Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Seasonal Treat: Customized Sausage Rolls

This is straying a little bit from the 'sausage and bread' concept but hey, it's the holidays.

I don't know about you but I've found it quite difficult to track down a really nice sausage roll when I'm out and about. Usually the sausagemeat filling is cheap, over-salted and lacking in flavour, and the pastry is too greasy or (even worse) is cold and claggy.

So having spent so much time tracking down great sausages to put in sandwiches, I thought I would experiment and try making my own sausage rolls. I say 'make' but really I'm using all ready-made ingredients and simply assembling them and baking. The results are great, though, and if you have the time this is great way of making a tasty, sausage-based snack. They key is to use a good quality sausage and to serve them warm, fresh from the oven.


  • 1 x pack of good sausages. Choose your favourite but avoid varieties that contain fruit (e.g. apple) or a lot of garlic as these can exude a lot of water or be too overpowering, respectively.
  • 1 x pack of ready rolled puff pastry (defrosted if frozen).
  • Jar of tomato relish (or condiment of your choice). I find tomato relish works especially well with the baked pastry.
  • 1 x egg, beaten.


Lay your pastry out on a floured board and cut into long strips about 4 inches wide.

Place the tomato relish (or your own choice of condiment) along the centre of the pastry strip in a narrow line. Be sparing - you don't need a lot.

Seperate your sausages and cut along the casing of each one.

Extract the sausagemeat from the casing and place it on top of the tomato relish or condiment, in the centre of the pastry strip. You will find that most sausages are much to thick for a sausage roll and you will have to pinch the sausagemeat and 'thin it out' until it is roughly half of its original thickness. This means that one sausage link will make a sausage roll that is roughly twice its original length.

Brush beaten egg along one of the inner edges of the pastry strip, and fold the strip over to make a roll, using the beaten egg to seal. Position your rolled pastry so the join is facing down and hidden. Pat the roll gently to seal.

Cut your long roll into bite-sized or longer sections, as you see fit, with a single cut straight down.

Using scissors, make a little V-shaped snip in the top of each sausage roll.

Brush the top and sides of each sausage roll with beaten egg.

Bake at 220 degrees centigrade for roughly 25mins or until the sausagemeat is well cooked and the pasty lightly browned. Take out of the oven and eat whilst warm.

This is really so easy to do and I'm willing to bet they will be the best sausage rolls you've ever tasted!

That's all for 2008. Have a great New Year and see you in 2009 for more Sausage and Bread goodness!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Sausage and Bread Top 5 2008

Hard to believe it's been a year since my last Top 5. I've discovered loads of new places over the last 12 months and the thing that strikes me is how the bar has been raised in terms of easily available, good quality sausage and bread.

Your average greasy spoon cafe might still be selling nasty, 'economy' sausages but there seem to be more and more gourmet outlets springing up and newer sandwich shops tend to make sure they at least have a half decent Cumberland on the menu. Recent bad press about cheap, processed meat products and a general demand for better quality food may be the reasons.

As for the places reviewed in this blog: The Gourmet Hot Dog Company has survived for another year and while it's possible to get a West Virginian hot dog that isn't too shabby, its cooked-on-rollers sausages are a bit uninspiring.

Eat is probably the leading chain outlet with its grilled sausage muffin proving to be reliably tasty. Leon and Benugo's sausage and bread offerings perhaps proved that image isn't everything - both were quite disappointing.

The Diner deserves credit for its attention to detail and faithful reproduction of an American menu. Its chili cheese dog is a must try but the price and stodginess are negatives.

Cafe Soho continues to be a great sandwich shop but unfortunately its been forced out of the Top 5. Not because of any drop in quality, but because new places have muscled their way into the list. I re-visited recently and it still thoroughly deserves a 'Recommended' tag.

The 2008 Sausage and Bread Top 5 for London


Soho is literally being knocked down and rebuilt around it, but Bar Bruno continues to dish out a fantastic toasted pork sausage sandwich, prepared quickly. I was sure Bruno's was going to drop out of the list this year but a re-visit proved me wrong. Long live Bar Bruno.


The chorizo and roasted pepper ciabatta is a favourite. One of the stars of Soho.


