There is time only for a short entry today. It concerns a subject that is an obsession of mine. I adore sausages, and I want them to be perfect every time; but the perfect method of cooking them is elusive. They require just as much care as do much grander foodstuffs.
Slow frying is my favourite technique. But I like to vary things, so at the weekend I tried slow baking, at gas mark 1/140 C, giving them an hour. After 40 minutes, it became clear that they would not be brown enough, so I turned up the oven to gas mark 4/180 C. Of course, a couple of the sausages split; and the skins toughened up.
Pricking sausages, to avoid splitting, has come to be frowned upon. It was a common recommendation in the days when the name "bangers" was applied with good reason. But I have been reading, as a result of a commission, a book called The English Breakfast, which contains reprints of three Victorian recipe books, and I came across an instruction to prick sausages all over with a needle; it got me thinking about whether this procedure is really so damaging. Of course, it allows juices to escape. But a lot of juices escape anyway, as you will know from a comparison of the size of sausages before and after cooking. Pricking prevents splitting, which is much more likely to occur, I find, than recipe writers acknowledge.