Oh my god, the house is a mess. There’s stuff everywhere. Every surface is covered in stuff as we sort through things before the big move to Sri Lanka. (It turns out I’m a hoarder. I found a belly bar from when my sister and I got matching navel piercings in 2008.) There’s a sort of panic setting in as I realise we’ve signed up to move to a country we’ve never even been to. A good panic, I guess, because I believe life is a big adventure and the fun you have anywhere in the world is what you make of it. Luckily for me, I’ve got my favourite bon vivant for tips, she’s from there you see. Her mum even sent me a list of things I should bring. It’s adorable because it’s very much the kind of list I think my mum would write for me.
Last Australia Day was my first as a card carrying Aussie. I was stuck somewhere I didn’t want to be, with people I didn’t want to be with. I remember watching the national broadcast from Parliament House – anything to get a glimpse of home, then Skyping friends in Canberra, desperately wishing for nothing other than to be home with the people that I have come to think of as family. In that moment I would’ve traded it all.
This year, I’m happy to be home. It’s ten years since I first moved to this beautiful country with it’s strange quirks. Arvo, knackered, taking the piss and generally adding Os to people names are now normal to me. I stopped saying daggy after I found out what it meant mostly because it conjured up visual imagery of dung-coated sheep’s hindquarters.
It’s taken me a long while to come around to sausage rolls. Not because they’re not awesome, but because I’d only ever had store bought until a few months ago. They are not the same thing. Store bought sausage rolls are filled with mystery meat and the pastry never really puffs up properly. Home made can be spiced, have grated veggies added it to for moderate nutritional value and yield great results even if you use generic puff pastry.
Here’s the scoop on sausage rolls –
Swap out breadcrumbs for veggies. Who ever has good breadcrumbs on hand anyway? Veggies preserve the moisture in sausage rolls without adding that stodgy texture. Add in some bonus herbs if you’ve got some lying around in your fridge.
Use regular mince. Lean mince doesn’t have enough fat in it and will dry out.
Store bought puff pastry is fine. It doesn’t even have to be fancy. I used Coles brand ($2.70 for 6 sheets) and see, don’t they look good. The secret to getting good pastry is to make sure the dough is chilled when it goes into the oven, so work quickly. Don’t leave the dough out on the bench for ages. It pays to chill the pastry in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
Don’t waste an egg. I hate when recipes call for an egg wash. You need one tbsp of egg and the rest of it gets wasted. Use olive oil instead – the pastry will still brown.
Oh, and if you have some harissa lying around, add that too. Can’t hurt, right?
- 500g regular beef mince
- 1 onion, finely diced
- ½ stick celery, finely diced
- 1 small carrot, finely grated
- 2 tsp moroccan spice mix
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley or coriander, finely sliced (optional)
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 sheets, ready rolled puff pastry
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds, for garnish
- Combine the mince, onion, celery, carrot, moroccan spice mix, paprika, cumin, parsley/coriander and salt in a large bowl.
- Cut each square of puff pastry in half. Shape the mince mixture into a log and place lengthwise in the middle of one half of the pastry sheet. Roll to enclose, tucking the fold underneath the roll.
- Cut each roll into 6 pieces (if it is hard to cut, chill in fridge for 20 minutes, then cut) and place on a baking tray. Continue with remaining mince and pastry sheets.
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Brush rolls with olive oil and sprinkle with poppy seeds. For really crisp pastry, place in the fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes before baking.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
Update: reading the comments, I’m getting the idea that everyone has a family favourite sausage roll secret – I’ve never had family made sausage rolls, because my family didn’t grow up here, but I’d love to hear what you put in yours. I like mine to have a spicy kick, hence the paprika and moroccan spices. What’s yours?