This week food has definitely been on my mind especially with regard to me sorting out what we as a family eat on a regular basis and incorporating it within a master shopping list for that particular month(s). I envisage that a lot of things will remain the same i.e the core base ingredients but that there will also be movement and adaptability to take into account seasonal fresh ingredients also.
At the risk of trying to teach some of you to "suck eggs" I apologise profusely that was not the aim of this post, but more a sentimental and a practical aim of the writer.
One thing (amongst many things that mum did superbly) was sausage rolls. Mum when we were younger used to make her own short-crust pastry and this was the traditional pastry for sausage rolls. My grandmother did the same but over the years Mum tended to use puff pastry although if she ran out would knock up a batch of short-crust pastry so that at least there was something savoury to offer.
As I have mentioned before I inherited Mum's well used and loved Good Housekeeping Cookery book, the said book which I also learned to cook from. I was idly browsing through it when I espied the instructions for making sausage rolls and I started reading through how sausage rolls were made and it is precisely the way Mum taught me to make them when I was a youngster. That brought back a lot of memories. Mum's Good Housekeeping recipe book dates back to 1967 and she used it a lot.
These days predominantly sausage rolls are made using puff pastry which was not the norm back then - another subtle social change and preference gliding into effect by common usage. Today most people buy frozen sausage rolls - they are okay but not as nice as home made and I choose to make them myself. Mum used to make them every week for herself and for my brother and myself on special occasions or just for a treat. Lets just say that we loved them and they used to disappear quite quickly. Here is the recipe which I quote verbatim from the book.
8oz of pre-prepared short-crust pastry
8oz of sausage-meat
A little flour
A little milk to glaze
Oven temperature fairly hot (400 degrees F - Gas Mark 6)
Roll the pastry out thinly into an oblong then cut it lengthwise into two strips. Divide the sausage-meat into two pieces, dust with flour and form into two long rolls the length of the pastry. Lay a roll of sausage-meat down the centre of each strip, brush down the edges of the pastry with a little milk. Fold one side of the pastry over the sausage-meat and press the two edges together by "Flaking". Brush the length of the two sausage rolls with milk , then cut each into slices 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Place on a baking tray and bake towards the top of the oven for 15 minutes to cook the meat thoroughly. Reduce the temperature to moderate 350 degrees F - /Gas mark 4 and cook for a further 15 minutes.
Good sausage rolls can be made with bought puff pastry, fresh or frozen. Use a oz packet and allow it to reach room temperature (which will take about 2 hours) before rolling it out, then it will be easier to handle. Make the rolls as above, but heat the oven to moderate 350 degrees F Gas mark 4 and bake for a further 15 minutes."
Flaking or scalloping is a means of decorating the double edge of a pastry covering a pie (or in this case sausage rolls). Make close horizontal cuts with a knife around the edge of a pie giving a flaked effect and then with the back of a knife pull the edges up vertically at regular intervals to form scallops. Traditionally these should be close together for a sweet pie and wider apart for a savoury one.
(I am not sure whether the description above is the easiest one to understand but it is out of the book. I think at the end of the day the sausage rolls just need crimping by whichever method you choose to decorate so that the pastry forms a seal and holds together).
You could of course also buy fresh puff pastry and fresh sausage-meat and make the sausage rolls up as above but then freeze them so that you have something to offer unexpected guests in a hurry. It would just literally be retrieving them from the freezer and then popping them into the hot oven and cooking.
I have sausage meat and puff pastry in the freezer and shall have a play over the weekend. It will keep OH happy and be a trip down memory lane for me as well and then I should be able to work out quantities and what will need on a weekly basis. This is important as I also use sausage meat for stuffing and also in a sausage meat plait for an evening meal so I do not really want to be caught short on the sausage-meat side.
Pastry making has always been my Achilles heel. I was taught to make pastry at school but mum decided that the way I had been taught was not the right way even though I produced good results and then completely confused me. I normally have very cold hands which is ideal for pastry making. However when it comes to pastry my hands go hot and sticky because I get into such a two and eight about it. On speaking with one of my younger cousins this week - she is exactly the same with pastry - so I think it might be something that runs in the family too.
If you want to make the short-crust pastry version I will pop the recipe up for the pastry later on. Mum's pastry was always so lovely. Mine goes short and falls apart! Apparently just like my Grandma's did.
Catch you later on.