Tag Archives: oregano

Spanakopita (Greek Feta and Spinach Spiral Pasties)

Standard

More flipping swirly things! (Sorry)

Sadly, I haven’t ever managed to capture a shot of these little things. Once they come out of the oven, they are so elusive, you’ll be lucky if you can catch one for lunch the day afterwards. Inspired by a number of recipes, I have amalgamated the ‘best bits’ of each into this tasty concoction.

Ingredients

6 sheets of filo pastry (no, I don’t make my own – maybe one day I’ll give it a go)
1 bag of spinach (approx 500g)
200g block of feta
1 medium white onion
1 tsp garlic paste or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
handful rosemary (fresh, chopped), or 2 tsp dried
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 medium egg
a sprinkling of plain flour
a little bit of milk

Method

Start by chopping up your spinach quite finely. Squeeze out as much of the water as you can from it, over a sieve to catch any bits you drop. This will seem tiresome, but it really is worth it. Grate the onion and similarly, squeeze the water out of that. Add the squeezed spinach and onion to a bowl. Crumble over the feta, herbs and mix well before adding 1/2 of the egg to bind it all together. Save the last bit of egg for later.

Open out your filo sheets onto a well-floured surface. Begin by brushing egg round the outside of the first sheet. Add 1/6 of your spinachy mixture in a long line along the longest edge of the filo sheet, leaving 1 inch around the edge clear (which should be covered in egg). Fold over the filo 1 inch lengthways and widthways, to fully cover the line of spinach and begin rolling the pastry to form a long sausage. Try not to catch any big bubbles of air.

When you have a spinachy sausage, brush one side of it with egg and use this as the glue to hold your spiral together. Roll the sausage around one end fairly tightly and use a bit of egg to glue down the last centimetre. You should have something that looks like this.

Brush the outside with egg and place on a greased tray. Repeat for the remaining 5 sheets of filo.

Bake in the oven at 160*C for around 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Take a photo before they all get nommed.

Summer Chicken Tray Bake

Standard

Inspired from a recipe in the Hairy Bikers “Hairy Dieters” book. Their recipe included chorizo (75g, thinly sliced) which would have been a fabulous addition, alas none was to be found in my house. This is a really pretty and straight-forward dish and would make a great centre-piece for people to help themselves, on its own or accompanied by a leafy salad.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

4-5 chicken breasts (approx 600-700g) deeply slashed every inch or so
2 red onions, cut into 8 wedges
500g new potatoes, cut into inch cubes if large/left whole if small
8 whole garlic cloves, in their skins
4 large tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges
10 or so sundried tomatoes, halved
handful asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano/mixed herbs
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 peppers (colour of your choosing!) cut into 1cm thick strips
salt and pepper
lemon juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6. Stick onions, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes in a large roasting tin. Season with plenty of pepper and a little salt, drizzle with a little oil (I used the oil from the sundried tomatoes) turn everything over with a spoon or similar implement. Roast for 20 minutes. Mix the paprika, turmeric and oregano and set aside.

Put the chicken breasts on a board, season all over with ground pepper. Remove the vegetables from the oven, sprinkle over half of the spice mix, shake/turn to coat. Add the sundried tomatoes (and chorizo if you’re lucky enough to have some!). Lay the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the rest of the spice mix – open up the slices and try to get some in if possible. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Remove the tin from the oven. Holding one corner (use oven gloves, obviously) tip the tray ever so slightly so the juices run down to the opposite corner. I recommend tipping it slightly away from you as if there are any spillages at least it will go toward the relative safety of the top of the oven and not all over you and the floor! Spoon the juice back over everything – concentrate more on the chicken. Add the pepper strips around the chicken.

Return the tray to the oven and turn up to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7 for ten minutes. Remove and lay the asparagus spears over the top of everything. Return to the oven one final time for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Stab a couple of the potatoes to ensure they’re cooked through and serve.

J

DSC_0060

 

Fougasse

Standard

Ahh, Paul Hollywood, you make everything look so easy. I have to say I’m definitely becoming a better baker because of you. How To Bake is a genuinely brilliant book and I’ve probably peddled it before but I shall do so again – everything in it is begging to be made! Go buy it with your hard-earned pennies and get baking!

I’ve modified this recipe ever so slightly but only in the peripheral aspects not the major components. If you like focaccia, you’ll like this guaranteed.

