What ho, readers! (All 5 of you). SO after Basel-ing a couple of weeks ago it’s been manic in the Lewishambles household. I say manic, but, honestly it’s been more of a combination of a general end-of-the-financial-year clusterbang at work meets the terrifying realisation that budgeting has to happen at some point in my life. Accordingly, it’s been a lean time and I’ve been so boring that frankly I haven’t had anything worth blogging about.
But spring is in the air, the tide is turning and there’s a distinct lack of chill. This is EXCELLENT news for a number of reasons.
1. People cheer the fudge up. Seriously, March is HARD GOING and suddenly the weather picks up and its like people remember how to smile.
2. I can finally put away all the woolies. I love me a big jumper but I’m starting to feel I’m part-sheep at this stage.
3. PARTY TIME.
There are a whole bunch of parties on the horizon. Election Night Pizza Party, Eurovision Super Bash, The Lewisham Model Market (returning from April 17th, HUZZAH) and Easter (not strictly a party, more of a celebration, but I get to eat all the food so… yeah. It’s a party in my book).
First up is the end of financial year work party, for which I’m tasked with bringing along my famous veggie sausage rolls. I’d say I invented them but quite honestly they’re a reverse-engineered glamorgan sausage with a party twist. They came about a few years ago when I decided that I was going to jazz up Delia’s famous Vegetarian “Sausage” Rolls recipe and ended up making something so delicious I couldn’t stop eating them. Upon taking them into work (to stop me from utterly disgracing myself) and declaring them “leek and cheese snacks”, Welsh David took one, his ears went all moist and he whispered “they’re like my mum used to make.” Apparently I’ve approximated something approaching a glamorgan sausage, which is a leek-and-cheese breadcrumb “sausage” in the same school as a Welsh Rarebit.*
Delia’s original recipe is a real tradition Momma Lewishambles’ repertoire, as she doesn’t eat pork but loves her some pastry. Delia’s version is pretty banging but a) is a punishment to make (*grating a large white onion? Do you WANT me to end up sobbing in a corner?*) and ends up being a touch puritanical with a measly amount of herbage. My version adds sweated leeks and red onion to take off the harsh edge, with a touch of smokey paprika and an egg for a fluffier centre. Savoury, satisfying and intense, they’re a brilliant keep-in-the-freezer treat.
GLAMorgan Sausage Rolls
Makes 36 three-bite treats. If you go for weeny sizes you’ll make about 40. That’s a hell of a lot of partying.
225g breadcrumbs (if you’ve not got some in your freezer**, just get some white panko)
200g strong cheese, grated (delia specifies cheddar but I go for a mix of whatever’s left in the fridge)
1 leek, very finely sliced and chopped a bit (you don’t want long strands)
1/2 red onion, very finely chopped (don’t bother grating)
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder (essential)
1 tsp smoked paprika (I go for hot but if you’re a weeny by all means wimp out)
1 large handful chopped fresh herbs***
a dash of cream
1 block puff pastry
First, sweat off your leek. That is not a euphemism. I mean, take it, chuck it in a pan with a little knob of butter and cook over a medium heat until soft and sweet. Try not to let it colour but obviously it’s not a disaster if you get a few crispy bits. Then tip into a bowl and let it cool. You’re adding this to grated cheese and if it goes in hot, then you’ll be sad and upset and you’ll have a bowl of congealed cheese and a fuckton of breadcrumbs to try and mix in. Which won’t work. Please note, lesson learned from bitter, bitter experience.
Meanwhile, prep get all your filling ingredients (i.e. everything except the pastry). Check the onion is chopped, grate up the cheese and if you’ve the time, photograph it for your blog.
Check the leeks again. WEEP when they’re still hot.
Once the leeks are finally cold, mix all the filling ingredients together. This will take longer than you think and is best done with your hands. The mixture texture you’re trying to achieve is a kind of claggy dampness, sort of like biscuit dough.
When you’re ready, roll out the puff nice and thin (I go for about the thickness of a 2p/euro – I have no idea how thin this is in metric or imperial. Soz, former colonies), and cut into a strip (or, do as I do and cut small stips off your pastry block and roll those out instead) Moosh your filling into a sausage shape and place on the pastry, then seal and cut into nice sausage roll shapes. I’ve put photos below as describing it is rather tricky.
Once you’re all set to go, egg wash and cook at 180c for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden-brown and yummy looking. Eat while warm and savour that leeky cheesy goodness.
OR, if you are making these ahead of time, open-freeze on a baking tray before tipping into a freezer bag. Then, when you’re ready to cook, simply chuck onto a lined tray and egg wash before cooking for 12-18 min at 200c.
PLEASE NOTE: It’s tempting to add extra cheese. And if you have some goaty stuff lying about then by all means squash it in. But be aware it will ooze out and melt everywhere. If it’s just you and you’re making a couple of extras for your blog and you fancy some decadent treat time and (importantly) don’t mind scraping up molten cheese then go right ahead. But otherwise, I’d avoid it. Similarly, don’t be tempted to skimp on the breadcrumb. Because your filling won’t hold shape and will go EVERYWHERE and it will be all your fault.
*i.e., part of a quaint Victorian tradition which held that Welsh people were a poor and hardy folk who ate cheesy bread snacks instead of meat. Yeah, I think it’s a bit racist too. But, you know, VICTORIANS, eh? They were too busy dealing with what the fuck a smock was to get on with stuff like erasing stereotypes.
** What do you mean, you have no fresh breadcrumbs in your freezer? What kind of aspirational yummy mummy are you?! I jest, obviously. I just love those blogs where they’re all “naturally I have a large bag of white and brown breadcrumbs ready to go at all times.” I want to scream “WHO THE HELL HAS TIME FOR THIS SHIT? DON’T ANY OF YOU HAVE REAL LIVES?!”
***any fresh herbs will do, but be sensible. If you go for a handful of rosemary all you’re making is really cheesy stuffing. I personally like a mostly parsley mix with a few tufts of coriander, dill or chives and a soupçon of rosemary or thyme. But realistically just use whatever’s in your fridge after you got fooled into buying a massive bag of leaves from the supermarket which you totally MEANT to use up but now looks a bit sad and limp.