Perhaps my positive thinking really has paid off this week. It’s Friday and I’m ready to enjoy my weekend – a trip to see the Cirque du Soleil after work on Saturday, and cooking for friends on Sunday. If I had a two day weekend, I would certainly be in the mood for celebrating tonight!
When I’m at home, we like to celebrate Fridays with a party tea: a spread of nibbles and treats, that usually takes the best part of a day to make and the best part of a weekend to consume.
My boyfriend and I recently made our first party tea together (pictured above) – surely the greatest milestone in any relationship. Ours was for an actual party, but in my family the noble tradition of party tea stems from our customary massive feast on Christmas Eve. It was in a Good Housekeeping Christmas magazine that I first found this recipe for cheese and chive sausage rolls, and they have been a staple of my celebratory suppers ever since.
I always make them in advance and cook them from frozen on the day of the celebration – this saves cooking time on an already busy day, and means that my freezer is always stocked up ready for a cheese and pastry emergency! They are popular with meat eaters as well as vegetarians, and are extra delicious with a sprinkling of sesame seeds on top.
Cheese & Chive Sausage Rolls
(From Good Housekeeping Christmas magazine a few years ago)
200g chopped bread
125g chopped cheddar
100g crumbled goats’ cheese
2 roasted red peppers, chopped
20g chives, chopped
375g shortcrust pastry (or make your own: suggested recipe at the end)
1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Put the bread, cheeses and peppers in a food processor. Whiz to form a paste, season, add the chives and whiz again. Put the mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes or so to let it firm up a bit.
2. Divide the pastry into 3 and roll out one piece on a floured surface to 25x10cm.
3. Spoon a third of the cheese mixture into a sausage shape along the pastry strip.
4. Brush some egg along one edge, roll it over and secure the sealed edge underneath.
5. Cut 2.5cm slices on the diagonal, I get 8-9 per roll. I can never get the end pieces particularly tidy – you could either discard that little bit, or, as I do, keep them for ‘testers’ when you cook them. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if you like. Repeat with the rest of the pastry.
6. Put the rolls onto baking sheets and bake for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes (seriously, do it – they are HOT), then serve.
7. Alternatively, rather than put them into the oven my preference is to open freeze them overnight then pack them into freezer bags in the morning so they are always ready when I feel the need for nibbles. They can be cooked from frozen for 25-30 minutes at 220C.
To make your own pastry you need 280g flour and 140g cold butter, cubed.
1. Tip the flour and butter into a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until completely mixed and crumbly.
2. Add 8 tbsp cold water and bring together with your hands. Roll into a ball and use straight away.