On my first visit I thought the Honest Sausage's location was a negative being out of the way and requiring a special effort to get to it. Now I've changed my mind and I've decided the setting in Regent's Park should be seen as a plus not a minus. On a sunny autumn day, what could be better than an organic sausage in fluffy white bun, eaten outside surrounded by squirrels, trees and a wide open park? Welcome to the Top 5, Honest sausage.


I've made multiple repeat visits to Farmer brown since I discovered it earlier this year. They make a sausage sandwich that is actually moreish. The owner has told me they get regulars who come to the cafe just for the fat, juicy Cumberland sausages.

1 - PAUL (salami baguette)

Yes, I'm afraid the long-standing number 1 has retained its spot. It remains the perfect combination of sausage and bread, in my opinion.

Do you know of any other places that serve great sausage sandwiches or hot dogs? Drop me a line with anything sausagey and bready that you'd like to share.

Here's to another year of outstanding sausage and bread!

Dec 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Wonderful World of Korv

Many thanks to Steve over at who has posted a great review and photo album of Swedish hot dogs otherwise known as korv.

I've known about Copenhagen's popular hot dog stands for a while and have always wanted to go there to try them out. I guess the love of sausage and bread is actually a Scandanavia-wide phenomenon!

Link: Street Cuisine

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Homemade: German Käsekrainer with Colman's American Mild mustard

Don't worry, I know the 'Best Before' date on the packet says August - these are actually old pictures that I've only just got round to posting!

I bought a packet of Käsekrainer (pork wurst containing pieces of cheese) from the German Deli stall at the fantastic Covent Garden Night Market earlier this year.

'German Deli' isn't a restaurant as I thought but a website where you can order all kinds of German food and have it delivered to you. Check out the site here . As well as the Käsekrainer they sell all kinds of Wurst, German mustards and other sausagey products. Well worth a visit.

I simmered the Käsekrainer for about 5 minutes, which was a little longer than recommended, and served them with baked rolls and a mustard I hadn't tried before, Colman's American Mild.

I mentioned Käsekrainer in an earlier review for Kipferl in Smithfields. Apparently emmental is the cheese usually added to the sausage as it has a higher melting point. After cooking these Käsekrainer, the cheese inside had completely melted so either I cooked them for too long or it was a different kind of cheese inside.

Not that it mattered; the melted cheese turned into a sticky, gooey, savoury sauce that worked beautifully with the pork. Cheese is never an obvious accompaniment to sausage and bread but here it really works. I can see how a Käsekrainer would make a fantastic street snack.

As for the mustard, it had a nice tanginess similar to French's but without the dubious, radioactive colouring. Not quite the German hot dog stand mustard I was after but really nice nonetheless and a good choice if you're making American style hot dogs.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Benugo, Great Portland Street

Benugo has been around for about 10 years but this is the first time I've visited.

The shop, which specializes is grilled sandwiches, has a deli feel to it and is quite spacious. They have recently introduced free wi-fi for customers too.

I'm not sure if I got the ordering system right on my visit. Do you order you food at the deli counter section and then pay at the till? Or order at the till? Whichever it is, the system is a bit confusing and you seem to end up waiting in two queues and then milling around at the end as you wait for your food.

I ordered a cumberland sausage sandwich in a crusty roll, part of the breakfast menu.

I suppose it shows that appearances can be deceptive. Despite Benugo's funky, designer look the sandwich was a let down. A bland, squashed, flaky bread roll concealed a sliced cumberland sausage that was in need of a bit more heating up. Not much love of food was apparent. I might have expected something like this from an anonymous, side-street cafe but not from somewhere with such a bright, cosmopolitan image.

As always with a negative review, I can't slam an entire establishment based soley on its sausage sandwich. For all I know Benugo's other food could be outstanding. But for the purposes of this blog, I have to put Benugo in the 'don't bother' pile (unless you really need somewhere with free wi-fi).

1 out of 5

Monday, September 15, 2008

Leon (various locations)

I discovered recently that the trendy, 'fast food that is healthy' chain Leon has an extensive breakfast menu.

Besides a variety of porridges, yoghurts, fruit and smoothies, they also sell a sausage bap, a bacon bap, a mushroom and tomato bap and an 'I Love England' bap which is basically all of the above combined into one sandwich.

Naturally, I went for the sausage bap:

What we have here is a wholemeal bun encasing a couple of thin pork sausages with a homemade-style tomato sauce.

