Well the dog’s made itself at home! Franks “Make at Home” kits.

With even vaccinations seemingly not offering much hope of normality returning anytime soon (the light at the end of the tunnel turning out to be a high speed (s)train) and with it the reopening of hospitality (I fear Easter at the very earliest and have heard tales recently of it potentially being as late as July, which surely can’t be right – what will be left to open by then! 😱), takeaways and cook at home offerings remain the only options for us as consumers (to get our food fixes from our favourite places) and for the industry (to generate any semblance of income – God it must be so hard for people in that sector!!).

I do, however, rather like the sort of half way house that the raft of new “(h)eat at home” options offer. These allow most of the work to be done for you, but that little element of finishing off gives credence to a claim of “well I cooked last night!”.

Such an offering is that from a lunch time favourite of mine (back in the good old days of normality, when I worked in an open plan office in the centre of town rather than my spare bedroom/prison cell – cue the music to the Prisoner) in the form of Franks – purveyors of Cardiff’s finest hot dogs. 

Oh how I miss the underrated pleasure of being free to go into town for a mooch around and a spot of lunch.

As the sorts who don’t let something like a global pandemic slow them down, the people behind Franks have (with terrier like tenacity) pivoted sweetly into the home delivery segment of the market with a very fine looking offering of “make the dog at home”

I ordered the kit for four,

which contained, on top of the four franks

and buns, their house sauce,ketchup, mustard, gherkins, fresh onions, crispy onions, the kitchen sink, sauerkraut and jalapenos (£25).

I also added (for good measure and because I am a total pig) the cheese sauce and bacon pack (£5).

No point going half measures these days is there and this all seemed enough to make “(whose) a good dog (oh yes you are)” unless I made a total dog’s dinner of it.

Instructions as to cooking and assembly were easy to follow (even for me),with the franks simmered (plumping them up)and then finished off in the frying pan and the buns fried in a little butter in the pan to crisp up the edges a bit

and then steamed to finish them off.

I went fully loaded with both my dogs and thought the end result looked pretty good (if lacking somewhat in finnese).Cheese sauce, mustard, bacon bits, crispy onions and jalapenos on dog number one and mustard, raw onions, crispy onions, gherkins jalapenos, house sauce and saurkraut on dog number two. I like to call dog 2 the ” Doggie Paddle” as everyone is in the pool. Dog 1 is more tricky to name, but perhaps the “Cheesy Chowhound”.

So to the important thing, how does it compare to the real thing bought from Franks in the market?

Pretty well I have to say – if not quite the same (I am but a mere amateur as against the Franks pros). The franks themselves had the requisite snap and the dual cooking process (simmer then fry) worked a treat. The dual process of frying and steaming in terms of the buns also operated to gave them a really nice texture.

Took me back to happier days of wandering around the market with a Franks hotdog in hand and cheese sauce and mustard in beard.

The booze

With the cacophany of toppings I applied, a pairing is not easy. Beer is oft seen as the natural pairing for a hot dog, but I think cider works rather well (with its natural affinity to pork – the dogs here being pork rather than beef).

This number from Pilton Cider (both  Pop “n” Hops and the Bottleshops in Cardiff have a goods selection of ciders, including from Pilton Cider, I believe) was my choice and it was a pretty good pairing (if I say so myself). 

Bittersweet apple and citrus notes, with a dry sourness and just a touch of funk (more Kool and the Gang than full on James Brown), this worked particularly well in cutting through the richness of the cheesy chowhound.

The verdict

I have been a big fan of Franks since they opened up in Cardiff’s indoor market and I have sorely missed my Franks hit of a lunch time since being forced to work from home.

It is lovely to be able to get them to make at home and I like to think I made a decent fist of it.  The easy to follow instuctions meant making them was a doddle and the results were very pleasing, so a definite thumbs up from me for these.

Would I order again, yes – excellent quality at a fair price and pretty much fool proof in terms of making that top dog.

The details

Order on line at https://frankshotdogs.square.site/s/shop

Free of charge deliveries are made to Penarth/Barry  on Fridays and Cardiff/Pontyclun on Saturdays. You can also pick up from their Llandaff base.

Believe next deliveries are on the 12/13 of February (cue Cat Stevens).


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