Saturday evening commnced with food at Cardiff’s Chapter Art centre and a lovely pint of Kaltenberg Hell. Here’s the harissa chicken burger with fries, freshly made coleslaw and sour cream. Although very tasty, considering it was meant to have been flavoured with harissa I was expecting a lot more of a spicy kick to it.
After finishing our burgers attention turned of where to go next. A surprising suggestion was a visit to Pontypridd (just on the outskirts of Cardiff heading towards the Welsh Valleys). Anyone who is familiar with Pontypridd or to give it its more glamorous nickname ‘Ponty’, may be wondering WHY? Well this was my exact thought however I was assured that a trip to the Bunch of Grapes pub would be well worth the £4 train fare, possible bare-knuckle fight with post-rugby international day revellers and colourful locals.
So after a short train journey we arrived in Ponty and proceeded to walk for about 20 minutes through the main town centre. Out of nowhere at the end of a residential street appeared the very traditional looking Bunch of Grapes pub
Inside it was a relief to find not a single Fosters, Carling or Strongbow in sight. Instead the wonderful Brooklyn Beer resided on draught (Brooklyn Brown Ale and Pale Ale were available in bottled form) alongside a selection of Otley ales, Sierra Nevada and local guest ales.
After several beers, attention turned of course to more food. Being late at night, and after already consuming a burger and fries earlier in the evening, somehow the ‘confit leg of mallard’ didn’t seem appropriate. Instead two cheese platters were ordered and quickly devoured. Delicious.
Butter. Not Cheese.
The Bunch of Grapes is well worth checking out and there’s a lot of events coming up including a cheese night, cooking classes and a even a live male voice choir this coming weekend!
Words & Pics: hypervaluevalue
Merry Christmas from The Sandwich Club! Hope you’ve all been feasting well.
This year I had my first attempt at home made mustard as presents for some of the family. It’s gone down really well and I’ve been pretty pleased with the results.
Straight after making and bottling, the mustard was quite overpowering and the ale was very prominent, but after leaving it to settle for a week the flavours have mellowed and blended into a pretty tasty mustard. It was fairly straightforward to make and the Sandwich Club will definitely be experimenting more with home made mustards in 2012!
Ale Mustard – Ingredients:
1 bottle of real ale (I chose Hobgoblin)
yellow mustard seeds
black mustard seeds
white wine vinegar
ground nutmeg and coriander
Apply to beef and enjoy!
One of my best pals is currently bumming around in Melbourne and after the sandwich clubs pulled pork effort they wanted to give it a go. I think they have outdone the clubs effort, the rub sounds incredible! From Melbourne:
@thesandwichclub has been bugging me for weeks to send him something on the sandwich experiments I’ve had over the last few weeks. I’m glad I waited, as this was the best I’ve ever made. FACT.
This is more of a recipe than a write up. Cook it as you see fit, but I’ve given the directions as I did it.
Pulled Pork Rolls – Stuffs 8 – 10 people
Total time – about 6 ½ hours (EPIC) @150/160° C. It didn’t need to be that long but it was sunny so I went for a few afternoon pints and left it. However, the longer it’s in, the more tender the meat.
The Meat – Pork Shoulder 6 pounds, roughly 2.7kg, about the same size a Shetland Ponies back. Keep it on the bone if the butcher gives you the option.
The Rub – 3 tbl spoons ground black pepper, 3 tbl spoons sea salt, 3 tbl spoons of soft brown sugar, 2 tbl spoons of ground cumin Seeds, 2 tbl spoons of ground fennel seeds, 2 tbl spoons of cayenne pepper, 2 tbl spoons of hot paprika, 2 tea spoons of olive oil
The mop – 1 cup (235ml) of cider vinegar, ½ cup of water, 1 tbl spoon of ground black pepper and salt, 2 tbl spoons of Worcestershire sauce, teaspoon of veg oil.
- Marinade the pork in the rub, preferably over night, but I would say at least 2 Hrs.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (or 175°C if you’re cooking it quicker, say 4 hrs total). Stick it in the oven in a roasting pan/dish sat in the mop (to about a 1/3 of the way up the meat, so you may not need all of it), covered with foil. I sat the pork on some fennel and garlic, it braised down nicely in the juice/mop, and went well in the roll. Try it.
- Go out and have a cycle, drink a couple of pints, maybe eat some other food. I went for sneaky egg and bacon burger in Port Melbourne. Tasty. Sorry, no photo.
