Friday, October 29, 2010

Malmesbury King named Best British Banger

The British magazine Country Life has just held a nationwide competition to find the UK's best sausage and the banger that emerged victorious was the magnificently-named Malmesbury King from Wiltshire.

The speciality of butcher Michael Thomas, the sausage is said to contain coarse pork shoulder flavoured with rosemary, thyme, parsley and ginger.

Sounds gorgeous. The winning sausage will now appear on the menu in Bar Boulud in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London (in a sandwich, I hope!).

This, the only coarse-cut sausage to make the shortlist, is made to Mr Thomas's own recipe, using a shoulder-cut of pork (specially sourced from pigs with good conformation), minced just once and hand-mixed with rosemary, thyme, parsley and a sprinkling of ginger, before being piped into natural hog casings. The judges deemed the Malmesbury King to have the most pleasing, rustic, herby appearance and a satisfying, piquant taste. Mr Thomas now has the honour of the Malmesbury King being served in Bar Boulud.

Link: Country Life

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Greggs (nationwide)

Photo: avtost

This is an interesting one. Greggs the Bakers are present on just about every high street in Britain. Compared to the chains I've previously reviewed, Greggs is much more widespread and prevalent but it is perceived by many as being of inferior quality to say, Pret a Manger or Eat.

This is unfair I think. Their products may be made on a large scale but that is not to say they are bad and in fact studying the Greggs' nutritional information shows that for a number of items Pret a Manger's equivalents are actually less healthy and higher in calories and fat (see the two companies' egg or tuna sandwiches).

Back in February Greggs officially launched a new breakfast range but it was only recently that I noticed the new menu and was able to try their sausage breakfast roll

What a pleasant surprise. In most small cafes, sausages are cooked, allowed to cool, stored in a chilled cabinet and then reheated when served. This results in sausages with a compressed, airless, paste-like texture and a tremendous amount of taste and subtlety is lost.

In contrast, the Greggs sausages must have been cooked fresh that morning. They were wonderfully moist inside, with a springy, satisfying, tasty filling. I wouldn't say they were gourmet sausages and the salt content is perhaps on the high side (3.8 grams for the entire roll), but for what is in effect a mass produced sandwich (on a par with a McDonalds hamburger) the quality and flavour are impressive.

The bread roll is, as you would expect from a bakery, fresh and pleasant to eat. The only condiment choices are tomato or brown sauce but they are genuine Heinz ketchup and HP - another plus point.

All in all, this is a great ambassador for the sausage and bread combo. Importantly, we are talking here about a good quality sausage and bread roll that can be bought on just about every high street in the UK. That's something I've been hoping for since I started this blog, all those years ago!

5 out of 5. A very good sandwich with top marks for availability.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Trailer - 'A Connecticut Hot Dog Tour'

Well, who would have thought that one day I would be posting a trailer on here? :-)

This video was sent to me from to promote their new DVD 'A Connecticut Hot Dog Tour'. it looks like a fantastic little independently-made documentary about the many and varied types of hot dogs that are available in Connecticut, and the love affair people of New England have with the classic sausage and bread combo.

As it's a trailer, we only get to see glimpses of the various hot dogs that appear in the film but they do look delicious. From the webiste:

From a hot dog boat that travels the Connecticut River to a roadside shack built in 1872 that allows customers to carve their names on the walls, A Connecticut Hot Dog Tour, Directed by Mark Kotlinski, visits some of Connecticut’s distinctive hot dog stands.

A Connecticut Hot Dog Tour travels across the state to visit outstanding hot dog shops like Blackie’s Hot Dog Stand in Cheshire – where the family’s secret hot relish recipe transformed the former gas station into a hot dog institution that’s been around since 1928. We go from Capitol Lunch in New Britain to sample the “meat sauce” that’s made it famous since 1929, to the flame-grilled hot dogs at Glenwood Drive-In in Hamden, to the original Frankie’s location in Waterbury, an open air stand where the local hot dog franchise got it’s start.

This trailer along with a few selected clips form the DVD can be seen on CToriginals' Youtube channel.