Thursday, December 14, 2006

Homemade: Sainsburys Pork and Apple 'Taste the Difference' + Warburtons Cheese Rolls

I thought it was time for another homemade effort so I made a trip Sainburys and picked up a different variety from their 'Taste the Difference' sausage range. Maybe influenced by the "Best Sausage Sarnie in Britain" mentioned earlier, I chose Pork and Apple this time, along with some nice looking Warburtons cheesey rolls.

As usual I cooked the sausages in a grill to lose some of the fat. First thing I have to say a LOT of fatty liquid came out of these sausages when I cooked them. It almost filled the small plastic collecting dish.

I don't know if this was pure fat or a mixture of fat and water (perhaps having apple in these sausges gives them a higher water content?) but in any case I was shocked at how much came out. As a result, the sausages were a lot smaller once cooked and nowhere near as plump as they looked in the packet. The skin also charred very easily compared to other sausages. All in all, these are slightly weird sausages.

I split the six sausages between four lightly buttered rolls and added some sliced tomato (yeah I know - I got really carried away there!) and added some HP sauce. Not having had HP sauce at home for a while, tasting it this time really brought home how awful the brown sauce you get in cafes is. The real thing is so potent and aromatic, it really whacks you with flavour and piquancy. God knows what the stuff they serve in cafes is but rarely do you get real HP.

Anyway it was decent enough sandwich. I may have been a bit over-enthusiastic with the HP sauce because that flavour kind of dominated everything. Still, I didn't think much of the sausage. Having apple inside the sausge didn't seem to make much sense because your effectively cooking bits of apple with the meat which doesn't seem to work. Also I think the high water content gave the sausage a slight 'steamed' feel to it.

Not a sausage I'd recommend for sandwiches. The rolls were good but at £1.80 (approx. I can't remember exactly) for four, I would look for a cheaper alternative next time.

Cafe Soho, Ingestre Place

A bit of a departure this time - not a plain sausage sandwich but a 'daily special' sandwich that just happened to have sausage in it. In fact, the full list of ingredients is as follows:

- Cumberland sausage
- lettuce
- cheddar cheese
- smoked turkey
- dijonnaise
- tomato
- gherkin

It would be pretty difficult to make a sandwich that didn't taste good with all those ingredients! Cafe Soho is one of the best sandwich shops in Soho and one I keep going back to. All the fillings are really fresh, the staff are great and they have daily changing specials. Next time I'll ask for a straight sausage sandwich and see how it compares.

3.5 out of 5 (tasty, but helped by the extra ingredients)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Guide to Hot Dog Etiquette

Do you know what types of napkins are appropriate to use when eating hot dogs?

Or how many bites are considered acceptable when consuming a hot dog?

Find the answers the these and other important questions here
here, courtesy of America's National Hot Dog and Sausage Council!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Britain's Best Sausage Sarnie Announced!

You may remember there was a national contest recently to find Britain's Best Sausage Sandwich.

Well, Carol Thatcher and her team of judges have chomped their way around the country and the official winner has been declared...

After a thorough, countrywide search, the national winner of British Sausage Week’s hunt for the Supreme Sausage Sarnie has been unveiled as New College Nottingham student Chris Slocombe.

Chris’s sarnie of pork and cider sausages with apple, pear and sage chutney on toasted Brioche triumphed in the Nottinghamshire regional final, following a hard fought cook-off at ncn’s Adams Restaurant.

Full report here.

The apple and sage chutney sounds like a delicious combination. All I want to know is, where can I get one???

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mother Mash, Ganton Street

I had high hopes for Mother Mash. It's a new restaurant that specializes in that classic comfort food mashed potato, which they serve with either sausages or a pie on the side. They also have a breakfast menu which includes a sausage sandwich.

