I hate Jamie Oliver.
It's been a long standing thing, from his very first TV cookery programs as an up and coming star, through his rise and the mockery of sites like b3ta.com and onwards to his international stardom. I'm only telling you this in the interests of full disclosure you understand - to put this review into some kind of context.
The full name of this product is “Jamie Oliver, Keep It Simple, Beautiful Coarse-Textured Italian Style Sausages”. Presumably the keeping it simple doesn't apply to the box & marketing, just the ingredients because not only has it got two brands (the Chef himself and the new Asda food range) but three adjectives before you get to the word sausages. To find out what kind of sausages you have to keep reading the sub-text ...with British pork, herbs, red wine and Italian prosciutto... to me and in the interests of keeping it simple these are Pork & Ham sausages and the review title reflects that.
Due to the shape of the box with the divide in the middle cunningly hidden by the sleeve this package only contains 6 sausages, when at first glance it looks like it may contain more. This isn't to say that there isn't enough sausage in the package though. On cooking these not only do you get the intense smells of every ingredient that has been used, but you also get no shrinkage - the size you start with is pretty much the size on your plate. Also the quality of the product shows in that any tears in the skin during cooking don't result in all the sausage meat escaping as the texture of them keeps them well stuck together. Jamie is a big fan of good causes and reminds us that not only is this outdoor bred British pork, but the RSPCA approve of the methods used on the farm - so your dinner was probably better looked after in its time outside than your average rambling society would be.
As Jamie is a chef there is also sensible suggestions of what to eat the product with, and for this it was essentially tomato based so I went with sun-dried tomatoes and pasta. On cutting into the sausages they stay in slices and don't fall to pieces without some serious effort. The taste is strong and satisfying and three sausages is more than ample per person - you could probably get away with two. Review cat was on high alert for a taste to a degree that I haven't seen since the early Pieminister days and practically had his head on my plate. I gave him his smaller share afterwards. I genuinely enjoyed eating these sausages and was already trying to remember what the rest of the range had been.
And this is essentially the problem with Jamie Oliver - I hate him because he is brilliant.
While he should be just another jumped up tradesman-come-tv-star he's good at what he does and on some subconscious level I respect what he does. He makes school and hospital food better, improves the life for the animals and then goes over to America and points out why some of them are fat. He releases ranges of food that he's probably actually had a hand in making, and then TV shows and books that show us how we can do it too. Even the suggestions on the eco-friendly packaging are good ones. He then opens a large restaurant in the centre of Birmingham and brings jobs and tourism to my home town. There isn't a Nobel Cooking prize, but if there was it would probably be called an Oliver.
These are the best sausages I ever remember cooking at home, and if you like sausages you'd have to be mad not to buy them at least once.