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Posts Tagged ‘feta cheese’

I don’t usually go in for things that are a faff to make, and there is no denying these (or anything using filo pastry) are a faff to make. But occasionally, on a quiet weekend it is nice to have an activity that consumes your mind and takes your mind off whatever it was on.

Spinach and feta filo parcels

These are not really difficult to make and once you get the hang of it you can create all sorts of flavour fillings if you are feeling creative (see below). You can also make samosas with this technique, just make a spicy Indian filling, wrap and maybe sprinkle with some black onion seeds before baking.

The filling for these is distinctly Greek in style – much like the filling of a Spanakopita (a Greek filo pie). They are delicious warm from the oven but they are also nice cold as a lunchbox snack. You can also freeze them and take them out and cook through in the oven until hot again. They keep for a few days in an airtight container and can be popped back in the oven for 5 minutes to give them an air of warmth before eating.

Although they take some time to make I think these parcels make a very pleasing display for a buffet, picnic or relaxed lunch for friends and family.

Makes 12-15 filo parcels

500g spinach

100 feta cheese

1 egg

½ onion, finely chopped

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

Pinch of ground coriander

Salt and pepper

1-2tbsp of grated parmesan

Knob of butter, melted for brushing

1 pack of frozen filo pastry (like Just Roll from the supermarkets) Defrosted.

Method

1. Sweat the onion and garlic slowly in a pan with some butter until soft and then set aside.

2. Cook your spinach in batches in a pan with a lid clamped on until just wilted. Take it out and put in a sieve where you can squash out all of the water. Set aside to cool.

3. Once the first two elements are cool you can mix them together with the crumbled feta, the coriander, seasoning, parmesan and the beaten egg. That’s your filling (at this stage add anything else you wish, a handful of toasted pine nuts would make a nice addition. As would fresh herbs such as mint and parsley).

4. Take the filo carefully out of its packaging and cut into about 7cm wide strips, cover with a damp tea towel or some cling-film to stop it drying out.

5. One at a time brush a sheet gently with the melted butter, being careful not to tear the pastry. Put a heaped teaspoon of the mixture at the bottom of the sheet, a few centimetres from the edge. Fold one corner over so it meets the other side (so you can see a triangle), repeat folding alternate ways until you have used all the pastry and have a triangle parcel left. Brush with melted butter and place on a baking tray.

6. Continue with the next sheets until all the filling has been used up. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees/ Gas 4 for about 30 minutes, until the pastries are golden and crisp.

7. Resist the temptation to eat immediately, they will be molten inside. They are actually much nicer warm or at room temperature.

Try substituting the spinach for Swiss chard or use 300g spinach and 200g lemony leafed sorrel. Add fresh herbs or some spices like cinnamon to the filling for an exotic touch. Feta can easily be substituted for goat’s cheese or another strong cheese. You could even put left-over roasted lamb into these with feta and herbs if you had some. A friendly Tweeter – Daniel Ingram, head chef at The Red Lion in Cricklade – creatively pointed out that you could also do sweet versions of filo parcels, which I think is a fantastic idea. His suggestions included stewed apples, or banana and caramel with cardamom sauce. I think this is enough suggestions for you to be getting on with.

 

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Hangover salad

I had a terrible handover on Saturday, one of those hangovers that lingers all day. A little too much red wine and Champagne at our work’s Christmas party I think.
So I was moping around all day feeling sorry for myself and generally drinking tea and nibbling dry biscuits.
However there was one good thing to come out of the day and that was that Will (the other half of Food4two) made a tasty meal for himself. I don’t think he will mind me saying he is an appalling cook, and because I cook all the time he has no need to learn. Every now and then I have to leave him to cook himself diner and he literally falls apart. Everything he either burns or undercooks.

 

Hangover salad made by Will

Hangover salad made by Will

But on Saturday he was peering into the fridge wondering what to have for lunch. He said he fancied something healthy and light, so as I sat with my plate of plain Birdseye Potato Waffles (don’t judge me, it was all I could stomach. And there is something comforting about the soft fluffy centre and crispy outside of a waffle) I said what about a salad with the left-over feta cheese?
This salad is what he came up with and I think it looks fantastic. Not only that but it tasted great too.
It was a layer of red little gem lettuce, finely sliced red onions, some roasted red peppers from a jar and sliced red grapes, dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar then covered in crumbled feta. The mix of sweet and salty was fantastic and even with my pathetic hangover I managed to stomach it and went back for several mouthfuls.
So now he has no excuse for not cooking, I will just show him this photo and remind him that he can. This might be my new hangover cure.

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