I went there on a weekday morning just before 9:00 and was the only customer, so they were hardly rushed off their feet. However I still had to wait around 10 minutes for my sausage sandwich on toasted white bread with brown sauce. If you're just popping in on your way to work, this is way too long. I'm guessing they had no cooked sausages ready and actually made one from scratch. Good in terms of freshness; very bad in terms of keeping your customer waiting. At £2.40 this is also one of the most expensive sausage sandwiches in town.

So, was it worth the wait and the money? Not really. The bread was good quality, yes. The sausge was a lot better than usual too, but it had a strange, dull quality about it. Too dry or too lean, maybe? It certainly wasn't bursting with flavour. Condiments came in the form of a sachet of HP brown sauce that you get seperately.

3.5 out of 5. Premium price and a long wait for an only slightly-above-average product.

(Even though the sandwich was a bit of a let down, I'm still going to go back to try their speciality mashed potato!)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bar Bruno, Wardour Street

Something of a Soho institution, this. Ultra-efficient, Italian-run sandwich shop and cafe that has been here for years and years. The menu is vast and yet the kitchen (what you can see of it anyway) looks tiny.

Ordered a toasted sausage sandwich with brown sauce. Neither the bread nor the sausage were anything remarkable. In fact, it was a fairly bland sandwich but what Bar Bruno has down to a fine art is getting food to you very, very quickly and this was no exception. Something about the way the bread was toasted and the speed with which the whole sandwich was put together made it taste that much better.

The crispiness of the toast, the degree that the butter had melted and the temperature of the sausage (which was actually a typical, cheap, ordinary, cafe variety) were all spot on.

UPDATE: After some repeat visits, it seems the the sausages they use are somewhat better than the common cafe variety, and are actually pretty good pork sausages.

3 out of 5.

You can see more pics of Bar Bruno on the British breakfast blog eggbaconchipsandbeans.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Homemade: Sainsbury's Pork and Herbs Taste the Difference

Sometimes, after you've had a few bland, disappointing sausage sandwiches from cafes, you get the urge to do it yourself and make your own. So the other day I grabbed a pack of 'Taste the Difference' Pork and fresh herbs sausages from Sainsbury's and rustled up my own sausage sandwiches.

At home I cook sausages in an electric griddle to lose some of the fat content. I also don't prick the sausages, as you lose flavour if you do and there really isn't much risk of your banger literally going 'bang' unless you buy the really cheap and nasty varieties that contain a lot of water.

The nicely grilled sausages were combined with buttered Hovis white granary bread - nice and light, with not too many grains. Ideally I would have had HP sauce but I didn't have any and had to use Heinz ketchup.

The sausages were great. Really lean and moist, and the herbs were not overpowering. Would happily eat these again although there a number of different varieties to chose from in this range. Think I'll go for the Cumberland next time! The bread was good too but perhaps a bit too fragile for such a substantial sandwich.

Don't you just love Sunday breakfasts? :)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ed's Easy Diner, Old Compton Street

This time, a rare occurence - an actual place that sells real hot dogs in London!

For most Londoners, the only time you will see a hot dog on sale is when you pass an illegal street vendor at about 1:30 a.m. selling suspicious looking, rancid smelling sausages with overcooked onions on a street corner. Those guys are illegal and the food they sell is probably dangerous to your health.

Ed's Easy Diner on the other hand is a reputable, established restaurant chain which sets out to re-create a classic, American burger bar in the U.K. Whilst their burgers are okay, they have been overtaken somewhat by the 'gourmet burger' phenomenon that has swept London and are in danger of looking a little dated. However they do sell hot dogs which is something their competitors don't. So, what are they like?

The branch I went two only sells two variations: Hot dog with onions, and a chili dog. So a chili dog it had to be.

Overall impressions: Not bad. A good quality, fresh roll, and a weiner sausage prepared with some care. The chili portion was substantial and served on the side in a little container. Now, this chili contained beans - a typical chili con carne - and having read some of the recipies for American style hot dog chili, I couldn't help but think that a bean-less chili might have been better. It wasn't especially flavourful but was still a nice accompaniment to the hot dog.

