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My Pork, kale and fennel sausage rolls + a lesson learned the hard way.

I don’t like using labels when it comes to describing the way we eat in our family.  

In my experience, being dogmatic and rigid about diet only creates more challenges in an area of life that is already difficult enough to navigate.  That’s not to say I don’t have certain ideas about what kinds of foods I want to use to nourish myself and my family, it just means I don’t let guilt in or beat myself up if we stray outside of those ideals.

But this wasn’t always how I approached things.

Do you want to know why I have relaxed my attitude towards food?

I’m going to share a little story with you that is very personal. I have asked my daughter if she minds because it is about her, but really it is about me.

We were on a family holiday and after arriving at our hotel, I had a little stash of commercial biscuits in wrappers we had been given on the plane but not allowed anyone to eat.  I put this stash into a kitchen drawer and forgot all about it.

One morning I came out to the kitchen and found my daughter looking at me with guilt and fear, hands hidden behind her back.  When I asked her what she was doing, she burst into tears.  She had taken the biscuits with the intention of eating them secretly.  She was so upset and ashamed of taking these biscuits thinking that I was going to be terribly angry and disappointed in her.

The only person I was terribly angry and disappointed with was myself.

In that moment, I realised, with absolute clarity, that I had created an image of some foods being bad and eating them made you bad too.

As you can imagine, I was horrified.

I was so lucky to be meeting a friend that morning who knows just how hard it is to feed your family well and talking about it helped me put things in perspective.

Since that moment, I have relaxed my attitude towards food and it has actually resulted in my family eating better than ever!

We now talk about using food to nourish our bodies and make us strong and healthy.  We eat food that will feel good in our bodies and give us energy for the day.  We have an abundance of good food around the house so there is always something good to eat.  We talk about making good choices, about treats being just that…an occasional indulgence you should enjoy and feel good about eating.

We like to eat food that hasn’t been processed, but is fresh and in season.  We try to prepare things simply and show gratitude for it.

If we find ourselves in a situation where the choices aren’t ideal, we don’t worry too much about it, we just get back on track as soon as we can.

We do our best and mostly, that’s pretty good.

Now, on weekends, I ask the kids what they would like to eat and we prepare a meal together. The request for sausage rolls has been coming up a lot.  So…we made sausage rolls.  And, they were delicious!

Pork, kale + garlic sausage rolls…

sausage roll


500g free range pork mince

1 cup good quality bread crumbs

A big handful of kale, chopped

1 onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 T Fennel Seeds

1 egg yolk (optional)

Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to season

Puff pastry – home made if you are that way inclined – I’m not, I used the Careme All Butter Puff Pastry available from good delis or food stores.

Tomato relish to serve.

Since we don’t eat a lot of bread in our house, if I do have leftovers from a sour dough loaf we might have had on a weekend, I collect all the end bits and pieces and store them in a bag in the freezer until I have enough to blitz into some bread crumbs.

What to do:

Pre-heat your oven to 190C (175C Fan Forced)

Melt a little butter in a pan and add the onions, garlic and fennel seeds.  Cook, stirring often for about five minutes.  Add the kale and cook until softened.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

Add the kale mixture to your pork mince and stir to combine well.  You can add an egg yolk at this point if you like, to help it hold together and season well with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Roll out your pastry (I divided mine into four equal rectangles and made four larger sized sausage rolls but you can make little ones if you prefer) and wet the edges with a little water.  Place the sausage mix along the long edge of the pastry, the roll the pastry up to enclose the sausage and make a sausage roll.

Brush the top with a little egg wash (an egg roughly beaten with a splash of milk) if you like and then score the top in diagonal lines with a sharp knife to make cutting later a little easier.

Place on a lined baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes.

Slice and serve with veggies or salad and a yummy relish or sauce if you have some handy.

*If you are on a gluten free eating plan, or would prefer to go without the pastry, leave out the bread crumbs or be sure to use a gluten free variety and use the pork mixture to make some  tasty rissoles… grill until golden and serve with salad and red onion relish.


What’s your take on family food?  Do you have any hard and fast rules about the way you eat? I’d love to know what works for you.

Happy Eating,

Mamacino x

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19 thoughts on “My Pork, kale and fennel sausage rolls + a lesson learned the hard way.

