As 2015 drew to a close, so did my time in Australia (home for the past half year). I packed my bags, headed back to Greensboro- with a brief detour in Asia- and am now trying to mentally prepare myself for the 6 months or so that lie ahead (read: last semester of undergrad).
But for now, I’m still on winter break with too much time to kill and think. So what do you do when you’re stuck at home, riddled with existential crises and lack of clear direction in life? Umm.. make food.
It’s arguably the BEST way to spend your free time. You’ve gotta eat, right? And you’ve got all that crap stuffed away in the back of the pantry that needs to be used sooner or later.
And if you’re creative in any sort of way then this shit is your saving grace. What a great way to feel productive as an artist. You’re creating a real, tangible product that- unlike your historically fictitious short story or experimental KawaiiMetal EP- can’t be shoved to the back of the closet to finish never.
(And yes, food is art, haters. Doubtful? Just check out @TishaCherry’s IG).
Sausage rolls are a hot commodity in Oz, sold at about every fish & chips shop and in the freezer aisle of Coles, Woolies and even NQR. Because my family never came to visit me while I was on the other side of the globe*, I decided to share a small piece of Australia with them through this recipe.
*I promise I’m not still bitter
- 2 cans crescent rolls
- 4 veggie sausage patties, cooked according to package directions
- 1/4 cup dried mushrooms, soaked in 1/3 cup water for 10+ minutes
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1 tbs. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (or 2 tsp. soy sauce + 1 tsp. lemon juice + 1 tsp. cane sugar)
- Preheat oven to 350º
- Spread contents of crescent roll cans onto two separate nonstick baking sheets
- Divide dough from each can into four equal-sized rectangles
- Place remaining ingredients in food processor or blender and pulse until well-mixed but still retaining some texture
- Scoop 1-2 spoonfuls of “sausage” mixture onto each rectangle of dough, and spread lengthwise along one side of the dough
- Fold short ends of dough slightly over the filling, as if you were folding a baby burrito
- Fold side closest to filling about 1/2 cm. over the center, then fold bigger side to meet it
- Press long side of dough over short side to create a seal
- Place rolls in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown
If the thought of making veggie sausage rolls in stark silence makes you sad, pop on any of the following 5 albums. They’re some of my favorite records from the past year, and all happen to come from Australian artists.
I’ve provided a few video samples to get you started, but all of these albums should be enjoyed in their entirety.
High– Royal Headache
I’ve been playing this album on repeat for about 3 months with no signs of slowing down. The band emerged from the Sydney punk scene, but High comes across as more mod revival than anything. It’s Royal Headache’s second album and draws influence from fuzzy garage rock and 60’s Brit-pop ballads. The album feels familiar yet fresh, with soulful lyrics you can sing along to and plenty of hooks that’ll get you up and moving.
Down Time– Totally Mild
Totally Mild is a four-piece band hailing from Melbourne (best city in Australia). Despite comparisons to Best Coast and She & Him, I think the group really holds their own on this album. They opted for a cleaner, sleeker sound than their formative, lofi tracks. They still include beachy guitar riffs and a hazy tone, but it doesn’t seem overdone. Down Time is more haunting than jangly, which is a pleasant surprise coming from a band that could easily fall into generic indie-pop territory.
Currents– Tame Impala
Can you believe that I didn’t love this album when I first heard it? A long-time Tame Impala fan, I was convinced that InnerSpeaker was the best and nothing else would compare. Currents is different, no doubt, but great in it’s own right. Definitely more BeeGees than Beatles, but still retaining all the hallucinogen-fuelled prowess you would expect from the band. The album is dance-y and catchy and sad and reflective. Each song has it’s own identity, yet they bind together seamlessly.
Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit– Courtney Barnett
Don’t be turned off by Courtney’s deadpan upon first listen. She’s someone who I came to appreciate more with time- and now I’m obsessed. Also from Melbourne (via Sydney and Tasmania), she is lyrically inspired and a kick-ass guitarist to boot. Her latest release is beautiful if only for it’s honesty- but it has a whole lot more to offer beyond a raw look into Ms. Barnett’s mind. Her light grunge-inspired instrumentation appropriately balances her exposé of life’s banalities.
Man it Feels Like Space Again– Pond
My inclusion of this album has nothing to do with my deep found love of Tame Impala (although the bands have shared several members over the years). Sit down, get comfy and take a few deep breaths before listening because the compilation is a trip within itself. It’s psychedelia can be a bit chaotic, but in a way that’s entrancing rather than annoying. The band has historically been written off as cliché by critics. Frontman Nick Allbrook has even hinted that it’s all a bit of a joke, but it’s done well so who really cares? Ironic or not, this album is one to add to the list.