I haven’t forgotten about you guys! The whole moving across the world while having a day job and a kid thing really ate up the first seven weeks of 2020 for me. But I’m settled in Florida, Marcella is back in daycare, and I’m ready to cook (and hopefully write) up a storm!

That said, I can’t really commit to any particular updating frequency just yet (although I’m aiming for every other week). If you want to make sure you don’t miss a thrilling KBL update, sign up below! I promise not to spam you- I honestly don’t even know how.

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OK, now onto the navel-gazing/cooking demo:

My love affair with travel started in 2006, when I broke up with my boyfriend, packed my bags, and spent a semester studying English Literature at University College London. I had rarely been out of the country before, and never on my own. The dizzying freedom hit me like heroin. I loved the constant sense of adventure, the unexpected discoveries, the boys with cute accents, and that feeling you get when you walk and walk until your feet hurt, without any idea where you might end up.

Me in 2006. I have never managed to recreate the success of that one haircut…

But most of all, I loved London. The unreal city packed tight with history and culture and life. I couldn’t get enough of it. So, when I graduated from college in Spring 2007, I almost immediately headed back across the pond, armed with nothing but a six-month work visa and a LOT of spunk. 

It was one of the most significant decisions I’ve ever made. I lived with three Australian boys and partied way too much. I had a cute English boyfriend and a not-as-glamorous-as-it-sounds job at Christies Fine Arts. It was one of the most exciting times of my life in spite of the fact (or maybe because of the fact) that I was really, very, very poor.

My messy London crew circa 2008

In 2007 the dollar to pound exchange rate was nearly two to one. My small savings were effectively halved as soon as I got off the plane. My job paid the English equivalent of minimum wage, and my rent for what was hardly more than a walk-in closet was £440 a month (nearly $900!). 

I was in the most magnificent city on earth, but I could barely afford my weekly tube ticket. This didn’t stop me from having a great time. It was romantic in the way that only being broke at 22 can be (i.e., the kind of poor you know is temporary because you can always go on back home and get a real job. Plus you don’t really have any responsibilities besides yourself. Privileged poor, I guess).

At the core of my money woes: I didn’t know how to cook. At all. I subsisted mostly off of Tesco chocolate croissants, hummus, and take out.

Which brings me to our subject today: one of the greatest cheap takeaway snacks ever made: the English sausage roll. 

Hungry but Cheap? There’s a Roll for That.

Sausage rolls are a savory on-the-go snack that you can find all over the UK (and in Australia too). They are pretty simple things: a tube of flaky puff pastry holding savory sausage. Perfectly sized to fit in your hand. Hot, filling, and cheap, sometimes just £1. The perfect on the go breakfast or afternoon snack while wandering around damp and chilly London.

Their portability, affordability, and comfort food-ability makes them crazy popular in England. The chain bakery Greggs claims that they sell 140 million sausage rolls each year. Due to popular demand, they even made a vegan version. In 2017 the company got in a bit of hot water when they sold an advent calendar where the baby Jesus was replaced by a delicious sausage roll.

Despite its popularity elsewhere, the sausage roll has never really leaped across the pond, much to the dismay and even derision of our British neighbors. The closest you might find are pigs in a blanket or bagel dogs.

Don’t fret, though, as I discovered; sausage rolls are really easy to make yourself.

Rolling with the Punches

I spent a couple of weeks this January staying at my Mom’s house in Arlington before the last leg of our Florida move. I sent her my KBL list and told her to pick what we should try to make together. She picked sausage rolls- perhaps inspired by her trip to visit me way back in 2006.

I was a bit intimidated to tackle sausage rolls initially as I’ve never really worked with puff pastry before, and it just kind of sounds complicated. Pastry isn’t something you make, it’s something you pick out of a case, you know? But it turns out puff pastry is dead simple to use… unless you’re me.

I bought a roll of frozen pre-made puffed pastry from Trader Joe’s that looked quite promising. With Marcella supervising from the kitchen table, my Mom and I set about making our sausage filling: ground sausage, spices, onion etc. Marcella danced around with a mixing bowl on her head. It was all going swimmingly until I took the puff pastry out of the freezer to discover to my complete surprise… that it was frozen.

