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Posts Tagged ‘Feta’

This was our first ever attempt at rough puff pastry. It’s actually pretty simple but you do need to start in the morning if you want to eat these for lunch. We had too much filling and we made some extras with shop-bought puff pastry – these were good too! It’s a good idea to make the filling first as it needs to cool completely before stuffing the pasties.

Courgette, chard & feta pasties – serves 4

FOR THE FILLING:

  • a bunch of chard
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6-8 small courgettes, sliced into 1cm rounds
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • a large handful of basil leaves, chopped
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 150-200g feta cheese (or soft goat’s cheese)

FOR THE ROUGH PUFF PASTRY:

  • 250g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 200ml iced water

TO FINISH:

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tsp black onion seeds

Wash the chard, then remove the stalks from the leaves. Roughly chop the leaves and cut the stalks into 1cm pieces. Bring a pan of salty water to the boil and add the stalk pieces. Cook for a minute or two, then add the leaves and cook for another couple of minutes. Drain and allow to cool, then squeeze out any excess liquid from the leaves with your hands. Set aside.

Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and some seasoning. Cook for 5-6 minutes, watching that they don’t catch. Add the courgettes and cook for another 15-20 minutes. You want the courgettes to be nice and soft but not disintegrated. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chard, lemon zest, basil, parsley and more seasoning. Allow to cool completely, then crumble in the feta and gently mix together. Keep the filling cool while you make the pastry.

TO MAKE ROUGH PUFF PASTRY:

Combine the butter cubes, flour and salt in a large bowl. Add just enough cold water to bring everything together into a dough. It will have big pieces of butter in it and that’s ok.

Flour your surface well, then roll the dough in one direction, away from you, to a 1cm thick rectangle. Fold the two short ends into the middle so they overlap. Give the pastry a quarter turn, repeat the rolling, folding and turning process another three times (four in total). Wrap the pastry in baking paper and put into the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove the pastry and repeat the rolling, folding and turning process another 4 times. Return to the fridge again for another 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/400F/Gas 6.

Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and roll out to 4-5mm thick. Use a 18-20cm plate or cutter to cut out 4 rounds. Put a quarter of the filling (or whatever fits) in the lower half of each round, leaving a 2cm border around the edge. Brush the border below the filling with beaten egg and fold the pastry over to encase the filling. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal, then brush with the egg and sprinkle over the onion seeds and a little bit of flaky sea salt.

Put the pasties on to a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden. Eat just warm or at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Outside by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2022.)

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Another recipe for using up leftover cooked lamb. It doesn’t take very long so you could try it mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: This is delicious with a red with a good amount of age, where the gentle, aged spices and characters meld with the food. This isn’t always easily to hand, so Domaine Gayda’s Grenache from the border of the Languedoc and Roussillon was a more than adequate substitute, with the peppery spices from the grape providing a natural warmth and a juicy red fruit.

Leftover lamb pilaf – serves 4-6

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 350g basmati rice
  • 700ml chicken stock or lamb stock
  • 50g dried barberries (or you could use dried cherries or cranberries)
  • 50g dried figs, quartered
  • 500g leftover cooked lamb, in chunks
  • 75g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley or mint
  • 35g toasted almonds, chopped (or pistachios)
  • seeds from ½ a pomegranate
  • Greek yoghurt to serve (optional)

Heat a splash of oil in a large heavy saucepan and cook the onion until soft and golden. Add the chilli, allspice and garlic and cook for another minute, then add the rice, stirring to coat in the oil. Add the stock and dried fruit and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Don’t be tempted to stir it! If the rice isn’t tender after 20 minutes, add a little boiling water, cover again and cook for another 4-5 minutes. If the stock isn’t completely absorbed, turn up the heat to quickly boil it off.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and quickly fry the lamb until warm and crispy. Season, then fork through the rice with the feta, herbs and nuts. Transfer to a large dish and scatter over the pomegranate seeds. Serve with some yoghurt on the side if you like.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2012.)

