Dinner Ladies #1

We had a freezer crisis recently which has prompted a new thread for the posts, and may even spawn a TV series. It’s our own version of the Generation Game, involving transatlantic meal preparation. I’m thinking of calling it Diversity Dinners.

It all started when Emma’s freezer was mysteriously left open overnight (no culprits have yet come forward) and the entire contents semi defrosted. An emergency email went out to anyone who fancied assorted (slightly soggy) menu items, and Emma began cooking like a fiend to avoid having to throw away $300 worth of meat. Enter the Sausage Plait..

Now, for those of you who aren’t fortunate enough to know Emma personally, let me just say that she is the consummate hostess. She makes entertaining look effortless, and is one of those supremely irritating people who can cook without a recipe book.. If she didn’t share the same warped sense of humor and feed me endless Michelin star quality meals, I would hate her.

So, back to the Sausage Plait. One of the many parcels of meat dripping gently on the granite countertop was ground pork, for her own recipe; a variation on that british pub buffet staple, the sausage roll. But instead of being a preformed lump of gristle encased in bullet-proof pastry, Emma’s version contained organic pork, grated carrot, courgette (zucchini), onion and apple; sage, mustard powder and freshly ground salt and pepper.. So you see, there was quite the difference. This blissful mix was encased in puff pastry with an intricate woven design on the top, and looked rather like this..

 (please note, we ate the actual meal before it could be photographed – this is one made in the same way by Morgan at Growing in the Fens )

So impressed was I by this culinary masterpiece that I spouted off about it for 20 minutes to my sister (she of the scratchy orange trousers). Although we were separated by eight hours and thousands of miles, the miracle that is Skype allowed me to describe at length and in detail just how simple the dish was to construct, and how wondrous the end result. And the excitement was contagious, for no sooner had I described it, than she was seized by the immediate desire to replicate the recipe.. In her own, inimitable fashion.

Sarah, for those who don’t know her, is also an incredibly creative cook. And while she is incredibly hospitable, and will feed any and all that arrive at her table, the idea of hosting a dinner party ranks right up there with a colonoscopy. She is also passionate about organic produce, but where Emma sources it from the local farmer’s markets, Sarah grows it in her garden. In copious quantities of manure. However, it has to be said that what her meals lack in presentation, they make up for in freshness of ingredients, so they are usually delicious.

And here’s her version. She felt skinning the sausages was an unnecessary step, so simply placed them on top of a bed of grated vegetables. In Emma’s world, this would be a timbale; in Sarah’s, a heap. And she didn’t have puff pastry to hand, so in true Girl Guide (Scout) fashion, she innovated, and substituted short crust, which didn’t quite meet in the middle, but never mind, because at least the sausages would brown…..

Let me introduce you to the Sausage Splat..



5 thoughts on “Dinner Ladies #1”

  1. #1??? Have a horrible feeling there’s more to come! Am hiding all my most hideous pictures from you – I’ve seen what you’ve done to your Mum and Tom.

  2. Oh dear. No matter how much i squint the second bears little resenblance to the first. If they are still with us, poor kids!

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