I recently read that there is a new and harder citizenship test that needs to be taken before becoming eligible to be an Australian citizen. It is comprised of a series of 20 multiple choice questions and applicants will have 45 minutes to complete the test. Browsing through the internet, I am ashamed to say that if taken today, I would have failed miserably. I don’t know what Australia’s national floral emblem is (the golden wattle) or what year did Federation take place (1901). Looking at the test brought back some feeling of anxiety about the time I was applying for my Australian citizenship.
When I applied for citizenship there was no multiple choice test but an interview. I knew beforehand that there were certain things you needed to know which was basically the rights and responsibilities of Australian citizens. It wasn’t that this was so hard to memorize (I recall there were six rights and four responsibilities) but on the day of the interview, my particular interviewer seemed to be having a bad day. I was expecting some chit chat prior to being asked the questions but his first remark was along the lines of “okay, we don’t have much time, what are the four responsibilities of being an Australian citizen”.
“Number one, I said, obey the law”
“Two, vote at all elections”
He nodded his head.
“Three, serve on a jury if called upon”
“Correct, one more” he said.
And then my mind drew a complete blank.
“Ah, uhm… ” I stammered. I repeated the first three hoping the fourth one would miraculously come to mind but he seemed to be shaking his head from side to side as if to say “you ain’t gonna make it”.
How embarassing, I thought to myself. I cannot FAIL this interview.
“Is it, make sausage pies?” I asked.
He burst out laughing. “First of all, they are called either sausage rolls or meat pies, there is no sausage pie! and second, that is not the fourth answer!”
His lightened mood put me at ease and then the answer came.
“Of course, the last one, defend Australia should the need arise”
And that friends, is the story of how I finally made it to this wonderful country! BUT I still think making a great sausage roll or meat pie is one of the responsibilities expected of all Australian citizens. So, if you are ever asked for that great recipe – here it is!
1/2 quantity puff pastry recipe – the puff pastry recipe can be found here.
- 500 grams minced lamb
- 40 grams roasted pine nuts
- 30 grams sultanas or raisins
- 50 grams couscous*
- 2 teaspoons salt
- fresh pepper to taste
- 170 grams harissa (see recipe below)
- egg wash for brushing
- poppy seeds
- 3 red peppers, grilled, skinned, seeded and chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup water
To make the harissa
- Heat the olive oil in a large and heavy based saucepan. Add the onions and cook a few minutes until translucent.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and continue to cook over low heat for 1.5 to 2 hours until it becomes like a paste.
- If not using immediately, cover with a layer of olive oil and store in the refrigerator.
- If using for the sausage roll recipe, see below.
To make the sausage roll (make 8 to 10 rolls)
- Mix together in a large bowl the lamb, pine nuts, sultanas, couscous*, harissa, salt and pepper.
- Mix the meat using your hands for around 3 to 5 minutes until thoroughly mixed.
- Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface. Each sheet of puff pastry should be around 20 cm by 20 cm but this is really all up to you and how large you want your rolls to be.
- Divide the sausage filling and brush one end of the puff pastry with egg wash.
- Fold the pastry over the sausage filling and press down to “seal” (you don’t want the roll opening while baking)
- Brush with egg wash and poppy seeds.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven (180c) for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown
- Serve immediately.
*If couscous is not available, substitute two slices of white bread, edges removed and chopped finely along with one beaten egg