There they are left for several weeks to wind-dry until chewy and aromatic, and then served as ‘horse-ears’ (slices cut at a sharp angle to resemble a horse's ear), either cold or quickly stir-fried. Some weeks ago, perhaps provoked by all this sausage madness, I had a sudden craving for a British-style sausage sandwich – thick, grilled pork sausages, slick with tomato ketchup, and enveloped by soft white bread. I don’t often crave meat, but the intensity of this craving took me rather by surprise, and so I decided to break our normally vegetarian kitchen’s meat-cooking virginity and satisfy my desire.
First, I bought a couple of ‘bai-wei’ (white flavour, ie. plain) flat bread rolls from our local bakery, and then proceeded to the butcher to purchase the sausages. I had anticipated a little trouble here, what with wanting to buy so few, but rather than object to the number of sausages I wanted, the butcher at first simply refused to sell me any. ‘They’re not ready yet’, he said, ‘come back in a week or two.’ Pleadingly, I explained that in England we don’t dry our sausages, and that I didn’t mind if they were ‘bu hao chi’ (not delicious) now. Perhaps just to get rid of me, he eventually gave in, and after a few minutes of gentle frying in the wok, I finally realised my sausage sandwich dream. Though the meat had a (very pleasing) hint of Sichuan pepper, essentially it was exactly what I wanted – a proper British sausage sarnie. If I closed my eyes, I could have been back in in my mum's kitchen in Hebden Bridge.