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We are cooking our way through Persian Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour. We struggle like everyone to eat well on busy days but this book is perfect for just that.

Wine Suggestion: White, lemony and medium bodied. Maybe a youthful Verdicchio, or our current fave, Zuani’s Ribolla Gialla Sodevo, from Collio in North East Italy. A grape that was so higly regarded by the Romans they implemented laws to protect it from adulteration … possibly the world’s first appellation laws …we’ll need to investigate further.

Pasta with sage butter, feta & pine nuts – serves 2

  • 200g pasta shells
  • 75g butter
  • 20 sage leaves
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 2 pinches of pul biber chilli flakes

Cook the pasta in lots of very salty water according to the timings on the packet.

When the pasta is almost cooked, put a large frying pan over a gentle heat. Add the butter and sage and allow the butter to melt gently but don’t let it sizzle much. Keep stirring so the sage flavours the butter.

Roughly drain the pasta (you want a little bit of water still on the pasta) and add to the pan with the butter and sage. Turn up the heat and season very generousy with black pepper and a little sea salt. Add the pine nuts and toss everything together, then add the feta and stir until melting and starting to coat the pasta.

Serve spinkled with extra black pepper and a pinch of pul biber.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

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Like a Greek salad, but with pasta added in. It makes a great lunch or lunchbox and is good for using up odds and ends in the fridge.

Pasta Salad – serves 4

  • 200g pasta – use what ever shape you have
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 75g pitted black olives, halved
  • ½ small cucumber, quartered lengthways then sliced
  • ½ a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g feta cheese

Cook the pasta in lots of salty boiling water according to the timings on the packet.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano and some seasoning into a mixing bowl and mix well to make a dressing.

Drain the pasta in a colandar and leave to cool for a few minutes. Tip the cooked pasta into the mixing bowl and toss to coat in the dressing.

Tip in the tomatoes, olives, cucumber and red onion, then crumble in the feta cheese. Gently mix everything together, then serve or put in the fridge for lunchboxes tomorrow.

(Original recipe by Cassie Best in BBC Good Food Magazine, July 2022.)

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This is absolutely lovely for lunch and you can make it up a few hours in advance and chill it in the fridge. It’s also easily doubled if your serving a crowd. Like everything it tastes better outside in the sun. Serve with some crusty bread and green salad leaves if you like.

Lemon & herb chicken salad – serves 6

  • 750g cooked skinless chicken, cut into thin strips (we cook our chicken on a barbecue for extra flavour)
  • 150g pitted green olives, halved
  • 290g jar chargrilled red peppers, drained and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 200g feta cheese, broken into small pieces

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl and seasoning with salt and black pepper.

Add the chicken to the dressing and toss well, then addd the olives, half the peppers, the basil, parsley, and two-thirds of the feta. Season again.

Arrange the chicken on a large platter and top with the rest of the peppers and feta. Chill in the fridge for a bit before serving.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks up a Feast with Lucy Young, Penguin Random House, 2019.)

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This is a rather unconventional method but it does work, and the resulting dish is perfect comfort food for a cold day. The za’atar pesto is a good addition to cut through the richness and the feta provides creamy nuggets. A crazy but good idea from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen.

Wine Suggestion: A crisp white with body and texture is called for here to help cut through rich layers and stand up to the complex flavours. Domaine Ventenac’s Cassandre waas our choice and a very happy match indeed. Vermentino from Cabardes in the south of France, this comes from vineyards that have cooling breezes and a little altitude to give it depth of flavour as well as a scintillating freshness; finishing with a slight nutty twist that gave the pesto an extra lift.

Middle Eastern mac n cheese with za’atar pesto – serves 4 to 6

  • 300g dried cavatappi or fusilli pasta
  • 600-700ml whole milk
  • 65g unsalted butter, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
  • 75ml double cream
  • 150g mature cheddar, roughly grated
  • 180g Greek feta, roughly crumbled
  • 45g shop-bought crispy onions or shallots

FOR THE ZA’ATAR PESTO

  • 1 large lemon
  • 3 tbsp za’atar
  • 20g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 40g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 6 tbsp olive oil

Put the pasta, 600ml of milk, 350ml of water, the butter, garlic, turmeric, 1 tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down the heat and cook, stirring now and then, for 8-14 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente and the sauce thickened. You can add the extra 100ml of milk if you need it thinned a bit.

