Cook, you're it! - New blog meme

Josh Hesketh (you may know him from such conferences as lca2009) suggested I start a blog meme based on food. The idea is that I post a recipe. The first person to try it and take a photo of the result can then post a recipe of their own, which can be cooked by others, a photo taken, and so on.

The reason for this suggestion was  that I made a second attempt at cooking an interpretation of a dish I saw on an episode of River Cottage years ago. The original is a moroccan inspired pigeon pie, which Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cooks after taking out some of his new landlords pigeons with a rifle.

My (rather loose) interpretation of this dish takes the form of large sausage rolls - or sausage logs if you will - and involves no firearms. So, here is the first post in the geek food blog meme :-)

Moroccan Spiced Turkey Sausage Rolls
with yoghurt sauce and rocket salad

You will need a fry pan, a large bowl, a small bowl, a vegetable peeler, a baking sheet, some grease proof paper and an oven. A small saucepan may also come in handy, but is not essential, as is a pastry brush.

Preparation will take about half an hour, cooking 35 to 45 minutes, depending on your oven.

Ingredients (sausage rolls)

  • 500g of turkey mince
  • 4 sheets of puff pastry (frozen would be prefect)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 50g of pine nuts
  • 50g of raw pistachio nuts
  • 50g of slivered blanched almonds
  • 50g of dried apricots
  • 50g of dried pitted dates
  • 25g of currants
  • 25g of preserved lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of cummin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • an egg
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • castor sugar (optional)

Ingredients (dip)

  • 1 cup of greek yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini
  • fresh mint and/or coriander (optional)

Ingredients (salad)

  • 250g of rocket (washed)
  • 1 pear (a hard one like a packham is better)
  • 1 avocado (optional)
  • 1 lemon


Pull four sheets of puff pasty from the freezer and put them aside to defrost on a flat surface. Do not attempt to defrost them in the microwave or your oven.

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Heat the fry pan over medium heat and put in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Chop the onion and carrot into pieces of about the size of a pine nut and add them to the pan. Season with a pinch of salt. Fry the vegetables until soft, then move them from the pan to the bowl and spread them around, so they cool down. You do not need them to caramelise and go brown, so take your time.

Chop the apricots, dates and preserved lemon into pieces about 5mm on a side and add them to the bowl. Also add the currants. Again, you're after pieces of about the same size as a pine nut.

Next you need to some nut and spice toasting.

First toast the pine nuts. Use either the small saucepan or clean the fry pan and use that. Put it on low heat and add in the pine nuts. Keep them moving either with a wooden spoon or by shaking the pan over the heat. When the pine nuts turn a light golden colour and start to smell, add them to the bowl to cool down.

If they have black spots or smell burnt, throw them out and start again.

Coarsely chop the pistachios and toast them, just like the pine nuts. They won't change colour, so check them by smell.  When toasted, add them to the bowl.

Give the pan a wipe to remove any oils and add in the ground cinnamon and coriander and the cummin seeds. Toast them over medium heat, also taking care to not burn them by keeping them moving. You'll smell when they're done. Add them to the bowl.

Add the ginger and garlic to the bowl.

If you bought fresh mint or coriander to put in the yoghurt sauce, you may want to chop some to put in the bowl as well.

Add the turkey mince to the bowl and season with salt and pepper, say 1/8 of a teaspoon of each. (Keep in mind the preserved lemon is quite salty). Now it's time to get messy. Squelch everything around with your hands until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Then divide into four and wash your hands. Properly.

Put a sheet of grease proof paper on the baking sheet.

Scramble the egg in the small bowl to create an eggwash.

Put a sheet of puff pastry on a flat surface and brush all edges with the eggwash. Then take one quarter of the turkey mix and place it about 1/3 of the way from the far edge of the pastry. Shape it into a log , leaving about 5cm between it and the edge of the pastry on either side. Grab the far edge of the pasrtry and roll the log into it.

You should now have a floppy pastry tube with a center of turkey mix. Push down the sides and try to get most of the air out.

Brush the entire top of the log with eggwash, then fold the flattened sides of the pastry against the side of the log, leaving you with a relatively neat parcel. The parcel is supposed to be log shaped, not ball or cube shaped.

Eggwash the sides that are now exposed.

Sprinkle a quarter of the slivered almonds over the top of the log; you may need to gently push them into the pastry to make them stick. Now sprinkle lightly with some ground cinnamon and (optionally) a pinch of castor sugar.

Move the log to the baking sheet, making sure to keep space for the others.

Repeat until you have four logs.

Put the baking sheet in the top half of your oven. Check after 35 minutes. If the pastry looks golden brown and the almonds have browned slightly, the sausage rolls are done. If it looks like wet newspaper, the oven is not hot enough, so turn the heat up a bit and give them another 10 minutes.

Whilst the sausage rolls are cooking, prepare the sauce by mixing the tahini into the yoghurt. The yoghurt will thicken slightly and get a nutty flavour. If you wish, you can stir in some finely chopped mint, coriander or both. Do not use dried herbs for this.

Just before the rolls come out of the oven, assemble your salad.

Dump the rocket in a serving bowl. Peel the pear. Now make slices of pear using the vegetable peeler and drape them over the rocket. Add a much as you like. Optionally, halve the avocado. Use a spoon to scoop bite sized pieces out of the shell and scarret them over the top of the pear slices. Again, add as much (or little) as you like. Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice from one half over the salad.

Serve the sausage rolls with the yoghurt sauce and the salad.

Tag, you're it!

To continue the meme, take a photo and post it, then write up your own recipe and get someone else to make it.

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