29 April 2007

Dinner Munching (Part I) - The Butcher

I had been trying to arrange for dinner among a group of 3 of my SC/NJ friends and it was starting to feel like it would never happen because schedules kept clashing. When a date was finally settled for more than a month away, I filed it away in my organiser and started planning for it only a week before by looking through cookbooks and food blogs.

However, the actual cooking started only on Saturday morning (the dinner was scheduled for that night). The early start gave me plenty of allowance to do my tasks leisurely without breaking out into as much as a sweat, except perhaps on my walk to the supermarket under the glaring hot sun. I chose relatively easy dishes that could either be prepared in advance or would require only a few minutes of flash frying. It definitely helped that I had a stash of sausages from the Swiss Butchery, hidden in my refrigerator, calling out to me.

On my way home from Phoon Huat to replenish my baking supplies at Chip Bee Gardens earlier in the week, I popped into The Butcher just to have a look see (as I always do whenever I'm in the vicinity). I emerged $18 poorer and 9 sausages heavier (hardly surprising, really). My family had been savouring them slowly and purposefully. The favourite was the Moroccan Lamb, followed by the Mexican Jalapeno Pork, Pork with Black Pepper and Coriander, then the Beef and Guiness. The Mexican one was unexpectedly very spicy, but popular nonetheless.

For the dinner, inspired by one of Donna Hay magazine's recipes for a Chorizo, Chickpea and Cous Cous salad, I made a Sausage, Broad Beans (it was meant to be chickpeas too, but I accidentally opened the wrong can), and Cous Cous salad. As you can imagine, very little effort was required.

3 minutes for the cous cous to cook and get fluffed up (with olive oil, lemon juice and salt). Less than 10 minutes for the sausages to cook through and get sliced. 1 minute for a can of broad beans or chickpeas to be opened (or much less if you have a very good can opener). 4 minutes for the four fried quail eggs (optional). Put them all together with some basil and they're ready for the table and for any highly discriminating palate.

I have always been of the opinion that it's hard to go wrong with a dish that involves sausages. Furthermore, these gourmet sausages from The Butcher are delicious by themself. This cous cous 'salad' should convince anyone to have a stash of sausages, a bottle of cous cous and a can of chickpeas at your disposal all year round. Particularly handy for last minute dinners, which seem to be happening to me pretty often recently.

I was told that Tuesdays at The Butcher are Sausage Days where you get half kg worth of sausages free with ever 1kg of sausage purchased. But they're not open on Labour Day, so pop by the following week if you want to make use of the offer! 1.5 kg might sound like helluva lot, but I assure you that sausages as good as this never last very long.

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