Ever since we first moved into this County (from Kent), nearly three years ago, I've had it in mind to find a local butcher to use regularly instead of keep buying sub-standard meat from the supermarket.
Up until now, this hasn't managed to happen (for one reason or another). However, this morning we visited the butcher that Chef uses at work - who just happens to be en-route to Asda.
We caught Spring Fields Butchers on the Herbert Avenue, Parkstone, Poole, before they'd managed to get their complete display out into the cabinets, but oh golly, what mouthwatering goodies they had already on display. Beautiful dark red Sirloin steaks, Wild Boar sausages, lamb shanks, plus your regular mince, chicken breasts etc.
I was particularly after two lamb's kidneys to go in the Lancashire Hotpot we're having on Sunday and was fairly gobsmacked to be charged 35p for them both. I'd been envisaging paying a lot more than that! While we were there, we indulged in four of their pork sausages - as the worth of a butcher can often be found in his sausages!
Having got them home and unwrapped them, immediately you could smell that they were different to supermarket sausages. They smelled lovely - all herby and peppery and porky. Better than a supermarket sausage - which generally smells of nothing.
When cooked, they were even better - although hubby had a few areas of disappointment in them. I loved their crisp skins and the flavour that was somewhere between pork sausage and pork sausagemeat stuffing with a lovely initial hit of saltiness. I also liked that they kept their shape and didn't shrink under heat. Hubby agreed with me, except was disappointed that their texture was slightly pappy (he was hoping they'd be coarser than that) and suspected that the saltiness hid the fact that they didn't taste all that porky. However, we were both agreed that for the extra 30p or so for 8 - over a supermarket special offer sausage - they were infinitely better quality and well worth the extra.
I'm hoping that they'll let me have a copy of their full price list, which would make menu planning so much easier. I'll be able to use cheaper cuts of meat which just aren't available in supermarkets and be able to plan it all out at home, using their price list, before ringing them up on a Monday, to order for Tuesday's collection. Fingers crossed they'll do that!