I don’t know why I decided to take pics of making tonight’s supper – but somehow it happened and I’m now sharing my midweek feast (because I was in a cooking mood and once I got started I couldn’t stop). This is one of my favourite recipes and it’s great for lunch boxes and finger food but it’s best served freshly from the oven, meze style, with a selection of salads. As a vegetarian I always want to impress meat eaters with something they find truly scrummy and this recipe ticks all the boxes.
200g feta cheese, roughly chopped
10 cubes of frozen spinach, thawed
1 teaspoon of dried pink peppercorns, roughly ground in a pestal and mortar
4 spring onions, finely chopped
knob of butter, melted
Packet of fresh filo pastry sheets
I warm my fan assisted oven to 180˚C. Squeeze all the liquid from the spinach so it’s as dry as possible and roughly chop it up. Place in a bowl with the spring onion, feta and peppercorns and mash together with a fork.
Take a sheet of filo (mine was approx 36 x 22cm) and cut it in half, fold each half lengthways so you have a folded rectangle 9 x 22cm. At one end place a spoonful of the spinach and feta mixture. Fold up the parcel starting at the bottom right corner which folds over the mixture to make a triangular pocket. Now fold vertically (so you seal in the mixture) and then again diagonally, then vertically and finally on the diagonal to create a neat triangle.
Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and brush the top with melted butter (I’m calorie counting so I’m frugal with the butter and only do one side). Work quickly through the rest of the mixture taking just one or two filo sheets out of the packet at a time to prevent them drying out too quickly and becoming too brittle to fold.
Cook for about 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp. The filling may ooze a little – but that just makes them look more delicious!
I made three quick salads to serve with the parcels alongside some shop-bought houmous and baba ganoush:
Pea and bean mint salad
I always keep bags of spinach, petit pois, baby broad beans and shelled edamame beans in the freezer. I use handfuls in risottos, soups and salads. In this case I scooped a cup each of frozen peas, broad beans and edemame beans into a saucepan, brought them quickly to the boil and simmered for two minutes. Rinse with cold water and allow to drain. Dress with a honey, mustard, lemon and olive oil dressing (remember salt and pepper to taste) and a generous amount of freshly chopped mint leaves.
Tomato and black olive salad
In March the tomatoes in the shops are not really sun ripened enough for this recipe – but it’s still a classic combination that tastes good. I’ve used baby plum tomatoes because they have some flavour at this time of year, but as you can use any variety and in the summer I like to mix yellow and red tomatoes for the best colour. Chop the tomatoes into a bowl. Drain a can of stoned black olives and using the equivalent of half the volume of the tomatoes chop in half and add to the bowl. Drizzle the bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, a little sea salt and torn basil leaves if you have them. With a pestle crush the tomatoes and olives together so the flavours merge.
Kidney bean and spring onion salad
I had a few kidney beans leftover in the fridge so I mixed these with finely chopped spring onions and drizzled with the same honey dressing I used on the peas and beans. That’s it. Just remember to allow it to get to room temperature before eating so that the flavours have time to infuse.