The bread was quite dense and I'm not sure its musty, wholemeal taste combined very well with the tomato sauce. As for the sauce, it lacked the tartness you normally get with ketchup and seemed a little watery.

The sausages themselves were pretty good but were small and their flavour was drowned out somewhat by the sauce and the bread. All in all it was just a mush of flavours that didn't really compliment one another.

It felt healthy but was a little unsatisfying. The concept behind Leon is that you order your food at a counter and get it quickly - like a fast food restaurant - but the dishes themselves are designed to be as unlike junk food as possible (healthy, made with fresh, natural ingredients etc.).

So if you want to eat healthily, I think Leon is a great choice but I sometimes find their food lacks the taste hit that makes 'bad' fast food so popular. Their evening menu looks a little more promising.

If you want a sausage sandwich from a chain such as this, I would recommend Eat's toasted sausage muffin instead.

2.5 out of 5. Guilt-free but not very tasty.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Enjoy, Berners Street

Having reviewed a lot of places in Soho and Covent Garden, I thought it was time to have a look at the area north of Oxford Street.

Enjoy is a new-looking sandwich shop at the very top end of Berners Street. It's at the edge of a big cluster of restaurants and cafes that stretches all along the eastern end of Goodge Street, leading to Charlotte Street. If you work in this part of town you're spoilt for places to eat.

I ordered a sausage sandwich in a griddled panini bun:

Fairly simple but nice. The bread had a touch of fakery to it - it was the kind with the griddle pattern pre-seared on - but it was fresh enough and it toasted well. The sausage also seemed fresh I was surprised at the solid, meaty texture and decent herbiness.

It's a little out of the way but this is a pleasant, clean cafe with nice staff.

3.5 out of 5. Not a standout but you can do a lot worse.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Get yourself down to the Covent Garden night market!

Every Thursday and Friday evening for the next few weeks, Covent Garden's piazza is hosting a fantastic night-time food and produce market. I was able to pop down there last night and I can report it's well worth a visit.

Fresh oysters, roast beef rolls, roast pork sandwiches (carved from a whole spit-roast pig), Jewish deli food, cakes, ice creams, breads and chocolates are just some of the goodies on offer.

Sausage-wise, there's a German Deli stand selling a variety of pre-packed Teutonic sausages as well hot Bratwurst rolls with sauerkraut (review to follow, hopefully). I bought a packet of kaesekrainer from here to try at home and will review them at a later date.

Carluccio's has a stand selling a variety of dishes including Italian salsicce sandwiches and there are several stands selling chorizo and salami.

Another stand worth checking out is Manor Farm and their game sausages. I bought two from the tireless girl working on the stand who looked like she'd been grilling sausages all day: the duck, orange and apricot, and the venison and red wine. The Venison sausage was interesting - its tastes exactly like a hamburger with a slight livery note which is is quite bizarre. The duck sausage I found a bit baffling as, try as I might, I could not taste duck, orange or apricot in it. I'm convinced I was given the wrong sausage as one of the guys behind the stand assured me the sausage is supposed to contain 65% duck. Never mind, I'll go back for a second try.

UPDATE: On my second visit I tried 3 more sausage sandwiches and can recommend all of them: The bratwurst hot dog from the German Deli stand; The pigeon and peach sausage in a roll from the Manor Farm Game stall and the Tuscan sausage sandwich from the Carluccio's stall (photos at top).

If you get there early enough there are also some cookery demonstrations (details here). But if it's just the food you're interested in, here's a full list of stallholders and some photos from last night. Enjoy!:

Simpson’s Quality Meat – Prime and interesting game including, pigeon, venison, wild boar, and the currently ‘trendy’ grey squirrel
Thames fisherman who sources all his fish from the Thames
Melt chocolates who’s famous truffles take 5 days to make
Willie Wonka will also be trading with his chocolate Venezuelan Black

Hot and Cold Food
Northfield Farm – burgers, sausages and fresh farm meat
Rainha Santa – hog roast
German Deli – german deli selection
Crème de la Crepe – gourmet crepes
Carluccios – Italian deli
Just Food – New company making seasonal produce puff pastry tartlets
Clos Maggiore – French produce, also will do kitchen demo

Fresh Produce
Sporeboys – raw and cooked mushrooms
Ash Green Organics – organic veg and fruit, and apple juice
Tomato Stall – fresh tomatoes direct from IoW farm
City Veggies – seed grown culinary herbs in pots and window boxes

