Every time I drive to the northern Lakes or Scotland I make it my business to stop off at the wonderful Westmorland services Farm Shop on the M6 at Tebay. This is foodie nirvana, and a shining beacon of inspiration in a landscape of motorway mediocrity. My understanding is that this is the only independent family-owned services on the motorways in the UK: the landowners allowed the M6 to be extended north through their land, but only on the condition of being granted the right to operate services there. Well, good for them… travellers like us get to reap the rewards. I’m constantly reminded of how good this farm shop is: depending on the season you can pick up great veg, superb cheeses, meats, charcuterie, pickles, sauces, pies… I could go on and on.
Something which I grab every time, a true meaty necessity, is a Waberthwaite Cumberland sausage from Richard Goodall. This is the real deal, a proper Lake District classic long sausage; rich and seasoned, and flavoured with a drop or two of the local Jennings Cumberland Ale (which is a reet good accompaniment to this sausage).
The eagle-eyed Miss South spotted a serendipitous connection this week, as a repeat of the Hairy Bikers Come Home on the BBC featured the spritely Mr Goodall and his meaty delights. It’s worth watching on the BBC iPlayer just to see a delicious selection of air-dried hams and sausages, and the sight of two hairy blokes trying to cook good food on a camping stove in the bitter winds on Hardknott Pass. Watch it here (while it lasts).
Sausage and mash is one of those simple British classics which allows a million delicious, hearty variations, and it’s perfect after a long day’s work in the winter. This time I eschewed the route of making the more traditional gravy in favour of a parsley bechemel sauce (I love gravy but I was hungry and didn’t fancy having to wait for any longer than was strictly necessary after griddling the sausage, which ruled out using the pan juices).
I started by warming milk in a pan with a clove-studded half onion and a bay leaf for a good 20-30mins, then built up a simple white sauce and stirred a generous bunch of roughly cut curly parsley in. This is the second time I’ve bought curly parsley in a month – I normally buy the darker, fresher-flavoured flat leaved variety – but I fancied something a little more traditional this time round. The sausage was slowly griddled and served simply with some creamy mash and some steamed broccoli.
Served with a bottle of Brew Dog’s rather idiosyncratic Zeitgeist black lager, and just right for an evening meal for one. Absolutely delicious… and best of all, I had enough for a packed lunch the next day…