3 out of 5. Not a classic by any means, but it scores for novelty value.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


It doesn't seem that long ago that we had British Food Fortnight but right now it's British Sausage Week and, can you believe it, part of the event is an official search for Britain's Best Sausage Sarnie!

If anyone knows how I can sneakily take Carol Thatcher's place on the judging panel and get to sample untold numbers of sausage sandwiches, please do get in touch!

Get the full lowdown on British Sausage Week here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mocha Cafe, Charing Cross Road

Mocha Cafe is on the busy Charing Cross Road not far from Trafalgar Square and Chinatown but it feels hidden away because it's part of a row of shops that's set back from the road, under an office block that overhangs it. This is a nice, clean-looking, bright cafe that also has internet access.

Ordered my sausage sandwich toasted on brown bread, with brown sauce. It was only £1.70 which is cheaper than average. Not much to look at but the sausage was of higher than average quality. On closer inspection, I found the sausage actually contained herbs! Not something you see in your typical cafe sausage sandwich. The brown sauce used was good - not diluted rubbish - and overall it was a nicely made, inexpensive sausage sandwich.

3 out of 5. Best so far.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bavarian Weiss Sausage - Explained!

A quite funny video from trndtv on how to cook, serve and enjoy Bavarian Weisswurscht (that's pronounced 'varrssswrrjj' according to the presenter).


Bar San Valentino, Greek Street

This is one of the better cafes in Soho and does reaonably priced sandwiches with fresh-looking fillings. First time I've had a sausage sandwich from here though.

Really nothing special to report. The sausage was average quality and did at least have some meaty texture, but it was a basic pork banger. Bread and brown sauce were average too. Their normal sandwiches are better.

1 out of 5.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cafe Lena, Berwick Street. (Home at last!)

Finally home after months working abroad. I actually got back a few weeks ago but I"m only just catching up with this blog malarkey.

It's good to be back in London but I'm going to miss being able to grab a quick bratwurst for lunch. The options back home are a little different..

America has hot dogs, here in Britain we have sausage sandwiches. These are not sold on the street, though, but in small cafes you find just about everywhere and the quality is - by and large - awful. Cheapness is the common factor here; the very cheapest sausages, the cheapest bread and the cheapest condiments.

I work in Soho and there's an abundance of cafes and sandwich shops so there's going to be no shortage of places to sample and review. The challenge is going to be finding somewhere good. First up is Cafe Lena on the corner of Berwick Street and Noel Street. I picked this one at random and it was the first sausage sandwich I had after returning to the UK.

In a word: Disappointing! The sausge was a typical cafe variety: bland, texturless and cheap. Processed to such a degree that the inside was perfecly smooth, like paste. To the cafe's credit though, they did at least put some effort into making the sandwich. I asked for it on a baguette, which they buttered and toasted panini-style. The sausage was cut into slices and griddled. It was the fresh baguette that stopped this from becoming a total disaster. The mustard was ok but had to be asked for (in British cafes it's considered a slightly more special condiment and isn't automatically provided) whereas the tomato sauce was again typical cafe quality i.e. poor - too vinegary and pale.

1 out of 5 (for the bread!).

The search for a decent sausage sarnie is on!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hot Dogs Namibian Style #3

The third and final Namibian update! Just down the road from where I was working was this 'wurstbude'. When I saw the sign I imagined a kind of hot dog lover's heaven; A lengthy menu of different types of wursts with all kinds of different condiments to sample. In reality, it was just a pizzeria that also sold hot dogs and bratwurst.

The location is great, right opposite the beach and with the crashing Atlantic waves clearly audible. I placed my order at the counter, sat down in the gorgeous sunshine and it wasn't long before my double bratwurst in a roll arrived (along with a nice, cold Tafel lager).

These wurst were clearly fried, not grilled but they still tasted great. Nice crispy skin and none of the rank, stale taste that you find so often in UK cafe fried food. The ketchup and mustard were adequate but not especially nice. All in all though, it was a tasty roll that went great with the cold lager.