Cheese and Deli
Norbiton Fine Cheese – small farm cheeses
Grove Farm – dairy farm specialises in unpasteurised produce
Rowan Tree Goats – Goat produce
Iberica London – Spanish produce, live carving
The French Store – French staples and store cupboard
Prelibato – Specialist Italian deli – fresh truffles
Le Marche du Quartier - paella
Wild Beef – wild beef from Devon moors
76 Portland Place Restaurant – head chef to do seafood stall and demo
McManus Oysters – fresh oysters
Primal Snacks – locally sourced biltong
Derreensillach Smokehouse – oak smoked fish from Ireland

Specialist Produce
The Olive Bar – olives, feta, other deli foods
Apulia Blend – Italian oils, truffles and vinegars
English Preserves – small batch makers of handmade jams
Herbs & Spice – spices and herbs, oils and chillies
De-Gustibus – handmade breads
Teapig – specialist exotic teas

Patisserie, Cakes and Pastry
Artisan Foods – fresh baked biscuits, tarts and cakes
Violet Cakes – cupcakes (2 weeks)
Lavender Bakery – alternatives to cupcakes
Primrose Bakery – cupcakes (2 weeks)
Gourmet Candy Company – sweets
Cinnamon Tree Bakery – trade English biscuits
Amesha Sweets – Middle East pastries
Rummuna – Jamaican pickles and preserves
Simply Ice Cream

Choc Star – van serving chocolate drinks and treats ( 3 weeks)
CA PHE Vietnam – Vietnamese coffee
Quaffs – specialist bottled beers
Burgil Coffee – specialist coffee and soft drinks

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Diner, Ganton Street

I've always loved the idea of American diners. It's not just the way they are glamourised in movies and US TV shows (although that's part of it), the combination of the open all hours, drop-in atmosphere and the wide range of dishes on offer puts most British greasy spoon cafes to shame.

Occasionally, attempts are made to import the diner concept to the UK with varying degrees of success. Ed's Easy Diner is an example of a UK American diner concept that doesn't quite work (food not up to scratch, too 'themey') whilst Balans Cafe is one that does (albeit in a niche way due to its Soho/Old Compton Street location and hip, media clientele).

The Diner, on Ganton Street is a fairly new establishment - part of a chain - that attempts to get the right mix of good, diner-style food and a laid back atmosphere:

That's not to say that The Diner isn't 'themey' because it is. The interior is decked out in American retro and the overall look is part bowling alley, part Hard Rock Cafe but it's not overpowering and the good thing is that a lot of attention to detail has gone into the menu as well.

You can check it out in full at the official Diner website here.

So what did I order? The bacon chilli cheese dog, of course:

As you can see, this hot dog is not suitable for someone on a diet. Unless that diet is one that requires you to eat large amounts of fat and protein. It's a fully loaded dog that's unashamedly stodgy. First impressions can be deceiving though because underneath the cheese topping (which is nicely melted and not smothering) there is some surprisingly good chilli (I noticed they don't spell 'chili' the American way, with one L, but I suppose that's allowed).

The flavour was spot on and there were actual, recognizable meaty bits in it not just the boring, industrial mince you normally get. I think this is down to the fact that The Diner serves chilli as a standalone dish and takes some pride in serving 'the real thing', not some vague slop that just looks like chilli. The fried bacon bits play an incidental role but they combine well with the cheese and chilli, adding a salty, porky flavour.

Biting through the toppings you get to a moist, grilled wiener that is not bad at all. With so many toppings, the sausage can only ever be part of a mixture of flavours but you can still tell the casing is not too tough and the meat not too dry. The white bun was fresh and had that glossy, glazed coating that seems to add a certain subtle something to the taste and bite. Very nice.

Overall, I find this hot dog hard to fault. The only negative point I could make is the price: For £6.50 (that's around $13 US) I'm sure any establishment could sell you a top of the range, organic sausage in really good, freshly-baked bread. To charge that amount for what would be considered a basic food item in the States seems extravagant - it's almost like you have to pay a premium to get something cheap. This hot dog and a Coke, plus service, came to nearly a tenner.

However, if there is a better chilli cheese dog to be had in London then I'd love to know where I can find it.

4 out of 5 Well executed but pricey.