Frozen rock solid. Could not unroll, could not become a sausage roll. The back of the package helpfully informed me to “remove from freezer 24 hours before using.”

Great.

With dinner looming on the horizon and the natives becoming restless I jumped in the car and sped off to Safeway, where I was thankfully able to acquire some none-frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator case. Sped back home, whipped up my rolls, and dinner was saved (for everyone but Marcella who had gorged herself on blueberries and string cheese in the interim).

Make You Own Sausage Rolls

I adapted this recipe from a couple different sources- Grantourismo’s blog post (for what was technically an Australia sausage roll-shh) and The Spruce Eats one were the major guiding forces. Although I chose to make my own filling, shout out to my friend Erin who uses Jimmy Dean sausage in her rolls and swears her English MIL does the same. I will probably use pre-made sausage next time which will take this recipe from pretty easy to dead simple.

Yields1 ServingQuarter (0.25 Servings)Half (0.5 Servings)Default (1 Serving)Double (2 Servings)Triple (3 Servings)

 1 tbsp olive oil
 1 Small onion, finely chopped
 3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
 1 lb ground pork
 3 tbsp bread crumbs
 1 tsp salt
 0.50 tsp ground white pepper
 1 tsp dried sage
 2 Sheets puffed pastry (thawed and refrigerated)
 2 eggs

1

Preheat oven to 400 F.

2

Heat olive oil in a frying pan and sautee onions and garlic until slightly browned.

3

Let mixture cool (or pop in fridge), then add to a mixing bowl along with the ground pork, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and sage.

4

Mix with hands until just combined. Do not overmix.

5

Roll out one sheet of the puff pastry. Use a pizza cutter to cut in half.

6

Place 1/3 of the filling mixture vertically along the center of the half pastry sheet. You want a thick band of filling from top to bottom.

7

Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to paint one end of the pastry sheet.

8

Carefully fold the pastry sheet over the filling, creating a seam in the middle.

9

Cut the roll in half to make two equal size rolls.

10

Flip the rolls over, seam side down, onto a non-stick baking sheet. Brush the top of the rolls with egg wash and make three horizontal cuts in the top of the roll.

11

Repeat process with other half of the puffed pastry. Cut second sheet of puff pastry in half and repeat with half. You will have one half sheet leftover.

12

Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown and baked through. Let cool slightly before eating.

Ingredients

 1 tbsp olive oil
 1 Small onion, finely chopped
 3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
 1 lb ground pork
 3 tbsp bread crumbs
 1 tsp salt
 0.50 tsp ground white pepper
 1 tsp dried sage
 2 Sheets puffed pastry (thawed and refrigerated)
 2 eggs

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 400 F.

2

Heat olive oil in a frying pan and sautee onions and garlic until slightly browned.

3

Let mixture cool (or pop in fridge), then add to a mixing bowl along with the ground pork, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and sage.

4

Mix with hands until just combined. Do not overmix.

5

Roll out one sheet of the puff pastry. Use a pizza cutter to cut in half.

6

Place 1/3 of the filling mixture vertically along the center of the half pastry sheet. You want a thick band of filling from top to bottom.

7

Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to paint one end of the pastry sheet.

8

Carefully fold the pastry sheet over the filling, creating a seam in the middle.

9

Cut the roll in half to make two equal size rolls.

10

Flip the rolls over, seam side down, onto a non-stick baking sheet. Brush the top of the rolls with egg wash and make three horizontal cuts in the top of the roll.

11

Repeat process with other half of the puffed pastry. Cut second sheet of puff pastry in half and repeat with half. You will have one half sheet leftover.

12

Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown and baked through. Let cool slightly before eating.

British Sausage Rolls

Rock and Roll

Despite the last minute pastry drama, these rolls were really very easy to make. They were good hot, but for some reason tasted even BETTER refridgerated and reheated the next day. The pastry was chewier that way. I could see making a batch and freezing them for a quick meal on the go- which is after all, their intended use.

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About Me

I’m a girl who can’t sit still. After nearly a decade of flitting around the world as a professional blogger and travel writer, I’ve settled into expat life in Bologna, Italy. I have a handsome husband, a floppy dog, and the best two year old in the world.

I blog professionally at Why Wait To See the World, and unprofessionally right here.