting the basic recipe ever since using the award winning cheeses her husband Robin keeps coming up with.
for the dough
2 cups of flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp dry yeast
180 mils warm water
for the toppings
Retro Organics Mokoreta mozarella
bacon or prociouto
thinly sliced onion rings
cherry tomatoes sliced in half
Retro Organics Riverside feta
• Put half of the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, yeast and warm water. Beat for 300 strokes (or for about 4 minutes).
• Then add the other half of the flour and salt and mix until smooth.
• Cover and stand in a warm place for at least 10 minutes.
• Roll out and add the toppings in the order they’re listed above
• Bake at 200˚ C for 20 minutes or until the crust browns on the sides and is crispy on the bottom (cooking on a pizza stone in your oven, or placing the pizza on a preheated baking tray will improve the crispiness of the crust.
Anne Halson's Lamb Salad with Chermoula Dressing
While visiting Leelands Lamb last week, Sue French kindly gave us a few cuts of their thick flank mini roast to create some deliciousness with back at the Mediterranean Market. Our in-house chef Anne Halson (an expert in creating deliciousness), came up with this wonderful lamb salad. Marinading takes a bit of time and slow roasting may test your patience even further, but the tasty results are well worth it. Especially when using meat of this quality (see last weeks post for the story). Anne’s zesty Chermoula dressing adds a delicious finish - topping off the beautiful array of spring vegetables complementing the salad.
2 tbls olive oil
1/4 preserved lemon finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh origanum
2 cloves of garlic
Handful of capers
• Put all the ingredients in a pestle and mortar (or food processor) and crush / chop together coarsely.
• coat the lamb and marinade for at least one hour, or up to 2 days if you can.
Cooking the Mini Roast
• Bring lamb and marinade up to room temperature, or if marinating for a short time, leave at room temperature.
• Cook at 160'c for approximately 2 hours - allow to rest (10 minutes) and slice thinly for salad.
• Alternatively you could sear this and cook till rare - rest well (I suggest 15 to 30 minutes) and slice very thinly for salad (as shown below).
For the salad
Use a mix of your favourite seasonal greens and either steamed, raw or and roasted veg (which you can cook the lamb - either roast or char grilled). For added interest add some feta and pistachios or almonds
1 cup parsley
1 cup coriander
2 cloves of garlic
Zest and rind of one lemon
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
• Put into food processor bowl
• Blend and slowly add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of lightly flavoured oil.
Nutritional Advice from Kim Malcolm
Lamb is rich in protein. You and I are literally made of protein from our bones to our muscles, veins, skin, hair, and nails. Our major organs, the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and lungs depend on it because they are built of tissue made of proteins.
Lamb provides you with a complete protein, meaning your body gets all the essential amino acids it needs for optimal health with the addition of iron and B12. Additionally it’s a good source of zinc, a mineral that enables you to smell, taste, see well and helps support the reproductive system.
Naturally raised Lamb will also provide you with essential Saturated Fat. Without this your brain, immune system or your life giving liver do not function to the best that they can.
Eating pasture fed lamb that grazes on rich grassy fields with natural rock fertilisers means ‘health to you’. Because of the diligence of Leelands Lamb you are ensured of getting nutrient dense meat that holds all it’s goodness from pasture to plate.
Who we are
This blog is written by Patrick Dodson and is a collaborative effort from the entire Raeward Fresh team of purchasers, chefs, nutritionists, butchers, grocers, baristas and other food creatives.
Crystal Gardens Lettuce
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