Spinach and Feta Pie

Another Jamie Oliver recipe...but truthfully there are so many variations of this exact pie...so be adventurous...change the seasoning...add sundried tomatoes, broadbeans or olives,...try it with silverbeet or nettles...just as is IS wonderful though!  It is written to make a large family pie.  I have halved the recipe before though and even made it in small ramekins.  So this will work well for the half share portion of spinach too. Ingredients 100g pinenuts 5 eggs 300g feta cheese 50 g cheddar cheese dried oregano 1 lemon a knob of butter 400g spinach 1 * 270g pack of filo pastry cayenne pepper 1 whole nutmeg for grating

Method 1. Toast pine nuts in the oven or cast iron fry pan on the stove.  Toss frequently and watch carefully.  Set aside. 2. Wash and clean spinach. 3.  Crack eggs into mixing bowl and crumble in 300g feta.  Grate 50 g Cheddar.  Add a pinch of pepper, a couple of pinches of dried oregano, zest of a lemon, and a lug of olive oil.  Add the nuts and mix well. 4. Put the empty frying pan back on the heat.  Add a bit of olive oil and butter and half the spinach.  Keep pushing it down and stirring it around, as there is room, add more. 5. Meanwhile, take the pastry out of the fridge.  Lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper approx. 50cm long on the workbench, rub a little olive oil all over it, then scrunch it up and lay it out flat again.  Arrange 4 filo sheets in a large rectangle, overlapping at the edges, so they almost cover the paper.  Rub olive oil over them.  Sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and pepper and a bit of cayenne.  Repeat until you have three layers.  Keep Stirring Spinach! 6. Once the spinach is nice and dense, take the pan off the heat.  Add spinach to the egg mixture and grate 1/2 nutmeg.  Mix well. carefully move the greaseproof paper and filo stack into the empty frying pan so the edges stick over.  Push it down into the sides of the pan, then pour in the egg mixture and spread it out. 7.  Fold the filo sheets over the top and let them fall where they will. (I have also added extra sheets on top and then rolled all the edges into a crust) 8.  Put the pan back on medium heat for a couple of minutes to get the bottom cooking and then put the pan into a 200 degree oven on the top shelf and bake for 18-20 minutes until crispy and golden.

 

Vegetable Soup with Quinoa and Nettles

Quinoa, a grain like seed is a complete protein, unlike rice or beans. It is also gluten free. It is the best source for a plant based protein and being high in fiber and iron it should have a place in every vegetarian kitchen. Sopa de quinoa is a staple soup in Peru.  The Andes is where this grain thrives.  Quinoa is cooked with potatoes, onions and garlic in lard or oil and flavored with native oregano and annatto seeds. Whatever vegetables or greens are at hand are added to the soup. The soups I had ranged from a clear pale yellow soup to a thick creamy one, chock full of vegetables and greens.It usually served with an aji made from chili peppers.  You can take one slice from a chili and float it in your bowl of soup until you have the desired heat you like.

Ingredients 8 cups (2 liters) of vegetable or chicken stock 1/2 cup quinoa, well rinsed 1 cup carrots, quartered and sliced 1 cup pumpkin, peeled and cubed 1 cup onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup celery, chopped 1 cup potatoes, cubed salt (to taste) 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley 1cup minced nettle

Method 1. Combine carrots, onions and celery in a heavy bottomed soup pot with a splash of olive oil.  Gently fry until the onion is translucent. 2. Add pumpkin, potato, quinoa and stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender and the quinoa has "split", the curly tails have removed, about 10-15 minutes. 3. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt, if necessary and add the fresh herbs. Cook 2 more minutes, then remove from the heat.

Pumpkin and Autumn Green Cannelloni

IngredientsOlive oil 750g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces 1 large red onion, halved, cut into thin wedges 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves 250g spinach, baby silver beet or nettle (I use a combination), lightly wilted 300g fresh low-fat ricotta Sprinkle of nutmeg 1 x 400ml tomato passata 1 tbs chopped fresh basil 2 garlic cloves, crushed 4 fresh lasagna sheets

Method 1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a shallow ovenproof baking dish. 2. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the pumpkin and onion, in a single layer, on the lined tray. Spray lightly with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with thyme and season with pepper. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until the pumpkin is golden and tender. Set aside to cool slightly. 3. Wilt your greens. Place over a strainer and squeeze out any extra water. 4. Place the pumpkin mixture in a bowl and use a fork to coarsely mash. Add the wilted green and 250g of ricotta. Season with nutmeg, pepper and salt. Mix until well combined. 5. Combine the tomato passata, basil and garlic in a medium bowl. 6. Cut each lasagna sheet in half. Spoon 1/3 cup of the pumpkin mixture along the centre of each sheet. Fold the sheet over to enclose filling. Spread 80ml (1/3 cup) of the tomato mixture over the base of the prepared dish. Place the cannelloni in a single layer in the dish. 7. Pour the remaining tomato mixture over the cannelloni. Season with pepper. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until bubbling. Set aside for 5 minutes to stand.

