Sausage rolls are perennially popular, especially for casual finger food at a party. Making your own, using good-quality ingredients, is so simple and gives such fabulous results that you'll never look back.
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
60 g (2¼ oz/½ cup) chopped pancetta
Pinch of allspice
300 g (10½ oz) good-quality pork sausages, removed from their casings
300 g (10½ oz) minced (ground) pork
60 g (2¼ oz/1 cup, lightly packed) fresh breadcrumbs, made from day-old bread
1 small green apple (about 100 g/3½ oz), peeled and coarsely grated
¼ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 egg yolk
1 quantity rough puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked with 2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1. Heat a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add 3 teaspoons of the fennel seeds and cook, shaking the pan, for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to grind the seeds to a powder.
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped fennel and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and pancetta and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the fennel is golden and tender. Add the ground fennel and the allspice and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Set aside to cool.
3. Combine the sausage meat, minced pork, cooled fennel mixture, breadcrumbs, apple, parsley and egg yolk in a large bowl. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
5. Cut the pastry in half widthways, then roll each piece out on a lightly floured work surface to a 25 cm (10 inch) square. Cut each pastry sheet in half. Divide the mince mixture into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a log and place on the centre of each piece of pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry well with the egg wash. Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling, overlapping the edges and pressing to seal. Transfer to a tray and refrigerate for 20 minutes to rest and chill.
6. Line 2 more baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Place the sausage rolls on a chopping board, seam side down. Cut each roll into 3 equal pieces. Transfer to the lined trays, allowing room for spreading.
7. Combine the remaining fennel seeds and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Brush the sausage rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with the seed mixture. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4), swap the trays around and cook for 10-15 minutes more or until puffed and golden.