Winter has nearly passed but the rain and cold are still desperately digging their claws in. The clocks have gone forward, the sun is shining, you think its safe to leave the scarf and umbrella at home and you get caught out, arriving at work or home with cold wet hair plastered to your face, glasses steamed up and soaked sleeves.
On days like these, my mind often goes back to my mums home cooking, we didn’t have a lot of cash to throw around so big portions of comfort food were usually served up for 6, fish pies, curries, leftovers turned into something else and the classic sausage plait.
Mums plait was a classic mix of puff pastry, sausage meat, herbs and seasoning. Often served with mash and beans and eagerly scoffed. Its either a poor mans beef wellington or a posh sausage roll, depending on how you were brought up.
I jazzed mine up with some posh sausages (Co-op don’t sell plain sausage meat), black pudding and vegetables. You can stick whatever you like in there, boiled eggs are a winner, caramelised onions, a mushroom pate for the outside like a real Wellington, the possibilities are yours to create.
You will need:
- One sheet of puff pastry (for a midweek dinner I won’t bother making puff pastry, you can do as you please)
- One pack of sausage meat or packet of sausages of your choosing – I used sweet chilli and pepper
- Four black pudding disks
- Two sticks of celery – thinly diced
- Half a leek – thinly diced
- Tbsp tomato puree
- Tbsp Mixed herbs
- Tsp chilli flakes
- Salt and pepper
- One egg, beaten, for glazing
Preheat your oven to 200c and pop some tinfoil or baking sheet onto a baking tray.
Remove the skin from the sausages, throw the skin away and put the meat into a food processor. Add the other ingredients bar the pastry and blitz until incorporated and broken down. If no food processor or you like it chunky, get your hands in and give it all a good squidge instead.
Put the mixture to one side and grab your tray. Dust the tray with flour and roll the pastry out onto the tray, this will make it easier to transport.
Come back to your mixture and lay it out in the centre of your pastry and flatten the top. It should run along the middle of the pastry with a gap on either side.
With a sharp knife cut strips from the mixture to the edge of the pastry on the diagonal so it looks like an arrow. Liberally apply the egg to the strips and fold each pair on top of the meat. These again will look like arrows.
Apply the egg to the top, season with salt and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, checking after 30 minutes to see how it’s getting on.
When it’s cooked, leave for 5-10 minutes to cool slightly, I find it easier to cut and plate up after doing this.