A nice note on which to end my Afican adventure.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Namibia just misses out on sausage world record!

Aww. Illustrating the Namibian love of sausage and bread, the country made a valiant attempt to break the world barbecue record a few weeks ago but narrowly missed out due to safety fears. This Septemeber has been a very sausagey month!

Read the full story here.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Interview: Stanton from 'West Virginia Hot Dogs Blog'

The greatest thing about starting this blog is discovering that there are other people out there who share my love of sausage and bread! One of these is Stanton, who writes the excellent West Virginia Hot Dogs blog as well as the West Virginia Hot Hogs website. Stanton is passionate about hot dogs especially his local variety which features bean-less chili and coleslaw (yum). Here's a very brief Q&A with Stanton on the subject of - what else - hot dogs!

Q: What makes the perfect hot dog?
"Hot dogs in our part of the world must have a spicy chili sauce coupled with sweet creamy coleslaw. These two ingredients must be excellent because they make up the character of the hot dog. Beyond that, the bun, wiener and other condiments should be as high quality as possible, but the best wiener can't offset poor coleslaw and lackluster chili. The perfect hot dog, then, would be a grilled wiener on a steamed bun topped with yellow mustard, spicy chili, sweet coleslaw and finely chopped onions."

Q: Fries with your dog?
"For me personally, no, but only for dietary reasons. In a perfect world where one didn't have to be concerned with waistlines and cholesterol, absolutely yes."

Q: Why do you think is the secret behind the hot dog's popularity?
"Portability - the best "on the run" food you can find. 
Adaptability - every culture can have its own unique version. 
Dependability - no matter where you go (at least in the US) you can get a hot dog and you pretty well know what it's going to taste like."

Q: What drink goes best with a hot dog?
"Root Beer."

Q: Another food you love besides hot dogs.
"The kind you eat! Seriously, I've not found too many foods that I don't love. Hamburgers are high on the list."

Q; What's your record for most hot dogs eaten in one sitting?
"The most I remember eating is four. I prefer quality to quantity."

A big thanks to Stanton. Check out his website here and his very cool blog here. I think I'm going to have to try a homemade version of the West Virginia Dog. Sounds delicious!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Man eats 29 sausages in Utah.

This is absolutely not the way to appreciate sausages but the excellently-named, professional eater Joey Chestnut set a new world record earlier this month for scoffing sausages. Apparently he uses a finely honed 'perpetual motion' technique that basically involves stuffing the sausages into his gob very, very quickly and taking sips of water in between.

Read the article here

There's also a video of the guy here although the player didn't work for me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

It's British Food Fortnight!

The next couple of weeks are 'British Food Fortnight' - a celebration of the best food and produce from the British Isles. It's in its fifth year now and as you might expect, sausages are playing a big part! The official event homepage is here but to save you looking, here's a run down of some of the main sausage-related events that are coming up:

Sausage Saturday and Sunday at La Hogue Farm Shop at Chippenham
30th Sep 2006 to 1st Oct 2006
La Hogue’s butchers, F.L. Edge & Son  will be offering free tastings of their award winning homemade sausages, including the launch of two exciting new varieties. Contact: Extra Info:

Sizzling Sausage Fest at Jimmy's Farm!
30th Sep 2006
There will be a sausage festival at jimmy's farm to coincide with British Food Fortnight, with around 12 sausage producers all selling and promoting their sausage to celebrate the range and diversity of British sausage!  Various competitions include Sausage Eating Competition, Guess the Weight of The Giant Round Sausage Competition and Sausage Tasting Competition... aswell as sausage making demonstrations, British beer, wine and cider, musicians, mad morris men and a magician to jolly things up!
Contact: telephone- 0870 950 0210 or fax- 01473 601 752
Location: Pannington Hall Farm, Wherstead, Suffolk, IP9 2AR