Turn the heat to low and stir in the cumin, cream and cheeses. Stir until the cheddar has melted.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Finely grate the lemon to get 1½ tsp of zest. Peel the lemon, cut into segments and roughly chop. Put the lemon and zest into a bowl.

Put the za’atar, coriander, garlic, pine nuts, a pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and 3 tbsp of the oil into a food processor, then pulse a few times to get a coarse paste. Add to the lemon and stir in the remaining 3 tbsp of oil.

Transfer the cheesey pasta to a large serving platter, dot all over with the pesto and top with the crispy onions.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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Give these a go for a super tasty mid-week and meat-free meal. The aubergines and beans really fill you up and the extras are non-negotiable as they all come together to make these tacos taste great. If you have too many pickled onions they will keep in the fridge for a few days and are great on the side of all sorts of things or in toasted sandwiches.

Wine Suggestion: The pickles need to be matched with a touch of residual sugar in the wine, or else the vinegar gets accentuated. The aubergine and black beans also need a touch of rich, earthiness but not too much weight. We found our match in Finca Bacara’s Crazy Grapes, a Monastrell from Jumilla in Spain. Superbly balanced juicy fruits, all brambles, black plums and berries, with a hint of earthy tannins and so easy to drink.

Aubergine and Black Bean Tacos with Feta & Pickled Red Onions

FOR THE QUICK PICKLED ONIONS:

  • 1 large red onion, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

FOR THE AUBERGINE & BLACK BEAN FILLING:

  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • a pinch of dried oregano
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 x 400g tins black beans, 1 drained and rinsed
  • ½ lime, juiced, plus extra wedges to serve

TO SERVE:

  • 8 small tortillas, warmed
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ an iceberg lettuce, shredded

Start by making the pickled onions. Combine all of the ingredients with a generous sprinkle of sea salt flakes in a plastic container with a lid. Close the lid and shake hard for a couple of minutes or until the onions soften.

Next, you need to burn your aubergines. Prick them all over with a fork, then either place them directly over a gas flame, on the barbecue, or under a hot grill. Turn them until they are blackened and burnt all over and starting to collapse, then aside on a plate to cool.

When the aubergines are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and discard the blackened skins.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.

For the aubergine and black bean filling, you need to heat the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan with the bay leaf and cumin seeds. When they start sizzling, you can add the onions and garlic. Fry for about 5 minutes or until soft but not coloured, then stir in the tomato purée and cook for a few minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and dried oregano and cook for another few minutes or until they have collapsed into the sauce. Add the aubergine flesh, chilli powder, chilli flakes and vinegar and stir for a minutes, then tip in the drained and undrained beans. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and cook for about 5 minutes until reduced, then transfer to the oven for 15-20 minutes until rich and thick.

Fill the warm tortillas with shredded lettuce and the aubergine and black bean filling. Top with feta, coriander, pickled onions and a squeeze of lime.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Barbecued watermelon is a revelation for us as it really intensifies the flavour. This combination with prawns, feta and chilli is total winner! Serve as a starter at your next barbecue. Another fab idea from Chasing Smoke.

Wine Suggestion: This dish has a real affinity with a juicy, youthful Grenache, be it a Rosé or a lightly chilled red like tonight’s Rubus by Jesus Romero. Made at 1000m above sea-level in the rural, far south of Aragon, Spain this is all cherry, blackberry and spice; seriously gluggable.

