So, given the aforementioned unreliability of the oven here, most of my baking here has been pastry based. I’ve been having all sorts of fun.
One of my odder discoveries about cooking in other people’s kitchens is that people who aren’t my mother, don’t actually have catering sized colour-coded chopping boards. I thought it was just a student thing, but apparently its widespread. Well, actually colour-coded chopping boards are quite common among cooks, but apparently a decent sized chopping board is hard to find. (Unless you want one of those glass worktop savers, but I’m always afraid I’ll break those.) I didn’t realised how used I’d got to the size of the big white board my mum uses for baking, until I came to try and roll pastry on a normal size one. My goodness it’s awkward. (The very cute but truly tiny rolling pin I have, doesn’t actually help, no matter how fond of it I am.) I manage, but, well that was an unexpected addition to the xmas list, I must say!
Pesto Pastry Puffs have become a new favourite of mine. They’re techinically canapés and intended to be made with either tapenade or sundried tomatoes – except that I don’t particularly like either of those things. The first time I made them I had a visiting gran. I’d planned to make veggie sausage rolls for lunch for my visitors but it turned out they weren’t arriving until mid-afternoon so lunch wouldn’t be required. I’d intended to bake and then hadn’t got round to it. I needed something quick and simple to knock up, that I could serve them with tea. Flicking through one of my recipe book I came across the recipe for chaussons aux pommes (which I’ll talk about in another post) but dismissed them due to a lack of apples. But beside that recipe, in its notes it offered a suggestion for using up the left over scraps of puff pastry from that recipe. And lo, I did in fact have some defrosted puff pastry sitting in the fridge from when I hadn’t made sausage rolls.
Essentially, you take your pastry, roll it out thin into a rectangle, slather it in filling (in my case pesto, picked because I had an open jar in the fridge and I figured that people use it interchangeably with sun-dried tomatoes in pasta), roll the pastry lengthways like a swiss roll, chop the roll into 1cm wide circles, place flat on a baking tray and bung in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve warm. Quick, simple, tasty. Perfect canapés – they went down a treat.
I did get round to making my sausage rolls – well, I had the veggie sausages and the rest of pastry all defrosted and waiting, it would have been a shame to waste it – later in the week. I actually miss very little foodwise, being a vegetarian, but sausages are a big one. Finding a good veggie sausage is problematic but it turns out that the one thing that made veggie sausages endlessly consumable to me is turning them into sausage rolls. I love sausage rolls, especially home-made ones – in fact, long before I became a vegetarian I knew a girl who made amazing sausage rolls and her own sausages to go in them, her veggie sausage rolls were glorious. While I can only aspire to veggie sausages that can compare to Bobbie’s I’m really quite pleased with how mine turned out. (They only exploded a little tiny bit!) This is far and away my favourite way to eat veggie sausages.