Oooh, Sausage Rolls!

Sausage Rolls M The Patterned Plate

October, was intense! We have run the gamut of reasons for social get-togethers last month. Birthday parties for the young and old, murder mystery parties, football on the telly, cheese and wine evenings, overseas visitors for dinner, book club meetings (just an excuse for a natter and heaps of wine consumption!), parents night out, you name it, we’d done it and had a fun time along the way. Food of course, is very much at the heart of a good time and these humble pork sausage rolls have saved my bacon repeatedly.

I served these several times for different occasions and they were always the first thing to be wiped off the table. Grown men seem to morph into kids and polished off the plate before their own kids could even get a look in! It’s gratifying to see such sheer avarice in play for something I’ve cooked.

It’s not really that hard to understand. I mean, which culture hasn’t celebrated the deliciousness that is a bit of flavoured meat wrapped around layers of pastry or dough? Samosas in India, fatayers in the Middle East, peirogi from Poland, empanadas in Spain…you get the idea. For a Scotsman, it’s sausage rolls all the way.

Sausage Rolls A The Patterned PlateSausage Rolls B The Patterned Plate Sausage Rolls E The Patterned PlateSausage Rolls G The Patterned Plate Sausage Rolls H The Patterned Plate Sausage Rolls I The Patterned PlateSausage Rolls J The Patterned PlateSausage Rolls K The Patterned PlateSausage Rolls M The Patterned Plate

They aren’t really complicated to make, though you will need to spare some time for the various stages. Advance prep means that you can have some ready to thaw from a freezer to go into a hot oven when the need arises and boy, that’s often these days. They can also be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge to be baked the next day. Without question, homemade puff pastry is simply awesome but considering the rate I was churning these babies out, I relied on good ol’ all-butter, ready-rolled stuff which is perfectly acceptable. I tend to roll it out a little more to thin it out as I can’t abide a sausage roll that’s more pastry than filling; I feel cheated. Flavour the meat, lay on the pastry, roll, score, cut, egg wash and then bake. Some good tunes in the background helps settle me into the assembly-style production of sausage rolls.

Accompaniments – Some like them with ketchup or, ugh, HP sauce but I prefer a tangy chutney dolloped over. My kids go doolally when they see them for snacks after school and short burst in the oven refreshes already-baked rolls perfectly for cheeky late night treats.

A good sausage roll is like having a foodie hug. It’s simple, unaffected but comforting all at once. It also seems to symbolise a party, when friends and family come together to share a fabulous time in each other’s company. Never a better reason to bake a batch or two or three or…

Pork Sausage Rolls

700-800gm sausagemeat
200gm streaky bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 teaspoons of thyme leaves, finely chopped
7 sage leaves, finely chopped
half a nutmeg, grated
good grinding of black pepper
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 rounded teaspoon of prepared english mustard
640 gm ready-rolled, all butter puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds for coating (optional)

Either by hand or in a food mixer on low, combine the sausage meat, bacon, onion, garlic, thyme, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper. At this point, I tend to make a teeny patty and fry that in a pan to gauge seasoning and if I want to adjust any flavours. Set aside while you get the pastry ready.

Roll out the ready-rolled pastry to flatten a touch more and lay on baking paper to help with the rolling. Take a good handful of your meat mix and lay in a log evenly across the short end of the pastry. Using the baking paper, lift and roll the pastry and just before it touches the other end, brush some egg across the edge. Roll over fully and cut out the filled log with a sharp knife. Continue until all the meat mix is used up. Make sure the logs are sitting on the seam side.

Pre-heat the oven to 180deg C. If the pastry is soft at this point, place it back into the fridge to harden for around 20 minutes. Brush the log with the egg. Scatter over the sesame seeds, if using. Take a sharp knife and score the pastry in 1 cm increments all along the log. Then cut the log into desired lengths. I tend to like my sausage rolls about 4-5 cms length but you can increase or decrease and just adjust cooking time accordingly. Place the cut rolls, seam side down, on a baking sheet or two, with plenty of space between them. At this point, you can also open freeze the rolls and then pack into airtight containers. Or the mix can stay in the fridge for a day before being baked.

Place the trays into the hot oven and let the rolls cook for around 25-30 minutes. They are ready when the meat is cooked right through and the pastry is risen and deliciously golden. Place on a wire rack for five minutes to cool before serving with the ketchup/chutney/mustard.

Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container. You can refresh them by placing in a 160deg C oven for 5 minutes to heat through but watch the pastry doesn’t burn.cropped-cropped-tpppaulie91.png

Chocolate, Cherry & Coconut Macaroon Slice

Chocolate, Cherry, Coconut Macaroon Slice
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The body was willing but the mind was not. Baking has been unceremoniously shoved to the back burner. Perhaps it was a subconscious reaction to having a diabetic guest, my father, who stared with hungry eyes at the few home baked treats. I certainly found it hard to munch through a biscuit while speaking with him; his grand children have no such scruples. Why cruelly tempt the poor man? My resolve was broken by The Scotsman, who peered deeply into the bowels of the fridge before flinging open cupboard doors, scavenging for treats. It went on for days, The Scotsman getting more ornery without a post-dinner sugar fix. I finally got the message and donned the baking apron. I wished for the cupboard hinges to remain intact.

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