I discovered the Snot Block & Roll by clicking the link at the bottom of the Darths & Droids website. It said ‘food reviews’ and I thought, cool I like food. I then discovered that this was an entire blog dedicated to the review of two foods: vanilla slices and sausage rolls.
I loved this concept, and I vicariously sampled my way through what felt like half the bakeries in Australia. With every post my appreciation for these simple culinary delights grew, and apace grew the unfortunate realization I was probably never going to get the chance to try them in person. See, I live in the US of A, specifically inside the not-so-cosmopolitan state of Wisconsin. While I have seen pasty imitations of the vanilla slice crop up in the bakeries and buffets of the Fox Valley, I have never laid eyes on an honest-to-goodness sausage roll.
Faced with two alternatives, buy a plane ticket to Australia, or find a decent recipe; I opted for door number three and I created my own recipe for the Aussie Style Sausage Roll. (Credit where credit is due, I based my recipe off one I found in Bourke Street Bakery’s cookbook.)
Now for my self-aggrandizing review…
The roll looks amazing; lightly browned from the egg wash and speckled with whole fennel seeds to inform the customer just what kind of sausage roll they will be getting.
The bottom of the roll is edged in a rich brown glaze where the meat drippings oozed out onto the pan during baking. (I am super glad I chose to bake these on the pizza stone.)
Continue reading Joel’s Home Made (guest review)
32 Main St, Lithgow
A few months ago, I took a winter weekend getaway driving trip with Mrs SB&R and Canine SB&R to the country town of Mudgee. Along the way, we stopped for a break and to stretch our legs at the intermediate town of Lithgow. Lithgow is a bit of a sleepy town and there wasn’t much open on this morning, but we located a cafe named Vanilla for a hot drink and a sweet treat. It also seemed to be operating as a florist.
Stepping inside is like stepping from a freezer into a nice warm living room with a roaring fire in the fireplace. It’s warm and cosy, and populated with a few locals enjoying a respite from the harsh weather of the former coal mining town. The cake selection in here looks pretty good. And they had vanilla slices!
Continue reading Vanilla, Lithgow
349 Darling St, Balmain
On a fine spring day Mrs Snot Block & Roll suggested we go on an expedition across the water to the Sydney suburb of Balmain. A convenient way to get there is to catch a ferry, so we made our way over the cool green waters of Sydney Harbour to the relevant wharf and walked up the steep hill to the main street, where an array of shops and food outlets awaited. Here, in search of sustenance we found San Antonio Sourdough.
Taking a look at the counter displays inside, the sweet treats looked extremely tempting, and they also had some pies and sausage rolls. I got a sausage roll and, because they had no vanilla slices, I opted for a pecan tart for afterwards.
Continue reading San Antonio Sourdough, Balmain
219C Kissing Point Road, South Turramurra, New South Wales
It’s a warm late winter Sunday – the perfect opportunity to take Mrs and Canine Snot Block & Roll for a drive! Of course, I had to do some research to make sure there was a nice bakery awaiting at our destination. And for this trip I chose something that has been tantalising me for some time now. Whenever I do a Google search of Sydney for bakeries, popping up like a gleaming apparition with an astonishing 4.9 star average rating, is Golden Bakehouse at South Turramurra.
It’s a strange thing. Despite the amazing Google rating, photos of the bakery look distinctly bland and average. This looks like your run-of-the-mill suburban bakery, dishing out good hot bread and banh mi rolls, but distinctly average patisserie goods. Something seems rotten in the State of Denmark here…
Continue reading Golden Bakehouse, South Turramurra
Shop 7/52-56 Gladesville Rd, Hunters Hill, New South Wales
On a grey and rainy Saturday Mrs Snot Block & Roll decided we could use a nice warming lunch at a bakery-cafe somewhere. I checked Google Maps to see if I could find somewhere promising and new within a short drive, and located Stoneground Bakery in a suburb acceptably far from home. Online reviews seemed positive, and the website offered various pies and other goodies.
So we drove over through the gentle drizzle and were fortunate to find a vacant table on the footpath outside, but under cover of the awning, where we could sit with Canine Snot Block & Roll while we inspected the wares and then ordered some lunch.
Continue reading Stoneground Bakery, Hunters Hill
12 Princes Highway, Sylvania, New South Wales
With COVID-19 lockdown still in the easing off stages here, I haven’t been making as many trips as usual. But today, on a fine and mild, sunny winter Sunday, I ventured to Sydney’s deep south – The Shire. Not for a sausage roll, but to sample another legendary Sydney food item: one of Paul’s famous hamburgers, from the Princes Highway-side shop known simply as Paul’s Famous Hamburgers, in the Sutherland Shire suburb of Sylvania.