- After about 4 ½ hours I drained the juice in to a pan and separated the fennel (heat the fennel back up when you serve). Then baste the meat in the juice and put it back in at 150. I left it like this for another 1 ½ hours as I went for a few more pints.
- I then basted the meat again and uncovered it for ½ an hour.
- Take the meat out and let it rest for 20 minutes, or as long as you can wait.
- Flake out the meat, serve in soft seeded rolls with the fennel and the mop drizzled on it, and anything you want. I went for a homemade coleslaw, potato salad, and a bowl of salad.
Not sure how to rate it as I made it myself and ate it at home but…..Taste 5/5, Cost 4/5 considering how much I have left over for the week. I can’t really rate the establishment, or the presentation. I don’t want to rate the company in case I offend my house mates. So I’ll just give an extra general enjoyment rating of 4/5, would have been 4 ½ if the sun was still up, and 5 if it was cooked for me. So…..all in all, 13/15.
Here at the Sandwich Club we are huge fans of pulled pork. In the USA they do pulled pork and they do it well, it’s something us Brits haven’t really got to grips with yet.
For the uninitiated, pulled pork is a very long slow way of cooking the shoulder (often referred to as the Boston butt) at a low temperature, this can be done in the oven or often on a barbecue.
For some reason there aren’t many places that do pulled pork in the UK and to the best of our knowledge no where that does it in Cardiff. One of the best we’ve come across is Bodean’s in London, we advise you to check it out.
So, we finally got round to having our first attempt at cooking our own pulled pork supplemented by our own homemade BBQ sauce.
The recipe was as follows:
First mix up your rub, we went for a simple one of chilli flakes, mustard seeds, salt and freshly ground black pepper. This then needs to be rubbed well all over the pork shoulder. Placing the pork shoulder into a baking tray we then poured over some cider and white wine vinegar and scattered over chopped onions and garlic. The shoulder then needs to be wrapped in parchment paper and foil and put into a pre-heated oven, ours was set to 170℃/Gas 3. This cooks for 3 hours before removing the paper and foil and cooking for a further hour (times will vary depending on the size of the shoulder you are using).
For the BBQ sauce we followed a recipe by James Martin. Fry onion and garlic in olive oil with chilli, fennel seeds and sugar. Add soy sauce, ketchup and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.
To serve you will need to ’pull’ the pork by putting a fork in the shoulder and shredding the meat into small pieces using another fork. Heap into buns with the BBQ sauce and coleslaw.
There you have it, Pulled Pork!
No doubt we’ll be attempting this again, experimenting with different rubs. If you have your own pulled pork recipes we’d love to hear from you.
A selection of recent eats from The Sandwich Club:
Afternoon tea at Waterloo Tea Rooms
Tuna, mayo, lemon, cucumber, capers, salad sandwich
Bread from Cardiff Indoor Market
Scrambled egg, chorizo, rocket on seasame seed bagel
Leftover Homemade Meatballs, plus…
…Roasted Vegetables, equals…
…Meatball and Roasted Vegetable sandwich!
Roasted vegetable lentils with anchovies, capers and rocket on toast
The Cardiff Devil @ The New York Deli (choice of hot sauce was level 7)
Chorizo, chicken, honey mustard bagel
Tomato, spinach, anchovy, olive & gorgonzola pasta
In a slightly off topic opening paragraph I’m going to tell you about an activity that was meant to form part of this summer. It was sometime last year that myself and a friend decided on creating and instigating an indie-punk bowls team, the perfect ‘sport’ for those long sunny British summer evenings. To date, this has not happened…
This summer’s weather can once again be described as ‘predictably unpredictable’ and not ideal conditions for a regular regime of indie-punk bowling.
So, in a hopeful attempt at bringing some European sunniness to the Sandwich Club, it’s been decided to round up the main contenders in the supermarket-own-brand-ideal-for-any-barbeque-stubby-bottle-beer category.
It was Tesco Biere Speciale that started it all off for us, and now it comes with the welcome addition of an American style ‘screw’ cap. As demonstrated here:
To summarise some of the other main contenders we’ve put together a table of vital statistics, including the king of continental lagers Stella Artois as a comparison.
So there we go. Seen as we have written an article involving alcohol, we feel obliged to give some sort of health warning:
REMEMBER TO ALWAYS PLAY BOWLS IRRESPONSIBLY.
Last week the Sandwich Club experimented with an ingredient that is often overlooked and hated – anchovies. However the humble anchovy tastes so good on pizza, adds depth to pasta dishes, and works really well in sandwiches.
