I am a child of the 80s. I owned a crimper. I even used it. I also owned those strange bendy rods used to curl hair into tight perm style ringlets. My first LP was Care Bears the Movie (The Soundtrack) and I remember the exhausting and expensive transition from records to tapes to mini discs to CDs. In pre Cbeebies days I loved to watch Pigeon Street, Fraggle Rock, Jackanory, Dogtanian, Danger Mouse, the Muppet Babies and Blue Peter. I adored my A La Carte Kitchen, my Get-a-Long Gang lunchbox, my Mr Frosty, my ear muffs, my T shirt that changed colour as I ahem, glowed… and my posters of Tiffany and NKOTB. My favourite things to do were read Look In magazine, eat those little frozen mousses’ that came in stacks of 10 and visit various Leicestershire attractions with my Mum, my Dad and both my Grandmothers. The best bit of these trips was the unveiling of the picnic feast.
There was always a pork pie. We’re from Leicestershire so it’s the law. There was always tuna and salad cream sandwiches, egg and cress sandwiches (home grown cress of course from a scooped out boiled egg filled with cotton wool and with a smiley face drawn on with marker pen), Red Leicester cheese sandwiches (Leicester connection again) and some form of potted meat rolls. There was always cold sausages expertly grilled by my maternal Grandmother and bought from a butchers facing Leicester Market called Walkers. There was always celery that ended up going home untouched. There was smokey bacon Walkers crisps (Leicester again you see) and likely a Wagon Wheel or melted Penguin bar. I would drink a warm Capri-Sun and the adults enjoyed restorative flasks of tea. The perfect 80s picnic complete with Whitney to sing us all the way home. The only thing missing were sausage rolls.
The sausage rolls of my childhood were, if I’m honest, a bit of a disappointment. Shop-bought, more than a little greasy and under seasoned. If you’re still wishing for a few sunny days to end this rained out summer then you cannot go wrong with this recipe from Sainsbury’s. Incredibly easy to make, sweetened with a little grated carrot and apple and likely to disappear in a flash. You could make a huge sausage roll if you’re pushed for time, make little filo versions for a more sophisticated affair and use sausagemeat and dried herbs to cut down the cost. My youngest son prefers the filo versions, in fact it’s a case of blink and you’ll miss them when he’s presented with these.
– 1 teaspoon olive oil
– ½ onion, finely chopped
– ½ carrot, grated
– 1 small Bramley cooking apple, grated
– 1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
– 250g extra lean British pork mince
– 1 pack ready-rolled puff pastry
– 1 medium egg, beaten
– 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
– 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC, fan 180ºC, gas 6. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the onion. Cook until soft, then add the carrot and apple.
- Transfer to a bowl, then mix in the sage and pork mince until well combined.
- Unroll the pack of ready-rolled puff pastry, then cut in half lengthways. Divide the mixture in two, and place in the middle of each strip of pastry. Brush all edges of the pastry with the beaten egg, reserving some for the top. Fold the pastry over the filling, and seal by pressing gently on each roll.
- Flip the roll so the seal is on the underside of each roll. Cut each strip into 8 rolls.
- Brush the tops with the remaining beaten egg, then sprinkle with the poppy and sesame seeds. Place the rolls on a baking tray and bake for 25-30 mins until crisp and golden, and the pork is cooked through.
Make one giant sausage roll by doubling the sausage filling in the above recipe. Place the filling in the centre of a piece of ready-rolled puff pastry. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg, then roll the pastry over the filling. Flip and lay seam-side down on a baking tray. Cut diagonal slits across the top, brush with a little more of the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame and poppy seeds. Bake for 55 mins, then leave to cool before slicing up and serving.
Use ready-made sausage meat for your filling and season with dried herbs. Make the sausage rolls as usual, then brush the tops with milk rather than egg. Top with freshly ground black pepper.
Or you could jazz them up a bit…
Use filo pastry and brush one side of one sheet of pastry with melted butter. Fold the pastry in half, then place a portion of the pork filling at the top corner. Fold the pastry over the filling at right angles to make a triangle and continue folding to form a neat triangular parcel. Seal with a little melted butter. Repeat with the remaining pork mixture and pastry. Place the parcels on baking sheets, brush the tops with a little melted butter and sprinkle over poppy and sesame seeds. Bake for 25 mins until golden.
If you’d like step by step pics then you can download them here.