Ingredients

250g strong white bread flour
190ml cold water
5g salt
5g fast-action yeast
1 tbsp oil*
3 tsp mixed herbs
handful fresh oregano, ripped up
handful fresh basil, ripped up

*I replaced PH’s suggestion of olive oil with the oil in which sundried tomatoes are preserved. I also chopped up the capers that came in my standard supermarket tomatoes and threw them over the bread with the other herbs. I must admit I must have used a fair bit more than 1 tbsp of oil too

Method

Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the salt to one side, yeast to the other, oil anywhere you like and three quarters of the water. PH says to use a mixer but a. I don’t have one and b. the exercise means you can eat twice as much bread! So shape your hand, dough-mixer-stylee and start mixing together in a circular motion.

Once everything is incorporated add the remaining water a little at a time, continuing to mix as vigorously as you can. Feel free to take a break every now and again! In the end I took mine out of the bowl, put plenty of oil on the work surface and kneaded it for 5 minutes before oiling the bowl and returning the dough to it. Cover with clingfilm and leave for at least an hour – my dough probably quadrupled in size.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment, dust a work surface with flour and semolina/polenta and tip the dough out on to it – save the clingfilm to use again later. Gently push out into a round and lift onto the baking tray before squishing out further. Make slits with a pizza cutter in a “leaf pattern” and gently pull the dough apart to emphasize the holes. Dust with flour and semolina/polenta, mixed herbs, basil, oregano and capers if you have any.

Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7. Cover the dough with the clingfilm and leave to prove while the oven warms up. Before you put it in the oven, drizzle with oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Tap the bread in various places to check it’s cooked through – it’ll have a lovely hollow sound. Cool on a wire rack and eat with an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dip.

J

fougasse

 

Shredded Beef Wraps

Standard

Another “Mighty Spice“-inspired/stolen recipe.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

Beef

400g braising/casserole/stewing steak
1 onion, quartered and sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp tomato purée
pinch sugar
salt and pepper
6-8 flatbreads

Garlic Mayo

200g mayonnaise
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
handful fresh coriander
2-3 spring onions, sliced
pepper

Salad

1 small lettuce, shredded
bowl of strong cheddar, grated
a few baby tomatoes, halved
a few gherkins, thinly sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks

Method

Put a large pan of water onto boil. Add the beef, lower to a simmer and cook for approximately 1 hour. Once cooked through remove from the water and leave to cool on the side. In the meantime, why not make your flatbread dough, salad-y item, garlic mayonnaise (just throw all the ingredients into a bowl of mayonnaise, stir and hey presto!) and start on the sauce?

Heat some oil in a separate saucepan and add the onion and garlic, sweating for approximately 8 minutes. Bung in the rest of the “Beef” ingredients (apart from the cooking beef and flatbreads, obviously…!) reduce the heat to as low as possible, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and really reduce the sauce down to a thick, gorgeous gloop. Yes I just used the word gloop in a good way.

This is where an extra pair of hands comes in useful but if like most of us you are blessed with just the two I would do the following in this order:

1. Flake the beef into the gloop, stir really well and heat through until everything is piping hot. Reduce heat to minimum, cover and move onto step 2.
2. Hey, you made it! Start rolling out and cooking your flatbreads, throwing each cooked one onto a hot plate under a (clean!) tea towel to keep them warm.

Et voilá – all that remains is to serve up. Put the beef into a large bowl so everyone can help themselves (or even just serve in the saucepan if you want to save on washing up). Frisbee out the flatbreads, dollop on the mayo, bang on the beef and fling on the salad. That’s one mighty fine wrap you got right there, I tell ya.

Enjoy!
J

Sausage & Tomato Pasta

Standard

I’ve been having reservations about posting this since making it the other day. You see, our “About Us” clearly states that we are “Two students, bored with student food” and this, for all intensive purposes is student food. Maybe it should read “Two students, bored with average student food” as I feel that statement is more accurate.

I guess it all depends on your definition of student food, but to me it screams: quick, bland, microwaved (*shudder*). This recipe certainly is one of those things, in fact the only one that’s never a bad thing: it’s quick, approx 30 mins from cupboard to table. And I guess this is what persuaded me to finally post it – most people, student or not, are after quick eats quite often and this is a particularly tasty one. So let’s drop the pretensions and get on with cooking some straightforward, yumm-o food.

Yumm-o.

It’s a word. Deal with it.

Serves 4 comfortably

Ingredients

4 good sausages, cut into bite-size chunks
1-2 onions, sliced into quarter rings
1 red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed/finely chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
250g pasta (use more if you want to bulk it up)
few handfuls frozen green beans
good glug white wine vinegar
good glug balsamic vinegar
good glug golden syrup
couple of good squeezes of tomato purée
1 bay leaf
handful fresh rosemary, oregano & thyme, all chopped

optional extras: chilli flakes/powder, cumin, basil, peas, sweetcorn…etc!

Method

Heat oil in a large saucepan/deep frying pan over a high heat. Add the golden syrup and brown your sausages. After 5 or so minutes add the onion, then after a further 5 minutes lower the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook for a further couple of minutes.