New Sausage Launch - Heath Farm Meats
23rd Sep 2006-8th Oct 2006
Heath Farm Meats will be launching a new sausage at a Bangers and Beans event. For further information, please contact:
Clair Gittens, Heath Food Meats, Bagginswood, nr. Kidderminster
DY14 8NB
Tel: 01746 718 732
Location: Kidderminster, Worcestershire

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hot Dogs Namibian Style #2

Today's hot dog is from the Lightkeeper's Cafe in Swakopmund, Namibia, possibly the best place for lunch in this whole town. They mostly do sandwiches and salads but then I noticed they had bratwurst on the menu too.

The two grilled wurst come with a 'brotchen' bread roll and potato salad on the side. The wurst had a delicious grilled flavour (cooked over charcoal maybe?) - perhaps the best I've had here. The potato salad was so soft and creamy that I actually used it as condiment. Didn't need any mustard or ketchup. A very tasty sausage roll.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Condiment Corner: Sosatie Sauce

I like to try any new or unusual foods when I'm travelling so I had to give this sauce a go. It's called Sosatie Sauce and is part of a range called 'Walker Bay', a South African brand. It's a tangy, sweet and sour type sauce with a spicy, curry-like kick to it. I think sosatie sauce is a traditional South African thing. To give you an idea of what's in it, you can see a recipe for a homemade version of it here.

It goes great with grilled sausages or any barbecued food and it doesn't have that cloying texture or fake smokiness you get with a lot of barbecue and meat sauces. If it was a little thicker it would be perfect for hot dogs too. It's very nice stuff. Try it if you get a chance!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hot Dogs Namibian Style #1

Today a little bit about the town where I'm staying - Swakopmund, Namibia. Like most people, I had no idea where Namibia was until I was sent here for work and I don't think many people had even heard of the place until Brad and Angelina came here to give birth to their child (in a little place called Long Beach just down the road).

It's a truly fascinating country and whilst there isn't really space here to do a full travelogue, I can definitely recommend coming here for an unforgettable trip. The sand dunes of Sossusvlei, skydiving over the desert, the villages of the ochre-painted Himba tribe, the mountain at Spitzkoppe and driving through the Gamsberg Pass are just some of the must-dos (Etosha national park should be included in that list too but sadly I won't have time to go there).

What makes Swakpomund distinctive for an African town is it's German heritage and continued strong German influence. Most shop fronts are in German, the architecture is very Germanic and of course the town is populated by German expats. Wiener schnitzel, Berliners and sauerkraut are available everywhere, as are bratwurst and other German sausages.

For lunch today I went to one of Swakopmund's larger supermarkets, Woerman Brock, and got a couple of hot dogs from a guy on an in-store cart.

He was selling two types of sausage: bratwurst and a beef wiener which came in a german bread roll (brotchen). I had one of each. To go with it you can choose from diced cucumber, diced onion, diced tomato and chili sauce (I went for everything except the chili) which are added to the roll first, with the sausage on top. You can then have ketchup and mustard on top (I had both).

The sausages were both pretty tasty, with the beef wiener coming out on top although both of them were the same sausages that are sold in the supermarket so they did have that mass-produced quality. The bratwurst could have done with more seasoning as it was a little bland.

Wurst or South African boerewors are on sale in every supermarket out here. Fresh ones are usually sold as a long 'curl' and occasionally in long, frankfurter sized links. I've yet to see the English style short linked sausage in any shop here... and I'm missing them big time!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


If you have a favourite hot dog, condiment or want to comment on anything related to sausage and bread I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line at "steve london 88" (remove the spaces) at

Monday, September 04, 2006

Classic American Hot Dogs: An Introduction

Before I get into the sausage and bread options you can find here in Swakopmund, Namibia I have to mention the most famous example of the sausage and bread combo - the American hot dog.

I've only ever tasted NYC hot dogs so my own experience is pretty limited. I'm hoping to sample some of the other variations one day but in the meantime I'll have to make do with reading about hot dogs on web pages like the one linked to below and just imagining their sausagey, bready goodness. How sad.

