Dinner With Dave: Cooking to feed an army
One of the major problems with starting a food blog is the pressure to cook for people at work.
For years I struggled to find something good for a host of people.
I finally found the answer – sausage rolls.
Of course these aren’t just any sausage rolls, they are the bringers of joy, a spreader of happiness and a guaranteed winner when it comes to sharing and caring in a workplace, or when you have a lot of people coming over.
But one does still need to impress, and these are a very tasty step up from the norm and easy to tailor for different tastes.
I may well try ones with cheese in soon, but I’m yet to give them a go. Should you try it, let me know what you think.
There’s a bit of faffing about with these, and it can be fiddly to get everything looking nice, but it’s a simple food, and people don’t expect perfection (very lucky for me!).
And rest assured, they look a lot better when they’re cooked and golden brown.
For this recipe, which feeds a very hungry bunch of people.
A dozen good sausages (I like plain 97 per cent pork, two for £5 in supermarkets)
Breadcrumbs (I break up a torpedo roll and whack it in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 180, then smash it all up)
One red onion, finely chopped
Five-six sage leaves, finely chopped
2-3 granny smith apples, grated
Three teaspoons mustard powder
Two packs of ready rolled puff pastry (a bit of flour to stop it all sticking)
Glug of olive oil
One medium egg, lightly whisked
First get the onion on and cooking away nicely on the oil. I like them well cooked, but certainly not burned. When they’re almost done, add the sage, some salt and pepper and cook for one or two more minutes.
Put to one side to cool.
The oven should already be on from the breadcrumbs, but if you’re using existing crumbs get the oven on now, up to 220°C.
Next get a large mixing bowl and squeeze the sausage meat out of the sausage casings.
Add the breadcrumbs, the grated apple (you can use the skin, and some say the core too, but that’s where I draw the line), the mustard powder and a bit more salt and pepper.
The onions should be cool enough now, so add them too and mix it all up. It gets a tad messy, so don’t forget to wash your hands.
I do the next bit in two batches, as it’s a lot for my kitchen to take.
Put down some flour, then lay out the puff pastry and cut it down the middle lengthways, giving you two lengths of sausage roll per box.
Make your mixture into sausage shapes and lay it down the middle, favouring one side slightly.
Brush the egg wash on the edges and gently roll the pastry over and seal on the sides with a bit of crimping or the back of a knife.
As with a pie, it works really well if you then egg wash the top and put it in the fridge for a while to set – this will get everything golden and brown when cooked – but you can egg wash and plonk straight in the oven (once cut).
Get the oven up to 200-220°C. Cut the sausage rolls as big as you want them and brush a bit more egg on top if yours have been in the fridge, then it’s into the oven (use a non-stick baking tray, to avoid disappointing breakages and stickages).
Twenty to 25 minutes will do it, and I like the blackened and brown bits you get from little bits spilling over, so play it by eye.
While batch one cooks, get batch two ready and then you’re ready to feed a small army...