I think it is an Australian joke to sing 'It’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll' to the tune of the AC/DC song 'It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll'! It might have been sung about vegetarians.
There are lots of vegetarian sausage rolls in the shops but I struggle to find good ones! The best I ever had was in Cranks vegetarian restaurant in Covent Garden, London. Unfortunately, this specialty long ago fell off their menu. I can’t think why. But the memory lingers. This is the sausage roll I have always aspired to imitate in my own baking. One of the joys of baking is being able to make foods we love in memory of those we can no longer find anywhere outside our own kitchens.
I decided to make sausage rolls for a kid’s birthday party yesterday. It was organized by my sister Francesca for her partner’s little girl, Maykaylah. Fran is an organizer extraordinaire. She sends emails, draws up Excel spreadsheets and searches the net for ideas. She said there would be sausages, hamburgers and sausages rolls. Of course, my family is great about me being vegetarian and so Fran had got some veggie sausages for me but we planned to cook them inside so they didn’t cook in the meat fat on the barbecue.
But when I heard my mum was making sausage rolls, I thought it would be easier to make vegetarian sausage rolls than to have a separate cooking of veggie sausages. (The logistics of being vegetarian aren’t always easy.) So I made my sausage rolls and then when I arrived, I found my mum had made vegetarian sausage rolls for me. I should have known! She had even scored lines on them with a knife for easy identification.
After all this palaver, I felt for my little celiac niece who desperately wanted some Twisties (cheese corn snacks). It is hard sometimes to be different from everyone else. I feel a pang when I attend catered events and there are hot pastries and I am meant to pick through the soggy sandwiches to find which are free of meat. I don’t feel at all tempted to eat the meat but I hate having second rate food when everyone else has something wonderful. So it is always a treat when I am out and can partake of the sausage rolls. And I am lucky to have a family who look out for me.
The theme was Jungle Party and it was held out the back in the huge shed. Although it was sunny enough for people to sit outside. There was music and games and jungle juice (cranberry juice, orange juice, soda water, chopped strawberries and chopped pineapple) in the shed. And once Steve had fired up the barbie, it had a table laden with barbecued meat, salad and sausage rolls. Later the table held cupcakes (which I made!), jellies, fairy bread, and a birthday cakes. There was even a home made piñata hanging off the clothes line full of treats. A kids party to remember! Maykaylah was beaming with pleasure.
I ate my mum’s sausage rolls at the party and then went home and had my sausage rolls for dinner with salad. Now I couldn’t eat them day in day out but as a vegetarian, it is happy days when there is an abundance of vegetarian sausage rolls so I wasn’t complaining. (But I did put the remainder in the freezer.) The recipe for the ones I made is below, but it is one of those recipes where it is just a matter of using whatever is at hand.
Update Nov 2009 - found the lyrics to the whole Long Way to the Shops if you Want a Sausage Roll parody. Also have started making Liz O'Brien's Sausage Rolls more regularly - they are like meat sausage rolls but have oats, cottage cheese and eggs or can be made with tofu for vegan versions. Highly recommend them.
Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
(makes about 25-30 small sausage rolls)
5 small carrots, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/3 cup ground almonds
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1-2 tbsp tahini
½ cup water
Generous grinding of fresh black pepper
450g puff pastry
Egg to brush on the pastry
- Mix all filling ingredients and check seasoning. The mixture should be fairly stiff so you can shape it into a sausage with your hands.
- I use ready rolled puff pastry which comes in sheets that are 25 x 25cm. I cut each in half and used 5 of these 25cm x 12cm strips of pastry. I put a 5cm wide strip of filling down the middle – I use my hands to shape it into a sausage shape.
- With your finger or a pastry brush, use water to moisten the long side of the long side. Roll the pastry over so it overlaps and seals with this moistened side.
- Use a knife to score where you plan to cut them (they can be as long or short as you want) and brush with beaten egg.
- Bake for 20- 35 minutes at 220ºC and cut into smaller pieces. (I baked 20 minutes, cut them up, cooled them, and when I was ready to eat them put them in a moderate oven for about 15 minutes.)
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