Monday, 4 July 2011

Sausage Rolls

Hello ladies and gentleman of the internet! Did you enjoy your weekends? Were you taken aback by the unexpected heat and sunshine today? Have you been very summer-cliché and enjoyed a barbecue, a picnic and some Pimm's? In the Dine at Mine household, the answers to those questions would be yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. It's been a good way to welcome July.

However, I should point out that there are caveats. We had Pimm's - but rather than partaking in drink form, we slugged it over some strawberries in an Eton Mess (mmm, the quickest and easiest way to pure deliciousness). We also held our picnic inside, at a table. This was not, I should point out, weather-related.  I know that's the automatic assumption for a British picnic, but the weather was actually lovely. Rather, it was linked to the fact that the Dine at Mine household lacks a garden. We really want one - and we even own garden furniture (don't ask) - but we ain't got one. Window-boxes, yes, but nowhere to park a bistro table and a few chairs. 

Never mind, we had the spirit of picnic and we definitely had the food. This menu from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals has appealed to me from the day I got the book, and the smoked mackerel pate has already become a firm favourite of mine (and, it turns out, of yours - it is far and away my most popular post according to Blogger's stats. Who knew that the internet loved old-school oily fish so much? None of your trendy whoopie pies or themed confectionary, bring on the mackerel!).

This time around, we concentrated on the rest of the menu - sausage rolls, griddled asparagus salad, green salad with crunchy sticks of pear (we skipped the pickled onions), all served with the beetroot and cottage cheese salad I've made before, some cherry tomatoes, posh potato and rosemary bread from Waitrose and some cold meats and crab. Plates were cleared. Dishes were scraped. The last remaining sausage rolls were politely tussled over. It was a good picnic.

Amongst all this good stuff, the sausage rolls were the total revelation. The ones you buy are always a bit disgusting, and when I eat them a bit of my soul shrivels like the dog-food-style filling inside the bland, soggy pastry. Well, not these! Crunchy, flaky, melting, meaty, cheesy, savoury and delicious. I know that's just a list of adjectives but the sausage rolls removed my capacity for coherent thought. These zoomed right to the top of the "must make again" list and I am resolved never to buy sausage rolls again, not when these were so easy and so good. And when I say easy, we're talking ready-made and ready-rolled puff pastry filled with sausages. It was never going to be rocket science.

All praise to Jamie Oliver, he is once again the king of my kitchen. This picnic was, if I say so myself, almost perfect Summer eating. Now all we need is a patch of grass to set up a deck chair on, and Summer will be perfect. Keep your fingers crossed for our garden hopes!

Sausage Rolls
From Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals
Makes 20 mini rolls, enough for 5-6 people (but to be honest, 3 could finish the lot)

- 1 sheet of ready-made, ready-rolled puff pastry
- 12 chipolata sausages
- an egg, beaten
- teaspoon of fennel seeds
- parmesan
- sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Preheat the oven to 220C and line a baking tray with parchment or something non-stick.

Unroll your pastry and cut it in two lengthwise so you've got two long rectangles. Brush them both with beaten egg, then arrange six sausages down the middle of each rectangle, and scatter over the fennel seeds and some grated parmesan.  Fold the pastry over to make rolls, squish down the seam with the tines of a fork to make a crimped pattern, then brush the whole lot with beaten egg again. Scatter over the sesame seeds and cut each long roll into 10 mini ones. 

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden and crunchy, and serve hot. I guarantee you won't have any left by the time they're cold. 

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