Grilled watermelon and prawns with feta & chilli – serves 4

  • 12 whole prawns in the shells (buy 16 if they’re small)
  • 2 thick slices from a large watermelon
  • 1 red chilli, sliced into rings (if you cut of the stalk and rub the chilli between your hands the seeds will fall out)
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 250g feta
  • a small bunch of mint, leave half the leaves whole and chop the rest
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit extra for brushing
  • 1 tsp roughly crushed black pepper

Take a small pointy knife and cut and cut down the back of each prawn, when you see the digestive string gently pull it out with the tip of the knife. Leave the prawns in a bowl in the fridge until ready to cook.

Cut the watermelon into 8 large wedges, leaving the skin on.

Mix the chilli slices with the vinegar and salt and set aside.

Light your barbecue and get it up to a high heat.

Brush the watermelon with some olive oil, then put on the hottest part of the barbecue for 1-2 minutes on each side or until charred. Remove to a platter, then grill the prawns for a 2-3 minutes on each side, depending how big they are.

Add the prawns to the watermelon, crumble over the feta, then scatter with the mint leaves.

Stir the olive oil, black pepper and chopped mint into the marinating chilli and drizzle over the platter.

(Original recipe from Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Aroudn the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2021.)

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We’ve done this a few times this week. It’s a great side for a barbecue and it looks after itself in the oven while you organise everything else. Make it while you can still get local asparagus.

Roasted balsamic asparagus & cherry tomatoes – serves 4 as a side

  • 350g asparagus, snap off the woody ends and discard
  • 330g pack cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 50g feta, crumbled

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Put the asparagus and cherry tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic. Season, then toss together. Bake for 15 minutes or until the asparagus is cooked through. Sprinkle over the feta to serve.

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We’re a bit salad-obsessed these days. This one is huge and will feed a crowd when you have them over to your garden. Perfect with a piece of barbecued lamb.

Minted pea and spinach salad with bacon – serves 4-6

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 slices streaky bacon or pancetta, cut into lardons
  • 200g frozen peas, defrosted (only Birds Eye will do in our opinion)
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed with a little salt
  • a bunch of mint, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 200g baby spinach
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon over a medium heat until starting to crisp up.

Mix the defrosted peas with the garlic, mint, red onion and baby spinach.

Dress the salad with 4 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Toss in the bacon and scatter the feta on top.

(Original recipe from Avoca Salads, edited by Hugo Arnold, Avoca Ltd, 2007.)

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This pasta bake from the Falastin book would make a great party dish. We’re still a good way off holding a party in terms of restrictions but we’re very happy to have heaps of leftovers. It’s full of warm spices and the feta on the top makes it a bit different from the more familiar pasta bakes. If you make the ragu the day before it’s pretty straightforward to assemble and bake when you need it. If you do this, warm the ragu slowly first before adding the pasta.

Wine Suggestion: this goes great with a warmly, spiced southern French or Spanish red. Our choice tonight is a rarity, a wine from the Southern part of Aragon near the provincial city of Teruel. An ancient inland region of Spain that was de-populated during the civil war and is being rejuvinated by some young winemakers replanting the vineyard terraces of their grandparents. The Jesus Romero Rubus is a Garnacha Tempranillo organically grown and made without intervention, but with a lot of love and care to avoid any bacterial issues. Joyful red and black fruits, warm spices and refined tannins.

Spicy pasta bake – serves 6 generously

FOR THE RAGU:

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 green peppers, roughly chopped
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g beef mince (not too lean, about 20% fat if possible)
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 5-6 plum tomatoes, coarsely grate and discard the skins – if you have a mouli you could use this
  • 2 red peppers, cut into rough 3cm dice
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 20g parsley, roughly chopped, plus a bit extra to serve

FOR THE BÉCHAMEL:

  • 45g unsalted butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 500ml full cream milk
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 130g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 egg yolks

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

  • 350g macaroni pasta or similar
  • 180g feta, roughly crumbled
  • ¾ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes, to serve

First make the bolognese. Put the onion, celery and green peppers into a food processor and pulse briefly, until finely chopped.

Put the butter and oil into a large, heavy saucepan and put over a medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture and cook for 7 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add the garlic, tomato purée, oregano, spices and bay leaves and cook for a minute.