Hot dogs are an intrinsic part of the culture of many U.S. cities and a source of great regional pride. This is best illustrated by an event held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Between March and August 2002 the museum hosted an exhibition called 'Baseball as America' showcasing the history of that sport and its importance in American culture. In parallel, the museum's food court (why can't our natural history museum have a food court?) held a kind of hot dog expo or summit, if you will, where they served a selection of ten different hot dogs in classic, regional styles.

For a non-American this is a great introduction the varieties of hot dog that can be found in the States. Check out the full menu here:

Hot Dogs As America

I like the look of the Dodger Dog - simple and with a pork frankfurter which I generally prefer to beef.

The Chicago Red Hot looks interesting. I know Chicago is a big hot dog city but is this dog dangerously overloaded with condiments? It actually looks like a salad roll with a meat condiment. This is one I have to try one day.

The Cincinnati Cheese Coney also looks like the accompaniments might overwhelm the sausage ("Don't overwhelm the sausage!" could be the motto of this blog). A chili topping that contains paprika, nutmeg, chocolate and cinnamon? There's really no need for that. Or is there?

The Texas Corn Dog and The Natural are interesting because they depart from the usual sausage and bread formula.

The Corn Dog is a beef sausage on a stick inside a corn-based dough shell which is fried. Not really sure about this one. The stick makes is seem like you would have to nibble this hot dog rather than chomp on it. I also wonder if the outer shell would just become an oily, crusty sponge after frying. This looks unappetizing and obesity-inducing.

They may have used some poetic license when they named 'The Natural'. After all, it is a piece of pretzel dough toasted on a metal spike with a sausage inserted into it. It does look interesting, though, and is probably quite healthy. The only drawback I can see is that it doesn't allow the eater to add sauces directly to the dog but perhaps that's the whole point? You get to taste the 'natural' flavour of the frankfurter and the pretzel. Another to add to my must-try list.

The one that looks the most appetizing to me is the Milwaukee Brat. This looks like a real sausage, grilled rather than fried or boiled and comes in a crusty roll with sauerkraut and brown mustard. Strong Germanic influence here and of all the hot dogs in the list this one looks like it packs the most flavour and texture in its basic sausage and bread components. Now where exactly is Milwaukee?

That was a brief introduction to American hot dogs but I'm sure we'll come back to some or all of them later.

The U.S. is probably the epicentre of hot dog consumption. You could even say - if you wanted to get analytical - that the hot dog kind of encapsulates American culture and values: It's fast, unpretentious and unfussy. It's accessible, democratic food.

But I don't think an appreciation of the sausage and bread combo has to start and end in the U.S. Other countries have their own take on the hot dog which can be just as good, if not better and I'm hoping to make this a really global blog by not just focusing on the American frank-in-a-bun.

Next time...Hot Dogs Namibian Style

Friday, September 01, 2006

Origin Story...

The date is Thursday August 31st 2006 and I am sitting in a house in a town called Swakopmund, which is in Namibia (which is just north of South Africa if you didn't know).

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie stayed just down the road when they had their baby earlier this year and Wesley Snipes is about to start shooting a movie here. I'm also out here working on a movie as it happens but I normally live in London.

Maybe it's just because I feel homesick, maybe it's boredom creeping up on me but for some reason I thought I would start this blog - a celebration of one of my favourite foods.

The basic recipe for this dish - if you can even call it a recipe - is simple and yet it seems to produce an infinite number of variations in countries and cultures all over the world.

This is simple, unfussy, everyday food yet it can inspire a passion in people you wouldn't believe.

Yep, this is a fansite dedicated to the magical combination of sausage and bread. Welcome!

Next time... I hope to be able to round up the sausage and bread options that greet the hungry traveller in Swakopmund, Namibia (you might be surprised) and hopefully a first look at the Great American Hot Dog.