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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

An evening with Johnny Pusztai and the butchers at Beedhams.

It isn't often you get the privilege of being invited to a top quality butcher's shop for an evening of sausage making and burger making so when Johnny Pusztai rang me I cancelled my other engagements and hot footed it across Nottingham to his shop on Mansfield Road in Sherwood after a full day at work on Tesco's fish and meat counters. Once the evening of learning, making and sampling got started their were over a dozen fellow foodies tightly packed in the preparation room of his small shop.

There was a camera man from the BBC called Steve who documented the whole evening so that Johnny could have the event showing on a television screen placed in the upper corner of his counter as a promotional tool for similar future events. Each participant was asked to sign a release form to indicate they were happy to be filmed and used in the end DVD.

It was a jolly crowd of foodies, made even jollier by Johnny and Steve's (the butcher) laid back and very informative/passionate presentations of how they work in preparing the top notch ingredients that form the pork base of their sausages and the natural casings the sausage mixture is fed into.

The group was split into two groups and one lot went upstairs to learn about making beef burgers through Steve and Joel's advice and through practical observation and individual application. We were allowed to chose our own flavourings and bindings and then were shown how to press the burgers. We had a ball of ground beef each and there was a great atmosphere as we all got to mixing the ingredients. Equally, we separated a small amount and made it into a sampling patty which Joel cooked off and we all got to taste our own work as well as making four big fat yummy burgers to take home. Downstairs the other group were having a wonderful time learning about making sausages and having a go themselves. A few glasses of wine or beer made the evening very convivial as we went along.

Throughout the evening we were treated to some super samples of various meat based products that Beedhams make. There was some belly pork prepared sous vide and marinated in a Marmite based marinade and cooked off on the griddle by Jake. Everyone was keen to try another portion and there were murmurings of the word 'delicious' as the happy participants wolfed down the very tasty and succulent pork. Johnny explained all about the origins of the pork meat and how the sous vide method worked. We also had the opportunity to try some of Beedham's speciality pork pie with black pudding layered or spliced into the finished product. Mouth watering. We were spoilt food wise and also had a choice to sample some spicy chicken wings and a gorgeous sausage cob with Johnny's wonderful pork sausage. There are pork sausages and there are Beedham's sausages! They are meaty and taste utterly wonderful and he has customers who come back again and again for his products that he is so passionate about making and promoting.

At half time each group swapped burger making for sausage making and our group had enormous fun making our own sausages. It was very hands on and a lot of saucy fun was had from the action of feeding the slippery natural sausage casings onto the tube where the sausage mix is forced through with a pressure pedal. The ladies among us all seemed to take the banter in their stride.

We all had a go at linking the sausage and a light-hearted judgement was had of our efforts. It had been years since I actually made sausage and linked and it was a super experience augmented by Johnny Pusztai and his passion team of butchers. And we got to take our sausages and burgers home after the event. It had been a long day for me getting up at 5am and coming here after work until 9.30pm but it was worth every second. Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended and it was very pleasant to be among such a group of like – minded people who appreciate really good, quality meat prepared with love.

                                                  I made these bangers and burgers!

Thanks to everyone at Beedhams.

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