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Review: Marks and Spencer Three Bird Roast Sandwich Pack

My love of a good Christmas sandwich so no secret. Through December, I’ll trough my way through close on my own body weight in of turkey-based sarnies. Hot, cold, in a sub, in a roll, if it’s got turkey in it then it’s got my name on it. But there’s a new contender in town. A Christmas treat so good, I’ve actually written a blog about it. A blog about a sandwich. Maybe lockdown is finally getting to me.

But, I digress. Today’s post-epicurian delight is none other than the Marks and Spencer Third Bird Roast Sandwich Pack. And what a delight it is.

The first piece of goodness is that, in contrast to other “three bird” things this sandwich pack does not try to wedge together multiple hitherto individual animals into some sort of Russian Doll chimera more appropriate for Doctor Moreau’s operating table than as your Christmas centrepiece. No, this is simply three different sandwiches, each with a little something different to offer.

Sandwich One: The Duck One.

Soft duck, very similar in consistency to that present in the stalwart M&S duck wrap, and a nice sweet fruity base. It’s the very existence of this sandwich that’s interesting. Pork would have possibly been a more obvious choice, pigs in blankets perhaps, but the duck has a luxurious and almost grown-up feel to it, like when the posh people down the road tell you they are having goose instead of turkey this year. (It is my long-held belief that only a small percentage of people who say they are having goose actually have it, like people who say they’ve read Stephen Hawkings “A Brief History of Time”)

On it’s own this sandwich might not stand out but here, it’s like that one singer in a boyband that keeps all the others in tune and delivers the difficult bit of the harmony.

Overall: 8/10

Sandwich Two: The Turkey One

Very little can go wrong here and very little does. Marks and Spencer always deliver a top-notch Christmas sandwich and this one is straight out the same sandwich mould (if sandwiches came from moulds).

A decent amount of turkey, solid application of cranberry sauce, and plenty of stuffing that’s on the right side of stodgy so you feel like you’re eating something reassuringly robust and not something that will still be working its way through your digestive tract at Easter.

If I’ve got one complaint here, it’s the absence of a little bacon. I know it’s there in the Christmas turkey sarnie M&S are offering, so it does feel a little bit like you’re getting short-changed when it’s absent here. Still, plenty to like and a very enjoyable eat.

Overall: 9/10 (One mark lost for missing bacon)

Sandwich Three: The Chicken Dinner One

What? I saved the chicken one until the end? Well, no, I didn’t when I ate these but I should have done and will next time. The Chicken Dinner sandwich is the secret star of the show here, a little piece of Christmas tucked away between the reliable turkey and the posh-as-the-neighbours duck.

What makes this sandwich so good is that it really feels like the kind of sandwich you make for yourself on Boxing Day, chucking in a little of everything until the whole thing requires Scooby-Doo levels of scaffolding and threatens to come apart as you eat it. The M&S version may not quite reach such prodigious heights, but it will hit you right in your nostalgia gland as you bite into it. Soft bit here, crunchy bit there, nice bit of mayo going on to stick it all together… this is a proper sarnie and the most festive feeling of the bunch.

Overall: 10/10


I never thought I’d get into writing food reviews but if this is the sort of thing that floats your culinary boat, leave a comment below or share this post online and I’ll be back with more “sounds like a posh food review but is really about a pre-packed sandwich” blogs in the future.

Why I love my Jono Knife

My Jono Knife is probably one of my favourite bits of kitchen kit. It’s one of the first “cheffy” things I bought when I started cooking and baking and it’s really useful. I’ve got a lot of kitchen kit that lives on the shelf for weeks at a time without being used, but the Jono knife gets an outing every couple of days at least.

It’s a simple idea; take a super thin blade that would be like trying to cut bread with a fencing foil under normal circumstances and bolt it to a bow ended handle so it doesn’t wiggle around.

The result is a blade so thin and sharp that it that zips easily through bread without compressing the loaf or scattering a metric ton of crumbs everywhere. You can slice bread far thinner with this knife than any other I’ve come across, even the very cheffy bread knife in my knife set.

If you like a fresh loaf or do any home bread baking then I’d highly recommend getting a Jono knife.

