Kids’ parties and Nan’s home-made sausage rolls
Dress them as much as you like (and plenty do; outrageously so), but kids’ parties can be a bit of a drag. Perhaps you’ve had a long working week and you just want to chill on your two days off, or you’ve imbibed a little more than you should have on the Friday or Saturday night.
Either way, ear-piercing kid-screeches and awkward small-talk might not always be so high on your wish-list.
Some weekends you even get the double- (or even triple-) headers, which tests the resolve of even the steeliest, most patient parent.
On the flipside, the kids have fun (most of the time), they’re occupied (mostly) for the duration, and it’s all over (usually) in a couple of hours.
Then there’s the party food – almost always there’s an abundance of delicacies like party pies, quiches, hot dogs, and, best of all, sausage rolls. It’s the latter than wins me over each time. Sure, it’s often just the reheated frozen variety from the supermarket, but every so often you hit the jackpot with the home-made, deliciously retro variety. You know, the ones you grew up with: bite-sized morsels of flaky, slightly burnt pastry enveloping wads of seasoned sausage mince, hit liberally with tomato sauce. (Homer-drool alert.)
My Nan makes the most superb sausage rolls, using an ancient baking tray that lends them a certain flavour that simply cannot be replicated – although my mother, as beneficiary of the hand-me-down recipe, does them pretty well, too. A bowl of Nan’s vegetable soup with a plate-load of mini sausage rolls and I’m a very, very contented man. (In fact, on the all-too-rare occasions I’ve driven the 440 kilometres from Melbourne to Ouyen to visit Nan and Pop, I’ve wiled away much of the drive daydreaming about the soup-sausage roll combo awaiting me.)
After my nephew’s recent 5th birthday party, which featured some of the reheated variety, I decided that I had to have in my possession, once and for all, Nan’s – and Mum’s –recipe. The ingredients certainly aren’t hip or new-age, but when the end result is this good, it’s simplicity at its finest.
1 kilogram of sausage mince
6 sheets of frozen puff pastry
3 cups of grated vegetables: a mix of carrot, zucchini and onion
2 tablespoons of mixed herbs
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 egg, beaten
Generous sprinkle of salt and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 220C. Combine mince and vegetable mix well in a large bowl. Place sausage mixture on pastry and roll to form sausage rolls. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before devouring with tomato sauce. Serves around six dozen.