Add the beef mince and cook for a few minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and cooking until no pink bits remain.

Add the tinned and fresh tomatoes, red peppers, sugar, 100ml of water, 2¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and leave to simmer very gently for 2½ hours, stirring roughly every 30 minutes, until the sauce is thick and rich. We took the lid off for the last half an hour as our ragu was very liquid. Discard the bay leaves, stir in the parsley and set aside until needed.

To make the béchamel, put the butter into a medium saucepan and place on a medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, stir or whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking or stirring continuously. Reduce the heat to medium, add the nutmeg and 1 tsp of salt, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes, then stir in the yoghurt and egg yolks until mixed in.

Heat the oven to 200C fan.

Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente (use the minimum time on the pack). Reserve 3 tbsp of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and add to the ragu with the reserved cooking water. Mix well then pour into a large baking dish (about 30 x 22cm and 8cm deep).

Pour the béchamel over the top and spread out evenly. Sprinkle over the feta and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with some extra parsley, the aleppo chilli and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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We loved this deep-filled veggie pie and it looks so bright with the broken eggs on the top. Excellent for lunch or dinner or to pack up for a picnic. Leftovers are good too. Use a 23cm round baking tin. Serve with a salad.

Wine Suggestion: Pick a white you’d be happy having on a picnic; something with a bit of body and dry, minerality. For us it was an old vine Bourgogne Aligote from Domaine Gueguen in Chablis. Full and round with apricot and apple flavours and a saline, chalky twist at the end. Tasting this we wonder why Aligote isn’t more popular as it is delicious.

Spinach, egg and filo pie – serves 8

  • 70g butter
  • 1 small packet of filo pastry

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 50g butter
  • 500g spinach
  • 1 small bunch of dill, chopped
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • a few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and chopped (about 2 tsp)
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 160g  cup yoghurt
  • 50g plain flour
  • 8 eggs
  • 50g finely grated pecorino
  • 50g feta

Melt the 50g portion of butter for the filling in a large saucepan. Add the spinach and cover, then cook for a few minutes until wilted. Drain in a colander to drain off the excess liquid. Transfer to a large bowl and add the dill, scallions, thyme, dried mint, salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix well. Add the yoghurt, flour, 4 of the eggs, the pecorino and feta, and mix well to combine.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Melt the 70g portion of butter for the pastry and take the filo sheets out of the packet. Brush the first sheet with the melted butter and lay another sheet on top. Lift these 2 sheets into the round baking tin, allowing a little overhang. Repeat this process and put another layer in the tin, slightly overlapping the first. Continue this way until the tin is fully lined with pastry, with pastry over hanging on all sides. You will probably need about 4 double sheets.

Fill the pastry lined tin with the spinach mixture, then fold the filo overhang to cover the edges of the filling but don’t cover the whole surface. Scrunch the pastry to form a crunchy rim and brush with a little more butter. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the tin from the oven and crack the remaining 4 eggs over the surface. Aim to have an egg yolk in each quarter and for the egg white to be evenly distributed. Use the tip of a sharp knife to swirl the yolk into the filling but don’t push it in too much. Put the pie back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until the spinach mixture and eggs are set and the pastry crispy.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. At Home by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2018.)

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PSB is our veg saviour early in the year when winter is lingering and spring still seems too far away. We loved this roasted version with a tangy lemon dressing.

Roasted PSB with feta & preserved lemons – serves 4 to 6 as a side

  • 500g purple sprouting broccoli
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 preserved lemon, flesh and rind chopped, plus 1 tbsp juice from the jar
  • 80g yoghurt
  • 1 garlic cloves, grated
  • 30g feta

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Put the PSB into large roasting tin, add the olive oil and red chilli, season with salt and pepper, then toss with your hands.

Roast for 15 minutes, turning halfway, until tender and starting to char.

Meanwhile stir the preserved lemon, juice and garlic into the yoghurt.

