I grew up with avid foodie parents who loved nothing more than trying to outdo each other in the kitchen.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times my father demonstrated how to crack open and dress a crab. Seafood was his speciality and our Sunday tea usually consisted of crab, brown shrimps, winkles and cockles, salad and brown bread and butter and was utterly delicious.
My mum was a different story. Much as she tucked into the seafood with us, her heart was elsewhere and her absolute speciality was and still is making the most perfect shortcrust pastry you have ever tasted. It is a simple thing but done correctly is a thing of beauty.
She created numerous pie and tarts but the thing we loved most as a family – particularly my dad – was her sausage rolls. He was crazy about that combination of shortcrust pastry and filling.
It’s more usual to make a sausage roll using flakey or puff pastry but mum always favoured shortcrust and I have to say I still definitely prefer it.
Other essential ingredients are of course a good quality free range pork sausagemeat, pinch of mixed herbs and a grated onion, and a beaten egg for glazing.
Needless to say, this recipe has been passed on to me and my daughter now loves them the same way my father did. If she sees me making them she will let out a squeal of delight and rush over to try and ‘help’ me roll out the pastry (most of this ends up in her mouth). I imagine she’ll be making them herself before too long. Maybe with her own daughter.
Time marches on and my father sadly died this year but at the end of last year when he was getting frail and not eating very much, he and my mother came to stay and he asked if she would make some of her famous sausage rolls. We were both so pleased that he wanted to eat something – and seeing that my mother was tired I immediately jumped in and offered to make them instead.
“Ooh yes please! Can I help?”, came the cry from my daughter peeping round his bedroom door, so off we two went and made mum’s famous sausage rolls.
When they were done and we were all tucking into them around my dad’s bed, he took a bite, turned to my mum and said “Do you know I think this pastry might be even better than yours”…
I’ll never forget the look on her face or the smile on his. Priceless.
Thanks for all the laughs dad, and Happy Father’s Day.