Leek and Nettle/Spinach/Silverbeet Tartlets

I adapted this recipe from Linda Woodrow's Leek Tartlets with Olive Oil Pastry  (I used to use a short crust pastry but tried her yogurt, olive oil pastry and much preferred it.)
You can use spinach or 'Perpetual Gator' silverbeet as a replacement for the nettles.
Makes 6 large muffin sized tarts. Recipe doubles fine.
The Pastry:
Into a food processor or a bowl, put 1 cup of wholemeal plain flour and a good pinch of salt.
Put a couple of good dessertspoons of low fat Greek yoghurt in a cup, then top it up to half full with olive oil. You want it about half and half – ¼ cup of each. You don’t need to mix them.
Tip the cup all at once into the processor or bowl and blitz them together.  In a food processor it’s just a couple of seconds, but you can do it just by stirring.  Knead just enough to combine into a dough.  It needs to be quite moist so don’t add any more flour than necessary, and don’t overwork the dough or it will get tough.  Put the dough in a plastic container in the freezer to cool while you make the filling.
The Filling:
Sauté 2 cups of chopped leeks (white and pale green part) in a little butter or olive oil.  Do this over low heat for about twenty minutes which caramelises the leek.  When they are almost done, add 1 cup chopped nettles.
Beat together:
  • eggs
  • ¼ cup white wine or 1/4 cup milk or 1/4 cup cream or 1/4 water with a squeeze of lemon
  • a dessertspoon of lemon thyme
  • a good grating of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Assembling and Baking:The pastry is quite fragile.  The easiest way to roll it out is to put a sheet of greaseproof paper on your bench top, put the ball of dough on it, and cover with another sheet.  Roll the pastry out between the two sheets, turning once or twice to un-wrinkle the paper. You can then peel the top sheet of paper off, cut the dough to fit your muffin tins, flip the lot and peel the other sheet off. Roll the scraps out between the greaseproof paper again.
If you have a round bowl the right size to fit the muffin tins, use it to cut your rounds.  I do not so I cut the dough into squares which then stick up out of the tins.
Grease the baking tins lightly, line with pastry.  You can pre-bake empty for five minutes or just put a few dessert spoons of the leek and nettle mixture into each cup, pour the egg mixture, dividing between the cups and top with parmesan cheese.
Bake in a medium oven for around 20 minutes till the pastry is golden.

Leek and Nettle Tartlets

I adapted this recipe from Linda Woodrow's Leek Tartlets with Olive Oil Pastry  (I used to use a short crust pastry but tried her yogurt, olive oil pastry and much preferred it.)
Makes 6 large muffin sized tarts. Recipe doubles fine.
The Pastry:
Into a food processor or a bowl, put 1 cup of wholemeal plain flour and a good pinch of salt.
Put a couple of good dessertspoons of low fat Greek yoghurt in a cup, then top it up to half full with olive oil. You want it about half and half – ¼ cup of each. You don’t need to mix them.
Tip the cup all at once into the processor or bowl and blitz them together.  In a food processor it’s just a couple of seconds, but you can do it just by stirring.  Knead just enough to combine into a dough.  It needs to be quite moist so don’t add any more flour than necessary, and don’t overwork the dough or it will get tough.  Put the dough in a plastic container in the freezer to cool while you make the filling.
The Filling:
Sauté 2 cups of chopped leeks (white and pale green part) in a little butter or olive oil.  Do this over low heat for about twenty minutes which caramelises the leek.  When they are almost done, add 1 cup chopped nettles.
Beat together:
  • eggs
  • ¼ cup white wine or 1/4 cup milk or 1/4 cup cream or 1/4 water with a squeeze of lemon
  • a dessertspoon of lemon thyme
  • a good grating of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Assembling and Baking:The pastry is quite fragile.  The easiest way to roll it out is to put a sheet of greaseproof paper on your bench top, put the ball of dough on it, and cover with another sheet.  Roll the pastry out between the two sheets, turning once or twice to un-wrinkle the paper. You can then peel the top sheet of paper off, cut the dough to fit your muffin tins, flip the lot and peel the other sheet off. Roll the scraps out between the greaseproof paper again.
If you have a round bowl the right size to fit the muffin tins, use it to cut your rounds.  I do not so I cut the dough into squares which then stick up out of the tins.
Grease the baking tins lightly, line with pastry.  You can pre-bake empty for five minutes or just put a few dessert spoons of the leek and nettle mixture into each cup, pour the egg mixture, dividing between the cups and top with parmesan cheese.
Bake in a medium oven for around 20 minutes till the pastry is golden.