Quite some time ago, my mother introduced me to Wall's Microwave Sausages. It sounds like a terrible idea - everyone knows that microwaves are quick, but don't really cook anything in the traditional sense, none of the pleasant browning or crisping - but the good news is that Wall's have sensibly pre-cooked these freezable sausages, so it's really just a case of reheating them. Microwaves are ideally suited to that task, so the only concerns are whether or not it can sufficiently reheat sausages from frozen, and whether or not it can do so without drying out the sausages.
Same with the mash, really... It comes in a plastic sachet not unlike Uncle Ben's microwave rice but, very much unlike the rice, you're required to decant the contents into a microwave-safe bowl, which is then to be covered over with cling-film. Strangely, the film - which is there to trap as much moisture as possible to prevent the mash drying out - must be pierced so, naturally, what starts as fork-prick holes inevitably widen into gaping tears. I did wonder if it could be made to work by opening the sachet by about the same amount as an Uncle Ben's rice (2cm), but the instructions suggest stirring the mash halfway through, which would make leaving it in the sachet rather impractical.
Still, I hadn't actually read that part of the instructions, and so blasted my mash for the full 5-ish minutes in one hit.
The end result of all this fiesta of irradiation?
Well, my experience of the microwave sausages has always been good... I mean, they're Wall's, and they're good, simple pork sausages of the sort you'll have in your local greasy spoon's All-Day Breakfast. They are succulent, with a skin that's tough enough to hold together, without being overly chewy and rubbery. Also, the advantage to microwaving is that you don't have to time it all perfectly to get them cooked without burning the skin. They're exactly the kind of sausage I really like, and yet have a really hard time finding. My mother initially found them in her local Iceland, and tried to keep a good stock in her freezer. Some time ago, they suddenly disappeared from the shelves and, as far as I know, that local branch has never had them since. They've appeared elsewhere, so she's been able to get more once in a while, but it was only this last week that I found Wall's Microwave Sausages in my local Iceland, when they'd never been there before... it's almost as if Iceland is trialling them by rolling them out in different territories for a few months at a time.
The mash was a bit of a let-down. The quantity is good - probably enough for two, but I quite like lots of mash with my sausages, so I did use the whole lot in one go - but, for something described as 'Cheesy Mash', it really isn't very cheesy. I detected a subtly Cheddar-y note, but it's more 'creamy and smooth' than properly cheesy.
I'm no stranger to the concept of microwave mash - my mother regularly uses one that's frozen in little discs that you just load into a bowl and blast for a few minutes - and it's certainly far easier (not to mention less wasteful) than making it from scratch, though possibly not as good as mixing up some instant mash to one's own preferred consistency (and adding butter, milk, cream, etc. as required).
And considering my usual S&M Rodeo would have a sausage with added herbs, spices, veg or even other kinds of meat, the whole idea of this was to have completely plain sausages with a mash that was interesting and yet easy to prepare...
Still, for a quick S&M fix (we're talking under five minutes for four sausages, without any turning or fussing of any kind), this is probably ideal if you have easy access to a microwave, but no kettle and/or no inclination to go to the 'effort' of making up some instant mash, even though that might actually be quicker.
Is it just food... or is it a work of art? You decide...