Having negotiated the tricky turnoff directly after crossing Tom Ugly’s Bridge, I arrived at Pauls’ Famous Hamburgers a few minutes before 11:30, figuring I’d get an early lunch to avoid the crowds. They only open at 11:30, but even before there were signs of stirring within the shop, a queue was forming outside. It got up to about a dozen people before 11:30 passed and the shop opened – at which point I jumped on the back of the queue to avoid even more people getting in front of me.
While standing in the approved COVID-19 socially distanced queue, marked by taped crosses 1.5 metres apart on the footpath, a woman came out and moved along the queue with an order book, taking people’s orders. I ordered a special with cheese (which comes with beef patty, lettuce, tomato, raw onion, bacon, fried egg, and cheese), plus beetroot and Paul’s special sauce (home made aioli mixed with chili sauce), a large chips with regular salt (as opposed to chicken salt), and a peanut butter crunch milkshake. Having declared my Aussie colours in the previous hamburger review on this site, the additional beetroot was a complete no-brainer. In fact, no matter how famous these burgers may be, I’m a bit put out that beetroot is only presented as an option and not part of the standard package.
Continue reading Paul’s Famous Hamburgers, Sylvania
150 Lyons Rd, Drummoyne, New South Wales
We’ve reviewed the Drummoyne Bakehouse twice before, once for the sausage roll and vanilla icing topped vanilla slice, and once for the vanilla slice topped with icing sugar. But on this cloudy, drizzly late autumn day, when I’d ventured here mostly for a comforting hot pie for lunch, I casually added “and a vanilla slice” to my order, remembering how good they were. The woman serving me asked if I wanted icing sugar, or passionfruit icing… and indeed the slices visible in the display had clearly visible passionfruit seeds. Well!
I took my pies and slice to nearby Drummoyne Park, where Canine Snot Block & Roll could run around on the grass while I indulged. The pies were great, but then I turned my attention to this unexpected boon.
As in previous reviews, the slice is a visual marvel, three layers of very crisp looking pastry, two of mid-yellow creamy custard. This one is topped with a thick layer of rich yellow icing, with a couple of black passionfruit seeds visible. there is some hand-made roughness around the edges, but the whole thing looks scrumptious.
Continue reading Drummoyne Bakehouse Cafe, Drummoyne, pt. 3
6-8 Burns Bay Rd, Lane Cove, New South Wales
While still under COVID-19 restrictions, Mrs Snot Block & Roll had a necessary appointment at her optometrist in a nearby suburb, so we had an excuse to make a small outing of it, picking up a coffee (for her) and a sweet treat for myself along the way. The normally bustling Lane Cove shopping village was a bit more sparsely populated than usual, with most of the shops and cafes open for business. One of them was Two Brothers Cafe Restaurant, which, while not open for seat-in dining due to the rules, was serving take-away drinks and snacks.
In the front window was a tray of vanilla slices!
Continue reading Two Brothers, Lane Cove
Shop 1/27 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, New South Wales
In the last of the backlog of old reviews, I visit the far northern beachside suburb of Avalon Beach – which I just learnt was named “Avalon Beach” and not “Avalon” like I thought. Wikipedia says it used to be named Avalon, but the “Beach” was officially added in 2012. Anyway, here is the bakery known as Paterson’s Pies.
It’s a streetfront facing dedicated pie shop, listing pies and sausage rolls as their primary products, followed by quiches, croissants, and coffee. There’s nowhere to sit inside the small shop, which just has a service counter and a fridge of drinks.
Continue reading Paterson’s Pies, Avalon Beach
Unit 101/7 Hoyle Ave, Castle Hill. New South Wales
In another old unpublished review, I find myself in the north-western suburb of Castle Hill. I’d made a trek out here to visit a game shop to browse their selection of board games and see if I wanted to buy something. Alas, I discovered when I arrived that their shop is in fact more of an industrial estate showroom, and only open three days a week – not including the day that I’d chosen. Undaunted, I sought a local source of nourishment and decided to try Exquisite Cakes.
Exquisite Cakes has a premises in the Castle Hill Homemaker Centre, the sort of large place you find in industrial areas that has a bunch of furniture showrooms, carpet and floor tile places, hardware stores, and similar businesses that need huge floor space to show off their wares.
Continue reading Exquisite Cakes, Castle Hill