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With a wobbly few days at the start of the month, it looks like we are going to get to enjoy something of an Indian Summer. So, for my second post collaborating with the team at Appletiser (there is still time to make the Barbecue Pesto Prawns with Pea, Feta & Avocado Salad we made in July) I thought we’d go for a (back garden, so you can easily retreat in case of rain!) picnic together in case, like me, you have failed to get the basket out of the basement and dry clean your picnic rug to head out into the great outdoors yet this year.
My usual picnic rule is to make 50% of the items myself, and buy 50% of them from a shop. That means you get to enjoy a little bit extra without completely tearing your hair out. You also want things that can either be eating with your fingers or with a simple spear of the fork, and while you want each item to have at least a couple of bites in them, you don’t want something too big – this is finger food after all!
On the homemade front I made my usual go-to potato salad (you can find the recipe here, and it also appears in Student Eatsif you prefer to cook out of an actual cookbook rather than off a computer screen!) and some Almond & Apricot Sausage Rolls. I love making ‘homemade’ sausage rolls by fancying up some pre-made sausage meat with a few more interesting flavours and wrapping it in pre-rolled all butter puff pastry, because it is such an easy shortcut to such a fantastic treat.
Waitrose used to sell almond and apricot sausage meat, and during the election my then boss’ wife Kate used it to make a massive tin of sausage rolls were the most welcome thing when breakfast had been hours ago and we’d all been traipsing around Burnham-on-Sea delivering election leaflets on a blistering Saturday morning. This is a homage to that perfect tin of sausage rolls (and Kate’s cooking in general, I have particularly fond memories of her thai green curry – I wish I knew how she makes it and what paste she used – and homemade muesli from my time in Somerset) with sweet chunks of dried apricot and toasty slices of almond.
From the shop brought department I went for a pouch of the crunchy miniature salad vegetables Waitrose have in the salad section to munch on, and of course a coupe of cold, crisp (removed from the fridge at the very, very last minute before heading outside!) cans of Appletiser. I do find their bottles so beautiful and elegant, but a quick, light can of sparkling apple juice is just what you need in the middle of the day!
This recipe will make around 20-24 sausage rolls, and if you can’t find all butter puff pastry, you can use regular puff pastry instead. Sliced almond-wise here in the UK all we can really get is whole blanched almonds or slices which I have used for convenience, but if you live in the USA or somewhere else where you can get the thicker, chunkier slithers such as the ones they sell in Trader Joe’s, use them instead as you’ll get much more of the almond flavour from them.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (400 farenheit). Lightly toast the almonds in a frying pan over a medium heat. Be sure to keep an eye on them as they will turn and burn very quickly!
Remove them from the pan instantly to stop them cooking, and add mix them into the sausage meat, along with the dried apricot pieces until everything is well distributed in the mix. Divide into two and shape into long sausages.
Unroll the puff pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface and half with a sharp knife lengthways. Lay the sausage meat sausages across the lower third of each piece, stretching it out so the meat reaches both ends and is evenly distributed.
Beat the egg with a splash of water to make an egg wash, and brush the wider, exposed section of pastry.
Carefully fold the pastry over the sausage meat to encase it, pressing it gently to help it stick.
Seal the massive sausage rolls by pressing down on the join with a fork.
Using a very clean, sharp knife (clean it on damp kitchen paper between slices) divide the long sausage rolls into smaller, bite sized rolls.
Transfer them to baking sheets lined with baking parchment, and glaze each one with egg wash.
Bake for 25 minutes until the pastry is golden. Let them cool completely before packing them up to transport.
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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One Pan Pescatarian: 100 Delicious Dinners – Veggie, Vegan, Fish
My second cookbook contains 100 delicious dinner recipes, all of which are either vegetarian, vegan or which celebrate fish and seafood - all cooked in either one pot or one pan.*