Panasonic SD2511 Tips

About a year or so ago I replaced my faithful second-hand Breadman Bread Maker with a shiny new Panasonic SD2511. And… it’s been a rocky road. Despite following the manual and the included recipes slavishly, it’s taken me over a year to get a decent loaf out of it.

Caveat: I take long breaks between loaves when things aren’t going well, so this is probably a tale of twelve loaves maximum.

The major issue I have with the Panasonic SD2511 is that it produces very damp, doughy bread. It just doesn’t seem to get hot enough for long enough to really bake the bread through and all my early loaves had a damp, under-baked core. Pretty disgusting to eat, if it was edible at all.

Finally, this week, I was able to get a good quality loaf out of the machine – hopefully this won’t be the last time!

Here’s what I’ve learnt about how to handle the Panasonic SD2511.

Tip 1: Don’t put the wet ingredients on top

The manual insists that you put the dry ingredients in first and then the wet ingredients on top. This always seemed weird to me; it was the opposite of what my Breadman asked you to do and always meant closing the lid on a mix with the distinct look of… well… vomit. Half a jug of water dumped straight onto flour is just not a pretty sight.

Tip 2: Decrease the amount of water

The basic white bread recipe for the SD2511 calls for 350ml of water to 500g for flour. I knocked that back to 300ml to see what would happen and the loaf was all the better for it.

Tip 3: Bake it on “Dark” mode

I’ve started always setting the crust to “Dark” no matter what. It doesn’t result in particularly dark crust in my SD2511 but, combined with reducing the water content and putting the ingredients in contrary to the instructions it seems to have the “magic touch” of getting the loaf baked through.

Tip 4: Don’t be afraid of using a bread mix

There are some great bread mixes out there that have everything you need except water right inside the packet. I’m not enough of a purist to worry about using one of these (if I were that hardcore, I wouldn’t use a breadmaker at all). I think the key to success with these is that everything is pre-mixed so it gives you a better chance of getting a good rise out of the dough. (This may be helped by reversing the ingredients order?)

Share your Panasonic SD2511 Tips!

This machine has a great reputation and lots of great reviews online so I’ve always suspected mine either has some sort of quirk, a slightly lazy element, or that I’ve just been doing something wrong. If you’ve got some Panasonic SD2511 tips of your own, I’d love to hear them!

Perfectly Simple Pancakes

Ingredients  

Version 1

  • 1 Egg
  • 2 oz Plain Flour
  • 4 oz Milk

Version 2

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 egg and 1 yolk
  • 300ml milk

Version 3

Same as version 1, but use self-raising flour to get a fluffier pancake.

Instructions 

  1. Make your batter.
  2. Heat up frying pan with a bit of oil and butter. Don’t let the butter burn.
  3. Pour batter into pan, covering about 1/3 of the surface area.
  4. Let batter spread out, tip the pan from side to side to get it moving.
  5. Bubbles should appear at the edges pretty quickly. When they reach the middle the pancake is done on that side.
  6. Lift and flip with a spatula or toss it in the pan if confidence is high.
  7. Cook the other side for about half the time of the first.
  8. Flip again to check it is done.

Simple Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 120 g Butter
  • 60 g Caster Sugar
  • 180 g Plain Flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth
  3. Add the flour a bit at a time and incorporate into the mixture
  4. Roll out the dough approx 1cm thick on a well-floured surface
  5. Cut out equally sized shapes and put on a tray – refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown
  7. Dust with caster sugar if you’re that way inclined

Minted Lamb Burgers

Ingredients

Burgers

  • 4 Brioche Buns
  • 500 g Lamb Mince
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Mint Chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Oregano

Mushroom Toppers

  • 4 Portobello Mushrooms
  • 4 slices Emmenthal Cheese

Instructions

Burgers

  • Mix together minced lamb, onion, mint, garlic, oregano and season generously.
  • Divide the mixture into fourths and shape into burger patties.
  • Brush each side with olive oil.
  • Grill under a high heat, or cook on the barbecue, for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.

Mushroom Toppers

  • At the same time as cooking the burgers, cook the mushrooms in a pan with a very small amount of oil for around 10 minutes, turning occasionally, and adding cheese to finish.
  • Assemble burger and cheesy mushroom in a toasted brioche bun with a dollop of minted mayonnaise.