Crumble the feta over the roasted broccoli and drizzle with yoghurt dressing and your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Mussels with green pepper, Pernod, tomatoes, feta and dill. This is an Albanian recipe that we found in Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein. We don’t agree with the seafood and cheese rule anyway and this dish proves that it can work. Serve with crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: Match with a white with a bit of body, but no oak. We chose an underrated Sylvaner by Sipp Mack in Alsace which was fresh with stone fruits and a racy minerality in the glass

Butrint Mussels – serves 2

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1 small green pepper, sliced
  • 30ml of ouzo/Pastis (we used Pernod)
  • 600g mussels, scrubbed
  • 150ml passata
  • 75g feta cheese
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • a small handful of dill, chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and sweat the onion, garlic and green pepper for 5 minutes.

Add the Pernod and the mussels, then cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mussels are starting to open.

Add the passata and feta and season with the chilli flakes, salt and some black pepper. Heat through for a minute or two, then serve scattered with the dill.

(Original recipe from Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2015.)

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This soup is super simple but it’s really good with the toasted feta tortillas on the side for a weekday lunch.

Bean soup with feta tortillas – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp chipotle paste
  • 500g carton passata
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200g feta
  • 4 large soft flour tortillas
  • a handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • sour cream or yoghurt to serve

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft.

Add the chipotle paste, passata, stock and beans. Season, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, crumble the feta over one half of each of the tortillas, then sprinkle with the chopped coriander and season with black pepper. Fold the uncovered side over and press together. Heat a dry frying pan and cook the tortillas for a minute on each side or until crispy and the cheese has melted.

Serve the soup in warm bowls with a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt if you have it and the feta tortillas on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Such a simple and foolproof way of cooking rice from Ottolgenghi Simple. This gives a lovely texture and the salsa is delicious. We served with pulled lamb shawarma but it would be great with all sorts of dishes. 

Baked mint rice with pomegranate and olive salsa – serves 6

  • 400g basmati rice
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 800ml boiling water
  • 50g mint (leave 40g on the springs and shred the leaves of the remaining 10g for the salsa)
  • 150g feta, crumbled into 1-2cm pieces

FOR THE SALSA:

  • 40g pitted green olives, thinly sliced
  • seeds from a small pomegranate
  • 50g walnut halves, lightly roasted and roughly broken
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed

Preheat the oven to 230C fan or as high as your oven goes. 

Put the rice into a high-sided roasting tin, about 20 x 30cm. Season with ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of pepper, then pour over the melted butter and boiling water. Top with the mint sprigs and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, until the rice is fluffy and the liquid absorbed. 

Meanwhile, mix all of the salad ingredients, except the mint leaves, together in a bowl with ¼ tsp of salt. Mix well and set aside. 

When the rice is ready, pull the leaves off the mint sprigs and scatter them over the rice, then sprinkle over the feta. Just before serving, stir the shredded mint into the salsa and spoon over the rice. 

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Marinated Tomato & Feta Salad

There are endless tomato salads for lunch at our house. We loved this marinated version with feta cheese and olives. Serve with warm pittas.

Marinated tomato & feta salad – serves 2

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 vine tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 10 kalamata olives
  • a few mint leaves, torn
  • 2 pitta breads, warmed

Whisk the oil, vinegar and caster sugar together in a bowl, then add the onion and season.

Divide the tomato slices between two plates, then spoon over the onions and dressing. Leave to mingle for 10 minutes.

Scatter over the feta, olives and mint, then serve with the warm pittas.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, August 2016.)

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Tomatoes Stuffed with Cheese & Herbs

We made these for lunch when having a bit of a fridge clear out (story of our lives!). They work really well as a side with other interesting flavours on the plate. We had some cold leftover lamb, some pickled beetroot and a green tabule salad and it was altogether delicious! Vary the herbs according to what you have, we used fennel herb but basil would be good too.

Tomatoes stuffed with cheese & herbs – serves 4

  • 4 beef tomatoes or the biggest tomatoes you can find
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides with a spoon.

