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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Veggie "Sausage" Rolls

I haven't really been paying much attention to the root vegetable bed recently. With courgettes, plums, apples and sweetcorn all crying out daily for attention right now, it is easy to forget about these quieter, more patient and less needy members of the vegetable family.

It was really my youngest daughter who brought my attention to the beetroot this afternoon. Once again, on her little plot, she is growing yellow vegetables (yellow is her favourite colour). As we went out to harvest some vegetables to throw into the stir-fry I had planned for dinner, I said to her that it would be nice to harvest one of her yellow beetroot to include in the stir-fry too. Yellow beetroot in many ways is more versatile than the usual purple variety because it can go safely into casseroles and stir-fries, adding flavour without turing everything an alarming pink.

My attention, once again, was caught by the block of sweetcorn plants and as I stood there wondering which 4 cobs to pick for dinner, my daughter rushed round to her plot and a moment later came running back proudly holding a perfect yellow beetroot. I suggested she might also like to pull some yellow carrots and as she sped away I thought I ought to go and supervise so that she didn't get too carried away and pull up stuff that wasn't ready. A couple of carrots later she zoomed off to where my beetroots were growing and started crying out enthusiastically about all the "enormous" beetroots she could see. And it was true, there were loads of cricket ball sized roots all pushing themselves and their neighbours out of the ground. And there were others too, the size of large marbles but too wedged in with their neighbours to grow any bigger. Everything was overdue for some attention.

For the next 10 minutes or so my daughter helped to pull out all the large beetroot that were in danger of turning woody if allowed to get any bigger. Then she helped pull out some close growing smaller ones that I promised I would make into pickled whole baby beets for her. There were carrots and parsnips in the bed too, in similar need of thinning so I did theses as I went. And then, as suddenly as her enthusiasm for beetroot had arrived, it went and she announced, "I just want to play now." So off she went whilst I finished the job.

Later, I returned to the kitchen with baskets full of stuff and plenty of carrots and beetroot so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe from the Good Food Magazine for "Veg & Cheese Rolls". As usual, I couldn't help but fiddle with the recipe, leaving out the almonds (a bit odd on savoury pastries) and adding mushroom, garlic, nutmeg, umani paste and a splash of mushroom ketchup to add a "meatiness" to the flavours.

Once cooked, I called the family to tuck in to one each. Suddenly my youngest regained her beetroot enthusiasm and tucked in, quickly polishing it off. This was pleasing but fairly predictable as she loves eating and particularly loves vegetables. My eldest, always a reluctant vegetable eater, wouldn't even try them. Ho-hum, you win some, you lose some. Definitely a recipe to make again though.

Veggie "Sausage" Rolls (makes 8)

  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 beetroot, grated
  • 1 large closed cup mushroom, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Pinch of dried herbs
  • 1 tsp umani paste
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • Splash of mushroom ketchup and/or soy sauce
  • 85g mature cheddar, grated
  • 320g sheet puff pastry
  • Egg or milk for glazing


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and sizzle for 5 mins, stirring now and then, until softened. Add the carrot and beetroot and cook gently for 5 mins, stirring until the veg is soft. Add the mushroom and garlic and continue to cook for 3 or 4 minutes more, adding the herbs, umani paste, nutmeg, mushroom ketchup and soy sauce. Tip into a bowl.
  2. Stir the cheese into the vegetable mixture while it’s still warm the allow to cool.
  3. Unroll the pastry. Cut in half lengthways, then pile the cooled filling down the middle of each strip of pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg or milk, then fold the sides over to cover the filling. Turn the rolls over so the pastry seam is tucked underneath and cut each roll into 4, so you have 8. Place on a greased baking tray and glaze. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  4. Bake for 20 mins until golden brown. Serve the rolls warm or cold.

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