Two warming autumn recipes

Autumnal eats

This is probably my favourite time of year for getting out and about. Whatever the weather, I’m always keen to make the most of every moment out in the fresh air before winter sets in. These sausage rolls are really worth knowing about. I love to make large sausage rolls to wrap in foil and take out for an easy-to-eat and sustaining packed lunch, but they are also tasty made into daintier snack-sized rolls. For evening sustenance, do try this delicious cottage pie. It makes a simple and warming autumn or winter meal, and positively improves by being made in advance. Some fresh green vegetables are all it needs to accompany it.

Sausage rolls

Makes about 10

sausage rolls

This is a very flexible recipe but using good-quality sausage meat and all-butter pastry will make a big difference. You can add extra flavours to the meat, if you wish – dried chopped fruit, such as apricots, or fresh herbs, such as sage. Try a sprinkling of seeds on top of the pastry for an extra layer of flavour. I often do half and half, making two varieties from one batch.


  • 375g all-butter puff pastry
  • 500g sausage meat
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs, chopped (optional)
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4 and set out a large non-stick baking tray.

  2. Roll out the pastry if yours is not pre-rolled. It needs to be about 3-4mm thick.

  3. If you are adding herbs to the sausage meat, mix them in now. Then form the sausage meat into an even cylinder shape, about 4-5cm in diameter for large sausage rolls and 2-3cm for smaller ones.

  4. Start with the pastry set out in front of you in a rectangle in landscape form. Lay the sausage meat evenly along the length of the pastry, right up to the very edge on each side, around 1/3 of the way down the height.

  5. Fold the top of the pastry back over the sausage meat, ensuring it is tidily wrapped around the sausage meat, with a small overlap. Press along the seam gently with a fork to seal the pastry together.

  6. Cut the sausage rolls into individual pieces by slicing through the width of the large roll using a sharp knife. Transfer each roll to the baking tray, spreading them out well. Brush with the beaten egg and score the tops, if you wish. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using, and bake the sausage rolls until they are puffed and a rich, golden brown. This should take 15-25 minutes.

  7. Transfer to a wire rack and allow them to cool before serving either warm or completely cold. They will keep for up to 5 days.


Cottage pie with sweet potato mash

Serves 4-6

sweet potato cottage pie


  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 500g minced beef
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 25g butter
  • 50g grated cheese – half cheddar, half parmesan is nice
  • To serve, steamed green vegetables


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4. Fill a kettle with water and boil.

  2. Put the sweet potatoes into a large saucepan. Cover with boiling water and boil until soft, which should take around 15-20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Pour the oil into a large frying pan and warm over a moderate heat. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the beef, season well and cook for 5-10 minutes, until browned, breaking the meat up well.

  4. Add the tomato purée, stock, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and more pepper, if required. Stir well and leave to bubble away for about 15 minutes.

  5. Transfer the cottage pie filling into an ovenproof dish, about 20cm square in size, and set aside.

  6. Drain the sweet potatoes well and mash with the butter and cheese. Season well and spread evenly over the top of the beef. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the topping has lightly browned and the filling is bubbling. Serve with steamed green vegetables.


Charlotte Pike is an award-winning food writer. For more foodie inspiration, follow her on Twitter @Charlotte_Pike_ 

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