Today we are excited to bring to you our first food blogger contribution, by the wonderfully talented Lina J from The Lebanese Plate. Lina started off her working career very much like me, as an English/History teacher, until life threw her in a different direction and she took up photography and combined this with her love of good food.
The Lebanese Plate is partly about food photography, partly food styling & certainly a lot to do with sharing her love for this cuisine. But overall, the main concept came from wanting to hang on to a special part of her Lebanese heritage, and fusing it with her Australian identity.
Her first contribution to The Modest Life is a perfect example of this… Enjoy!
Written by Lina J.
Trying to please the whole family when it comes to mealtime isn’t the easiest of tasks. Over the years I’ve had a crack at many tricks, sneaky ones and some not so subtle, to get my kids to eat what I cook. I’m also not ashamed to say I’ve used bribery! ‘No dinner, no dessert,’ is not one that I use often, but it ALWAYS works, even now with my three eldest at age 15, 12 and 10!
What I’ve never subscribed to, though, is a ‘cook more than one meal so everyone is happy’ type of approach. And really I’ve never had time to do just that. Instead I’ve grown to be a strong believer in the rules on the sign below (an actual sign that you’ll find hanging on my kitchen wall!). This is what my kids have become accustomed to and although they may still resist sometimes, they will eat what’s put in front of them.
Now before you judge me and say, ‘yeah right’, I’m making this up, they can’t possibly eat everything you cook! Well, in short the answer is yes, they do. Not because they were touched by some positive eating fairy and certainly not because they’re perfect kids but because after many bouts of tears and tantrums at the table, they realised that ‘no substitutions’ and ‘no complaining’ was the only way.
It wasn’t easy. It did take a lot of hard work and an abundance of patience over years, not weeks or months!
Nowadays, my ‘tricks’ have changed. They’re a bit older with a more ‘Mum, you can’t fool me’ attitude. So I try to be a bit more creative to get them interested and excited about the meal. I get them in the kitchen as much as possible too, where they help with the prep and cooking, which I find always works. And, of course, I now know what’s going to be a winner, so I try to cook those meals on a regular basis.
Some of the ‘winners’ at my place are burritos, most things kafta, meat pies and the good old flaky, meaty sausage rolls.
The humble Aussie sausage roll…or is it?
With a quick ‘googling’ I quickly realised that the Aussie sausage roll is not authentically Aussie! Say what?
Yep, the sausage roll actually came over from Britain. This is perfectly ok, of course, being the loving and diverse Nation we are, we welcomed her in with open arms and accepted her as one of our own.
I don’t mind a good sausage roll, but personally I’ve never really liked a packaged one. I always wonder what’s packed into the meat filling that usually tastes bland unless it’s drenched in tomato sauce (side note: meat pies and sausage rolls, the only times where drenching with tomato sauce is forgivable haha). So I always try and make my own.
Naturally, me being me, I decided to turn the sausage roll on it’s flaky head and give it a Lebanese touch.
In this recipe I use chicken mince and added Lebanese flavours, which the whole family really enjoyed. I hope your family does too!
Lebanese-Australian Sausage Rolls
What you’ll need:
- 500g thigh mince
- 500g breast mince
- 1 onion (large, finely chopped)
- 1/2 red capsicum (diced, small cubes)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons baharat (Baharat is a Lebanese 7 spice mix; sometimes called ‘7 spices’ in Arabic. It’s made up of a mix of paprika, pepper, cumin, cloves, coriander seed, cardamom and nutmeg. You can find ‘baharat’ at most Middle Eastern grocers & some supermarket chains.)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped continental parsley
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (3-4 slices of bread, processed into fine crumb)
- 2 eggs
- Use 6 sheets puff pastry
- 1 egg (extra for brushing)
- 1 tablespoon poppy seed
1. Remove puff pastry sheets from freezer.
2. Preheat your oven to 200ºC and line two oven trays with baking paper.
3. Place thigh & breast mince into a large bowl with the chopped onion, chopped capsicum, salt, baharat, pepper, parsley, breadcrumbs & 2 eggs.
4. Mix to combine all ingredients really well.
5. One at a time, cut a pastry sheet in half. Take approximately ½ cup of the mince mixture and spread it out evenly across long side of pastry sheet.
6. Roll up to enclose filling, and cut into 3 pieces (about 8cm in length).
7. Place each roll on oven tray about 2cm apart.
8. Beat remaining egg and brush tops and sprinkle with a little of the poppy seeds.
9. Bake at 200º for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 180º and bake for a further 5 – 10 minutes. Sausage rolls should be golden brown, crispy and filling cooked through.
Enjoy with tomato sauce or a Sumac Yoghurt (1 cup greek yoghurt mixed with one teaspoon of sumac).
Makes approximately 36 rolls