  1. Yep, yep and YEP I hear you!!! I too am an ideal world yes we would eat wholefoods 100% of the time but I realise that much of my anxiety is that I cannot control our world and when someone makes a white flour/sugar cake for me then I will eat it and rather than focus on what nutrients it has that will nourish me which I predominantly do when eating, I focus on the love/care factor that my friend has put into the baked good…… If you are gluten intolerant etc then okay this mightn’t be right but if its just becuase you are being obsessive that it doesn’t have loads of nutrients in it then my belief now is that occasional consumption is fine. So I now go in with the thought if i have a choice then I will choose what I feel is the right thing at that particular time ( not what I have as a preconceived notion in my head) for ME ie if it is going to cause me stress by saying no because i will be saying no to a friend then that stress will be far more detrimental to my health than a few bits of a choc chip cookie, however if I truly do not want the cookie or an ingredient may harm my health eg if gluten free then now I will try and back myself and not just eat something to please others only but if I feel the cookie will nourish my soul then that’s the right decision for ME . Everyone must establish their own guidelines but know we are not perfect and our environment where it is out of our control then we just have to “Wing” it sometimes xox Beautiful story and such a great reminder/lesson for us all that your little one has given us xox

    1. Thanks Be a, for your comment – I love the way you focus on the love that has gone into the food – the most important ingredient x

  2. Thanks for sharing your (and your daughter’s) story Mamacino! I can most certainly relate! After realising that when I wasn’t there my 7 year old was asking for store-bought muffins, ice-blocks, ice-creams, biscuits etc at friend’s houses who eat that kind of food, I realised I needed to make some changes. The last thing I want is her hiding what she eats because she knows I don’t regard it as healthy. All the denial was making her gorge on those foods when she had the chance. I’ve loosened my grip and reminded myself that at her age food priorities are different. I will keep educating my kids, and I will keep making nutritious food for my family, but I’ll make sure when we do indulge in food that is less than perfect to do so without guilt. I truly believe guilt and stress related to eating, causes far more damage than the foods themselves (provided one is not allergic or intolerant of course).

    1. I agree, serious allergies and intolerances must be catered for, but If we can ‘loosen our grip’ like you say, in other areas, I’m sure it will be a good thing x

  3. Love this piece Kristin. I totally agree, we MUST make sure that the bad food does not equal bad person if you eat the bad food xx

  4. The last thing we want to do is create fear around food and it can be a very fine line when you are an avid real foodie! I too have relaxed much more around many “incidents”, only problem is the hubby then takes that too literally and becomes over relaxed about what the kids can eat! Would love to know the ingredients in that butter pastry Kristin, having trouble findng a decent one to buy. B x

  5. Dads can be the undoing of us all Brenda! Lol…x

  6. I think everyone is in the same boat, I’ve had to change the way I say things and not say things are bad etc instead explain we need the right fuel like a car so we can go. Another thing we do is home cook take away meals like the famous happy meal we just buy a $1-2 toy from the shops and they help make the chicken nuggets and chips. Helps having so many inspirational people like yourself and everyone else on fb for guidance too.

    1. I love that idea!

  7. I have had a similar experience with one of my twins Kris and it hit me hard. It was also the perfect catalyst for remembering whats really important and relaxing a little (well a little for her, a lot for me!).

    1. Thanks Kirri, it is really comforting to hear that this is something we all struggle with and ‘reminders’ are really important to bring us back to ourselves for reflection so we can do better next time x

  8. […] Giving kids a choice often helps promotes healthy eating.  I like to make a platter for my kids with a selection of different things for them to choose from.  I also take requests on weekends when I have more time and make healthy homemade versions of everyones favourites like pizza and sausage rolls. […]

  9. […] Giving kids a choice often helps promotes healthy eating.  I like to make a platter for my kids with a selection of different things for them to choose from.  I also take requests on weekends when I have more time and make healthy homemade versions of everyones favourites like pizza and sausage rolls. […]

  10. […] rolls. If you’ve got the time to wrap them up, this sausage roll recipe from Mamacino is […]

  11. Sorry could you please specify what 1T fennel seeds stands for? Is it a teaspoon?

    1. Sure – T is tablespoon tsp is teaspoon x

  12. […] all about what you add in, not what you cut out!  If your kids love sausage rolls, try making some yourself using good quality organic, minced beef and grate in some zucchini and […]

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