Tag Archives: spinach

Feta and Roasted Vegetable Bulghar-Wheat Salad

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This tasty salad makes a nice change from the old ham sandwiches. It’s really easy to make and lasts all week so I tend to make a huge tub of it on a Sunday and it will keep until Friday – not that it ever really lasts that long. It looks really posh too.

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

1/2 butternut squash, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1/2 courgette, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 cup of bulghar wheat
1 vegetable stock cube
handful spinach, chopped
100g feta
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
4 tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper

Method

Heat the oven to 160*C whilst you prepare the vegetables. Throw them into a bowl and coat well in the sunflower oil. Add a teaspoon of each of the herbs and put on a baking tray in the oven to roast for 40-50 minutes until soft. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, add the bulghar wheat to the a bowl and cover with two cups of boiling water. Add the stock cube and stir well. Cover with clingfilm and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

When the bulghar wheat has soaked up the water, add the vegetables to it. Leave to cool before crumbling over the feta, adding the herbs and adding the chopped spinach. Chop the tomatoes and add to the salad. Season well and store in the fridge.

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Spanakopita (Greek Feta and Spinach Spiral Pasties)

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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.

Lamb, Spinach & Potato Curry

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Courtesy of the Hairy Bikers from their dieting book. Not that either of us are dieters. Not that it’s even our book.

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

600g lamb steaks, cut into 3cm cubes
2 large onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium potatoes, cut into 3cm cubes
5cm piece fresh root ginger
1 medium red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin spinach*
curry paste**
4 bay leaves
3 large tomatoes, cut into eighths
200ml coconut milk
water
salt and pepper

*I used tinned simply as that’s all we had. If you have fresh (and it will undoubtedly taste better if you do) use 200g of that!
**I haven’t given a quantity here as curry paste varies so much. To put the recipe into context I used 4 teaspoons of Patak’s “extra hot” and I reckon it could have done with at least 1 more

Method

Preheat the oven to 190oC/375oC/gas mark 5 and set aside a bowl. Heat some olive oil in a large casserole dish, brown the lamb with some salt and pepper and place in the bowl. Add the onions to the casserole dish and cook over a medium heat for 7-8 minutes before adding the garlic, chilli, curry paste and grating in the ginger. Cook for a further five minutes before removing from the heat and blitzing to a paste with a hand-blender.

Return the lamb to the paste and return to a medium heat, cooking and stirring for 5 minutes or so until throwing in the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, potatoes, bay leaves and enough water to cover everything. Season with salt and pepper and add a spoonful of sugar, give a good stir before adding the lid and whacking in the oven.

Cook for 60 minutes, check then stick back in for half an hour. Remove from the oven add the tomatoes, spinach and cook on the hob, for five minutes. Serve with a lovely curry-soaking flatbread.

J

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Spinach & Feta Muffins

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I made these lovely, little mouthwatering muffins after seeing some savoury muffins at the Real Food Market at the weekend. Probably the best thing I ever did? I can’t get enough of them. And J can’t wait to take one…or two…or three for his lunch. If there are any left that is.

W

Recipe, courtesy of chillimarmalade.

     

Picnic Loaf

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This picnic loaf makes for the easiest and most impressive sandwiches at any picnic, even at short notice. The idea is that you take one loaf of bread, take out most of the filling and replace it with layers of your favourite sandwich fillings. I must admit I ‘borrowed’ this recipe from the Co-op magazine but it was so incredible, I had to share it!

Ingredients

1 medium round loaf (400g)
3 sweet peppers – it looks best if you have three different colours eg. red, orange and yellow
1 medium courgette
125g ball mozzarella
2 good handfuls fresh basil
8 (approx) cherry or baby plum tomatoes
1 handful spinach (or similar leaves)
black pepper

Note: these are just suggested ingredients. Why not try: Parma ham, chorizo, chicken, tuna, avocado, chilli, grated carrot, smoked salmon, cream cheese, sausage, caramelised red onions, mustard, beetroot, bacon, spring onion, pesto…?

Method

Start by preparing your veg. Chop the peppers into quarters, slice the courgettes fairly thinly and cut the tomatoes in half. Roughly chop the basil and slice the mozzarella as thinly as you can without it breaking up too much.

Put the peppers skin-side-up on a baking tray and put under the grill until the skin burns. The tricky bit here is charring as much of the skin as you can without filling the kitchen with smoke. When the skins are sufficiently black, put the peppers in a plastic food bag and allow them to steam for around ten minutes. Meanwhile, grill the courgettes until just cooked and leave to cool.

Take the peppers out of the bag and peel off the skin (you will notice this is a lot easier where the skin is black). Allow to cool.

Slice the top off your loaf and hollow out the middle. Leave around 1-2cm around the edge to retain some structural integrity. I suggest you keep the scooped out bread and make some breadcrumbs (see tip below). Layer all of your filling ingredients neatly in the centre of the loaf and push down firmly as you go to cram in as much tasty stuff as you can. Add a few twists of fresh black pepper in there along the way. Replace the lid as neatly as you can. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour before packing in your picnic hamper – don’t forget to pack a bread knife.

It will last around a day (but expect a certain amount of soggy bread) in the fridge is you want to make it a bit longer in advance.

Making breadcrumbs

Take some unloved bread. Break up or slice into small pieces. If not already, leave to go stale. You can hurry this process up a bit by putting the bread in a warm place (for about a day) or a low temperature oven (for around fifteen minutes). Shake and break up the pieces every now and again. When stale, whizz them in a blender. Sprinkle over your pasta bake, use them to coat fishcakes or freeze them for another day.

Enjoy!

W

Easy Chinese Prawns, Asparagus & Rice

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So I’m not really a Jamie Oliver fan. Too much olive oil, too much salt, too many annoying cockney-isms. But his food is good and his 30 Minutes Meals book is pretty useful when you want to cook something tasty and new, knowing it’s not going to consume your whole evening. So we basically stole this recipe from there.

Serves 2

Ingredients

200g prawns
1 cup basmati rice
½ cup peas
½ cup sweetcorn
200g asparagus (9-10 fat sticks, 15-16 skinny sticks)
2 handfuls baby spinach
5-6 spring onions, chopped
1 egg, beaten
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp soy sauce
glug of sweet chilli sauce (or similar)
handful fresh coriander
1 tsp chinese five spice
1 chilli
2 cloves garlic

Method

Boil water for the rice. Add two cups of water to one cup of rice in a pan and cook to taste. Place the prawns in a sandwich bag, add a glug of olive oil and a glug of chilli oil/sesame oil/any interesting oil you have to hand, the chinese five spice, salt and pepper and give it all a good shake (make sure to close the bag first!). Stick some oil in a frying pan and add the prawns on a medium heat. Squeeze over the juice of ½ the lemon. If you fancy a sticky sauce, add a glug of honey or golden syrup.

Add the asparagus to a hot griddle pan with a sprinkling of salt and cook until “al dente” (approximately 7-8 minutes, we took one off to nibble and check). Wilt the spinach in a saucepan with a knob of butter. Check the rice – if cooked add the spring onions, peas, sweetcorn, egg, soy sauce, chilli sauce and the other half of the lemon juice. Allow time for the rice to steam and the egg to cook. You may have to whack on the heat for a minute or two.

A couple of minutes before you serve add a handful of flaked almonds to the prawns. Once everything is ready, plate up, drizzle with a dash of soy sauce, sprinkle with coriander and eat*!

J&W

*we had ours with the birthday champagne W bought. Lar-di-dar.