When the evenings draw in and we turn the clocks back my thoughts turn to more time in the kitchen and recipes old and new.
On Thursday I received a new cook book in the post - gorgeous christmas by Annie Bell. Yesterday I eventually found the time to browse through the recipes, lots of inspiration! This put me in the mood for more food mooching and I settled down on the sofa with a stack of cookery books and a cup of coffee. A lovely way to spend an afternoon and a reminder of some of my favourite recipes.
Here's one of Delia Smith's from her Christmas cookbook, one of my most used books, and a recipe that I make time and time again at Christmas and for other friends and family get-togethers. These little vegetarian 'sausage' rolls make good bite sized nibbles (well 2-bite sized) and it's fun to make your own pastry for a change rather than using shop bought.
I have experimented with different cheeses in this recipe and mixes of cheeses - Cheddar with some Parmesan tastes good. I have also replaced the double cream with creme fraiche. Have a go and let me know what you find most delicious.
Vegetarian 'Sausage' Rolls
For the quick flaky pastry
8ozs plain flour
pinch of salt
cold water for mixing
For the filling
10ozs fresh breadcrumbs
8ozs mature Cheddar cheese, grated
1 large onion, peeled and grated
3 tbsps thick double cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (chives, parsley, thyme etc)
2tsps mustard powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 large egg, beaten - for sealing and brushing pastry
3 lightly greased baking sheets
Preheat the oven to 220C, gas mark 7
Make the pastry as follows:
The butter needs to be rock hard for this pastry, so once you've weighed out the required amount wrap it in foil and place in the freezer for 30 mins.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Grate the butter using a coarse grater into the middle of the flour. Take a palette knife and mix the butter into the flour. Don't use your hands or you'll warm up the butter and don't use a food processor or you'll end up with shortcrust pastry.
Coat all the pieces of the butter with the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Add enough water to form a dough that leaves the bowl clean, bringing it all gently together with your hands. Place the dough in a polythene bag and rest it in the fridge for 30 mins.
For the filling, place all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix together thoroughly.
To make the 'sausage' rolls, divide the pastry into 3 pieces. Then with each piece roll out the pastry as thinly as you can. Take one third of the filling and form this into a long sausage the same length as the pastry strip. Place the 'sausage' in the middle of the pastry, brush with a little beaten egg along one edge of the pastry, then fold the pastry over the filling and seal. Turn the whole thing over onto the sealed edge, press lightly and cut into individual pieces about 2 inches long. Snip 3 v-shapes in the top of each roll with a pair of scissors and brush with beaten egg. Repeat for the remaining 2 portions of pastry and filling.
You can freeze the rolls at this point - make sure you defrost them thoroughly before baking. To bake, place the rolls on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20-25 mins. Serve warm or cold with pickles and chutneys.
If you'd rather have 'real' sausage rolls then substitute the vegetarian filling ingredients with 1lb pork sausagemeat - I use good butcher's sausages and remove the skins - and 1 tsp of dried sage. Both versions have proven successful with HG family and friends.