Any of you of ‘a certain age’ who have a navy blazer and a pair of sensible grey slacks hanging in the wardrobe, look away now. You are not going to like this one. I will admit that there are many things to like about Christmas. I suggest that you make a ‘nice’ list for yourself and refer to it on those occasions when you lose your temper queueing for the turkey and ham, or when the family presents don’t arrive from the magical Internet.
There are also a few pretty strident arguments as to why Christmas is a hateful time of the year. There is the guilt salving commercials on TV pleading for just €10 a month to fund the administration of some burgeoning charity. There is that feeling of self-loathing we get as we deftly ignore the carol singers’ outstretched bucket on our way to yet another Christmas boozing session. And there is the Dreaded Sausage Roll.
The only time of the year we are exposed to the DSR is when we middle-aged males are wearing that slacks and blazer combo, holding a glass of ‘interesting’ Merlot and talking house prices with our neighbours. The female of the species tend to congregate at these functions (always held in the over-warm sitting room of somebody in the locality) dressed in “this old thing” that cost a month’s wages and will only ever be worn once. While the wine can be described as ‘interesting’, the finger food (what a stupid descriptor) is usually pretty awful. Particularly so the sausage rolls. Greasy, salty and otherwise flavorless, they are repeatedly inflicted on guests by the truculent children of the host.
The men stand around in groups of three, trying to be interesting and a little edgy while discussing actuarial predictions for looming pensions. The women sit on every available chair and couch and get stuck into art of talking over, while listening to, each other.
If I have to suffer another of these occasions, hopefully the host will have read this and will cook my Fennel and Apricot Sausage Rolls recipe. That assumes they aren’t offended by the reality of my comments, and they invite me to join in the festive fun.
- 700 grammes lean pork meat
- 400 grammes pork fat
- 1 handful of fennel seeds
- 10 or so dried apricots
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of white pepper
- 4 sheets of puff pastry
- A beaten egg and a little water for egg wash
Chop the onions up nice and small.
Sweat the onions over a low flame until they are translucent. Dry-fry the fennel seeds until the house is full of the lovely aroma.
Then grind the fennel seeds into a powder in a pestle and mortar. Mince the pork and the fat in as festive a way as possible.
Chop the apricots nice and small.
Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until combined.
Roll out the pastry sheets and cut in half. make a sausage shape out of the meat and lay it on the pastry as shown below.
Roll the pastry up until there is a seam left as in the picture.
Slice the rolls into sausage roll size pieces. Here you will have a quandary. If you have a bunch of neighbours arriving, cut them slim so they will go further. If, like me, you are hiding from the world over the Christmas onslaught, cut them nice and large (like in the photo). Arrange them on greaseproof parchment on a baking tray.
Place them in a 200ºC oven for 25 minutes. Less if you are having the neighbours over and are serving very slim rolls.
Let these cool enough to serve in as festive a fashion as you care. These are as far from the DSR as you can get. Though, I did go for an ‘interesting’ Merlot. All I have to do now is get my grey slacks and blazer out of the dry cleaners and I will be ready for the seasonal invitations.
Happy Christmas to one and all.