Pour in the white wine vinegar (say 50ml) and reduce for a few minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes, purée, bay leaf, rosemary, oregano, thyme and a glug of balsamic (say 25ml). Season well. Put the kettle on (3/4 full should be ample) and when boiled add the water to another saucepan before throwing in your pasta. Add plenty of salt and a glug of oil and cook as per instructions on packet. Check hardness every so often – there’s nothing worse than mushy pasta!

Reduce the sauce for 15 minutes, tasting regularly to see if anything needs adjusting. Add the pepper and green beans and continue to cook until both tender (approx. 5 minutes). Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, give a really good stir to coat as much of the pasta as possible. I used fusili (not out of choice, just out of the fact that’s what was in the cupboard – I’m no pasta anorak!) and it works quite well as the thick sauce gets in all the spiral grooves.

Serve, topped with a little cheese, another splash of balsamic and maybe some fresh green herbs of your choosing. Just watch out for that bay leaf!

Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Tortelloni

Standard

Today, I decided I had nothing better to do with myself than to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I won’t say exactly how long it took me, because let’s face it, I took my time, made lots of mess, drank lots of tea and had a few snacks along the way. Having just returned from a lovely trip to Sardinia, I was inspired to try cooking some pasta from scratch. Coupled with the excessive amount of vegetables we had to use up, this recipe was born! To make this recipe, you need a decent pasta maker, or a good rolling pin and a bit of an expert eye.

I was unsure whether to call these tortelloni or tortellini (the difference being tortellini are smaller – 2g instead of 5g, but both are the same shape) as I think they are somewhere in between. I went with tortelloni as I think these would be best without a sauce, as tortelloni are traditionally served, in contrast to their little brothers. I’ll leave it to the Italians to decide.

Ingredients

pasta dough
300g extra fine (“00”) pasta flour plus extra for dusting
4 eggs in total – 3 for the dough itself and 1 for the construction

filling
3 small sweet potatoes
1/3 of a cauliflower (not too much in the way of stalk)
75g Grana Padano cheese (Pecorino Romano, parmesan or “Parmigiano Reggiano” to give it its proper name would also do just fine)
2 tsp pesto
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp olive oil

Method

Begin by mixing the three eggs into the pasta flour in a large bowl to make a rough dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently (as you would pastry) to make a smooth, consistent dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for around 30 minutes or longer.

Meanwhile, finely chop the sweet potatoes and the cauliflower into roughly 5mm cubes. Add to a moderately hot pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Crush or finely chop the garlic and add it to the pan. Stir the vegetables regularly to prevent them from burning or cooking too quickly – the aim is to soften them ready to re-heat later. Add the herbs, pesto and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. If you feel the pan is getting too dry, add small amounts of water to steam the vegetables. They should be cooked for around 10-15 minutes to taste, but some of the sweet potato should be just crumbling – this helps the filling bind and stick together. I wanted to give my filling some bite to it, so mine were cooked for around 12 minutes. Some of the sharp corners of the vegetables did however make folding quite tricky later on – I suppose it’s a personal preference.

When cooked, remove the vegetables from the heat and leave to cool before mixing in the finely grated cheese. Mix well.

To make the pasta, remove the dough from the fridge and take a workable piece (I suggest an eighth). Roughly roll it out using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to around 1 cm thick. Run it through the pasta mill on its thickest setting and repeat a few times until it is on one of the thinnest. I found the last-but-one setting worked best to make a more durable dough, but if you’re opting for a more pureed filling, then you would probably get away with the thinnest pasta.

Lightly whisk up an egg in a mug and find a pastry brush. You will need this in a minute!

Cut 8 cm rounds from the pasta sheet and make sure they are lightly floured so as not to stick to the work surface. Place a small teaspoon of filling in the centre of each circle and brush a good 1 cm around the edges with egg. Fold in half to make a semi-circle. Bring the two corners together and stick with a little bit of egg-wash to make the traditional tortelloni shape (see: http://goo.gl/Kb61Z). Neaten up the shape a little before leaving to rest and semi-dry out on a lightly floured tray before doing the rest. The first will inevitably be the worst (and take the longest) but you will get the hang of it.

Cook immediately, or store it in the fridge for a day or so – but be sure to flour the tray well, as the pasta tends to stick to it the longer it is left.

To cook: add to a large pan of boiling, slightly salted water with about a teaspoon of olive oil. Simmer for around 3-5 minutes for al-dente pasta. Served best with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated Grana Padano (or equivalent). We had ours with some grilled Mediterranean veg (courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes) and home-made (if not slightly well-done) rosemary foccacia. Enjoy!

W