After a brief bit of brainstorming and some internet research, two sandwiches were decided upon:
- Anchovies, Egg, Cream Cheese, Rocket, Pepper
- Anchovies, Cherry Tomato, Cheese (mature cheddar used here, but Manchego would work great), Olives, Capers, Rocket
In pictures it went a bit like this:
One half of the sandwich club made a trip to Manchester for a friends stag celebrations. The weekend started with a Frunch (Fresh for lunch) trip on the way to Cardiff Central station. The Fresh special of the day was cherry tomatoes marinated in roasted garlic oil, mint, capers and red onion with wild rocket and chicken. Superb as usual.
The train journey seemed to take a tour past several English football stadia. The afternoon of ‘stadium spotting’ was supplemented by several cans of a well known Jamaican lager and an amazing slice of Fresh chocolate brownie.
On arrival in Manchester we checked into a hostel that lived up to every ‘Mad-chester’ indie stereotype*
There were many high/low-lights of the weekend, quality ales, prolonged heavy drinking, a hungover amateur level 6 a side football match, an extremely dire Welsh footballing performance, a jockey outfit, free toast, and a brilliant, if not somewhat bizzarly set, sub-£5-curry**.
Sunday morning and with hangovers onboard we went on the search for suitable nourishment. We stopped at the Koffee Pot. I had been there before on a previous trip to Manchester some years ago. It was very good then and again it didnt disappoint.
I originally ordered the goats cheese and pepper hot ‘posh’ sandwich. This comes on ciabatta bread with fries, dill pickle and coleslaw. When placing my order I was informed that only breakfast items are served on the weekend. With this in mind, I went instead for the Smoked haddock rarebit on toasted crumpets with tabasco tomatoes and poached egg.
It was a superb breakfast and totally justifed our decision to leave the other half of our party at Wetherspoons. We left Manchester wishing for a swift end to our hangovers, at least we got to enjoy the return leg of National Rails English football stadia tour on the way home.
*the Mick Hucknall jacuzzi was out of order, probably
**plastic bucket seats, an owner who was angered by an order of rice, and no chicken curry
After watching various food programmes and reading recipe books and blogs, there has been one sandwich that has cropped up on a number of occasions - The muffuletta.
It originated from the round Sicilian sesame bread and later developed in New Orleans into the sandwich we recognise today.
The traditional muffuletta starts off with a focaccia-type bread being sliced horizontally. The bread is covered with a healthy drizzle of olive oil, a marinated olive salad called ’Giardiniera‘, meats such as capicola, salami, peperoni and ham, emmental or provolone cheese, and then cut into quarters.
Our take on the muffuletta was as follows:
Poppy seed bloomer
Olives stuffed with pimento
Smoked Brunswick ham
3 types of german salami
Spanish Manchego cheese
Salt & Pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Firstly, slice the bread lengthways.
Drizzle with oil. We added chopped olives rather than the full on Giardiniera.
Add the ham and salami.
Layer the peppers, artichoke hearts and season. Then pile up the tomato, grated carrot and rocket.
Add the Manchego cheese and spread coleslaw and mustard
Next is to wrap in grease proof paper and compress down. We chose a full kettle as ballast.
This needs to be left for the flavours to infuse and the juices to soak up into the bread.
Slice into quarters and serve.
As we approach the final few days of British Pie week, we felt there was one company in Cardiff that needed to be celebrated. Today’s final leg of the sandwich clubs pie journey ended with a trip to one of the Clark’s Pies bakeries. It’s worth reading the history behind the development of the company that dates back to 1909 and the heritage of the brand is still prominent in today’s product.
Choosing to visit the shop on Cowbridge Road, it has a minimal aesthetic with a small menu that consists of the Clark’s Original large or small pie, served either hot or cold. The prices are very welcoming and the most expensive pie is a Clark’s Original large hot pie for £1.10.
These pies have remained relatively unchanged from the original recipe and are immediately recognisable by the substantial shortcrust pastry finish. On this trip the sandwich club order several Clark’s Original large hot pies with a beef filling and gravy base.
Very excited about our purchases we head to a park close to the shop and sit down on a bench ready for consumption. With a slight chill in the air, the warmth of the pies was certainly welcomed. The buttery shortcrust pastry is the perfect casing for the warm beef filling that is equally tasty. It’s easy to see why the recipe has remained unchanged. Clark’s Pies is a Cardiff institution and it is definitely worth taking a trip to one of their shops to experience the true heritage and sample one damn fine pie.