All hail the sausage. Perhaps I should clarify: all hail the high-meat-content sausages made by craft butchers throughout Ireland. Sausage-making seems to be going through a bit of a renaissance. Butchers in inner-city Dublin sell Romanian and Polish sausages (smoked and regular); Whelan's on Parnell Street make boerwurst; halal butchers will have merguez lamb sausages; and in Gort, Co Galway you will find pork and garlic sausages for the local Brazilians.
Pork breakfast sausages are still the king in most butchers, but many are using ingredients like venison, wild boar and, of course, chicken, beef and lamb.
JJ Young's in Celbridge recently won Supreme Sausage Champion at the Craft Butchers' Awards for their beef-and-Guinness sausage -- a dense, meaty sausage with lots of beef flavour and some dark hints of Guinness and malt.
Toad in the hole
Ingredients: 500g beef-and-Guinness sausages, 1 large mug of eggs, 1 large mug of flour, salt, 1 large mug of milk and water (half and half), 1tbs malt vinegar, 60g dripping, duck fat or oil.
Set the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Break the eggs into the mug until it is almost full and add to a bowl with half the milk/water. Beat well, sift in the flour and whisk again until lump-free. Add the remaining liquid and the malt vinegar. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Melt the fat in a pan and gently fry the sausages for 8-10 minutes 'til brown.
Add the sausages and fat to a baking dish or tin, and pour over the batter. Bake at 200C/Gas 6 for 25-30 minutes.
Leslie is on Twitter; lesliesrealfood