Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. And as a critic I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended. Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Sausage Trilogy part III: Katzenjammers

Concluding the BV silly sausage season, I thought it might be an idea to let the professionals take the reins and review a place that specialises in all things sausagey.

Of course, there aren't really all that many sausage-oriented restaurants around, but one bold exception is Katzenjammers, a German bierkeller close to London Bridge station where you can drink authentic Bavarian beers and enjoy a range of traditional sausages from the region.

Located down a fairly steep flight of steps from Southwark street's Hop Exchange - in what may or may not have once been the site of the legendary Becky's Dive Bar - Katzenjammers is owned by the chaps who run the New Wheatsheaf pub next door, and while the basement look and feel is similar to the 'Sheaf, what's on offer is very, very different.

With long wooden benches and continentally-accented bar staff dressed in Lederhosen (they may technically be Eastern European rather than German but it doesn't shatter the illusion) it does capture the bierkeller atmosphere, and you can even order your beer in litre steins.

One thing that isn't typically German is the lack of table service - you order from the bar, and about half the customers seem to just be in there for a few beers.

Monday, November 10, 2014

When life gives you sausages...

'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade', goes the ancient proverb (which isn't actually all that ancient).

But what if you've just conducted a mammothian sausage taste test and your lemonless life has actually given you a fridge full of sausages?

You make a delicious sausage casserole, that's what. Here's the recipe. It's piss-easy.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bangin' Bangers - Supermarket sausages taste-tested

When I was a child, Bonfire Night - or Firework Night, as we called it - was my absolute favouritest night of the year.

Better than my birthday, better than Christmas. Better than that day I found all that porn on Mitcham Common.

We didn't have a bonfire and we didn't go in for any of that 'penny for the guy' twattery. But what we did have was fireworks. Not on some common land with hundreds of other people, but our own fireworks in our own garden. Bang.

As soon as they hit the shops, I'd spend all my pocket money and any other cash I could beg, borrow or blag on the biggest, best fireworks I could buy. Then, when the big night came, my brother and I would line them all up, carefully arranging the 'display' in order, with the sparklers first and the biggest fireworks saved until the end.

The post-fireworks meal was always the same too. Sausages. Usually with baked beans and a jacket potato, properly baked in the oven with a thick, blistery skin and loads of butter. Good times.