Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Spannakopittas and Aubergine & red pepper houmous

The weather has turned today, and of course my nearly dry washing got soaked in the first downpour. However, before today we have been basking in a beautifully sunny couple of weeks. Not being a fan of the BBQ, as that was always my Dad's domain, I decided a Greek feast was in order. My friend Jess (of Dreaming Wide Awake) was coming over for dinner, so it needed to be vegetarian. Jess, being exceptionally knowledgable about wine, took this information very seriously and turned up with an amazing bottle of wine (Fetzer Valley Oaks Syrah Rose) which went very nicely with the feast I spent the afternoon knocking up.

First thing I did was make Spinach and Feta parcels; these were the product of a pastry challenge at Rhubarb Crumble & Custard - I should explain, we have a weekly ingredient challenge, where a person chooses something and everyone has to try and make something featuring that, and then photograph it and post both the photo and the recipe. It's fun, and a really good way to get you to try ingredients that might not otherwise make your shopping list.

I had looked at lots of recipes for Spinach and Feta parcels (which Google helpfully told me are also known as Spannakopittas) and cobbled together the following recipe from them. They were amazing, really light, and even when I thought they weren't going to come together as they went in the oven, they came out looking crisp and pretty and importantly held in their contents.

Luckily, living in a fairly Greek pocket of London meant that I could pick up fresh filo in the fresh aisles of the supermarket, but most larges stores keep it frozen. I've certainly frozen what was left for another batch.

So recipe... Spinach & Feta Parcels

1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
1 kg leaf spinach (picked and washed)
Fresh nutmeg
500g feta
1 pack of fresh filo pastry cut into 15cm squares

Chop up a bunch of spring onions finely and cook until soft in about 4 tableespoons of olive oil
Add 1 kg of leaf spinach to the pan and wilt down, grate about a quarter of a nutmeg on, add pepper, but not salt as the feta is salty enough already
Take off heat and allow to cool,
Add 2 beaten eggs and 500g of feta that you've chopped up.
Cut filo into 15cm squares, and butter each of 4 peices with a pastry brush as you lay them over each other to make a star shape.
Add a dessert spoonful of filling in the middle and scrunch up (this is infact a technical term that all the best chefs use) the filo,
Brush with more butter and bake in the oven (200 degrees C) for 20 minutes.
This made 12 parcels, but you could easily make mini ones

I lazily purchased taramasalata, but made my own houmous, I'm sure I've posted the recipe here before but here goes anyway


1 aubergine, cut in half and flesh scored into cubes. Cook in a hot oven until the middle is squishy
1 jar of sundried tomatoes in oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lemon
5 tablespoons Olive oil

I make this in a food processor, so once the aubergine is cooked it's literally a case of letting it cool and then blitzing everything until it reaches a consistency you're happy with.

Greek Potato Salad

I was taught how to make this by the friend of a friend who is Greek herself, I much prefer it to the mayonaisse laden English version. I haven't put quantities in the recipe as it depends how many you're cooking for, and it needs to be made to your taste. This needs to be made and dressed whilst the potatoes are still warm as that way they absorb the dressing and the flavour.

Salad onions, chopped finely
Large bunch flat leaf parsley chopped finely
New potatoes
Olive Oil
Lemon juice

Chop the salad onions and parsley finely and set aside
Wash the potatoes (don't rub the skins off) and cook in boiling salted water until just soft
When the potatoes are cooked and still hot, peel the skins off and discard
Dress the potatoes whilst still warm in the Olive oil and Lemon juice (I use about half the volume of lemon juice to olive oil)
Add salt, pepper, crushed garlic, parsley and salad onions and toss all the ingredients together
Leave to cool and serve at room temperature

I had fully intended to make my own pitta bread to Jules from Domestic Goddess in Training's recipe, but was slightly disorganised so used some that I had picked up in case of emergency. Definitely next time though.

For pudding we had Greek yoghurt with chopped strawberries, peaches and raspberries with honey. Well I say we had it, actually I forgot about it, and left it in the fridge so had it for breakfast on Monday. And very nice it was too. Sorry Jess.

1 comment:

hungryandfrozen said...

This all sounds soooo good. I love feta so much - the filo pastries look gorgeous :D

Also I've never seen Mamma Mia so I can't judge but it wouldn't be my first choice of musical ;)


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