Mix the feta, dill, parsley and some sea salt flakes and black pepper together.

Spoon this mixture into the tomatoes and place on a lightly oiled baking tray.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the cheese browned.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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Beetroot & feta samosas

These are so simple to make and you can stash them in the freezer and cook from frozen so great for a snack or starter with drinks.

Wine Suggestion: We’ve tried these with a few different wines and prefer them if the wine is chilled. Quite a few whites worked really well, but interestingly the best combination was a chilled red made from Grignolino from the Piedmont in norther Italy. Light bodied and yet dry with hints of (in balance) pippy bitterness and structured, light tannins. From a bottle a friend brought over and made by Olim Bauda; a nice discovery.

Beetroot & feta samosas – makes 18-24 samosas

  • 400g fresh beetroot
  • 200g feta cheese, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 30g coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 x 270g packs of filo pastry
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • onion seeds (nigella seeds), to garnish

Boil the beetroot until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, this can take an hour or more depending on what size they are.

Trim the beetroot and peel off the skin (you might like to wear gloves), then roughly mash.

Put the mashed beetroot into a hot frying pan over a medium heat and heat for 5 minutes to remove excess moisture, then transfer to a bowl.

Stir in the feta, scallions, coriander, green chilli, garlic, chilli powder, cumin, garam masala and salt.

Lay a sheet of the filo pastry out with the long side towards you (cover the rest of the filo with a damp tea towel). Brush the left hand side of the pastry sheet lightly with the melted butter. Fold the right hand side of the sheet over the left so you have a double layer of pastry. Cut the pastry into 3 long strips with a sharp knife.

Place a heaped tbsp of the beetroot mixture at the bottom of a pastry strip, then fold the bottom right hand corner up over the filling to make a small triangle. Flip the triangle over as you move up the pastry strip, the filling will eventually be sealed inside. When you get to the end, brush the end of the pastry strip with a little melted butter and press to seal.

Continue like this until all of the beetroot mixture has been used, you might not need all of the filo pastry.

If you want to freeze the samosas at this stage you can set them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, then place in tray in the freezer. When the samosas are frozen you can transfer them to a bag.

If you want to cook the freshly made samosas, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush the samosas on both sides with melted butter and sprinkle a few onion seeds over the top. Put onto a lightly greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

To cook from frozen. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush both sides with melted butter, sprinkle a few onion seeds over the top, and put onto a lightly greased baking tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp and golden.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2014.)

 

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BBQ Lamb with Courgettes, Mangetout & Feta Salad

We love this time of year when all the local produce arrives in dribs and drabs. Last week our local farm shop had little courgettes and mangetout – the excitement!

Wine Suggestion: a lighter, youthful red with medium, dry tannins and freshness for the lamb. A young Sangiovese from a good vineyard or good cru Beaujolais come to mind straight away.

BBQ lamb with courgettes, mangetout & feta salad – serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 4 small lamb chops or cutlets
  • 2 small courgettes, sliced into rounds, about 1cm thick
  • 200g mangetout
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • small handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • small handful basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 25g feta, crumbled

Season the lamb chops all over with black pepper and fine sea salt. Mix a tbsp of the olive oil with the chopped thyme and brush over the lamb.

Heat the barbecue and cook the chops for a few minutes on each side, we don’t mind them rare in the middle but we like them to be well-seared and crispy on the outside. Remove to a plate, and leave to rest, covered in foil.

Brush the courgette with a little oil and season. Cook these on the barbecue (if you have a griddle pan you can set it on the barbecue and cook them on this so they don’t fall through the bars). You might need a couple of batches.

Meanwhile, cook the mangetout for a couple of minutes in boiling salty water, then drain and tip into a large bowl with the courgettes.

Mix the vinegar, mustard, chilli flakes, mint & basil together to make a dressing. Toss the veg in the dressing and crumble over the feta to serve. Pile onto plates with the lamb chops.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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