You know sometimes you look at something in a cook book which looks delicious but you know that if you recreated it at home it would look nothing like the pretty picture in the book? Well when I saw the spinach and feta filo pie in Jamie Oliver’s new book I thought exactly that. But lo and behold, I cooked it and it looked exactly like the carefully styled picture in the book. And it tasted damned good too.
I feel a bit of a cheat putting this up because it is so easy and 100% not of my invention. It’s a Jamie special. Jamie Oliver’s new book, Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals, is all about cooking a multi-dish meal in 30 minutes. I’m actually never really that bothered about cooking within a timeframe. I get home from work a good hour or so before Sven so I’ve usually got time to cook in a leisurely fashion. However, after a flick through the book I noticed that is chock-full of really delicious ideas for easy meals. From pies to curries, and pasta to stir-fries, there are 50 or so dishes that can be knocked out without too much stress or effort. I mean, this is mid-week stuff, but it’s actually quite nice to have a cook book sans all the pretentious expensive recipes that are completely irrelevant for 80% of the meals you actually cook day-to-day. And I tell you what, this spinach and feta filo pie is really bloody good. I love the crunchy pastry and creamy filling, punctuated with toasted pine nuts, and the cayenne pepper in the filo gives it an unexpected kick. What’s more, you don’t need to cook everything else that Jamie suggests to go along with the dish. You can just follow the clearly marked sections that relate to the dish you want to cook. I just made the pie with a simple salad to go along with it.
Spinach and feta filo pie
Adapted from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals
- 100g pine nuts
- 5 eggs
- 300g feta cheese
- 50g Cheddar cheese
- dried oregano
- 1 lemon
- a good knob of butter
- 400g pre-washed spinach
- 1x 270g pack of filo pastry
- cayenne pepper
- 1 whole nutmeg.
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C. Heat a dry ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat and lightly toast the pine nuts until they are just tinged brown. Remove from the pan and put to one side for a moment.
Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, then crumble in the feta cheese and grate in the Cheddar. Add a good grind of pepper and a couple of pinches of dried oregano. Then grate in the zest of 1 lemon and add a generous lug of extra virgin olive oil.
Chuck in your toasted pine nuts…
and mix well.
Put the same frying pan back over a medium flame and add a knob of butter and a glug of olive oil. Pile in half the spinach and move it around so that it starts to wilt. Gradually add more and more spinach as room becomes available, making sure to stir frequently so the leaves don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Once the spinach has wilted, add it to the egg mixture and grate in half a nutmeg before giving it a really good stir. Put to one side for a moment.
Take the file pastry out of the fridge and lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper (approx 50cm long) on a clean dry worktop. Rub a little olive oil over the paper, then scrunch it up and lay it out flat again. Arrange four sheets of filo pastry in a rectangle, overlapping a bit at the edges, so they almost cover the paper. Rub some olive oil over the sheets, then sprinkle over a pinch of cayenne pepper and season lightly. Repeat until you have 3 layers of filo.
Being very careful, move the greaseproof paper and filo over to the empty ovenproof frying pan so the edges flop over the top. Push the pastry down into the sides of the pan.
Pour the egg mixture into the pan and spread it out.
Fold over the edges of the filo pastry back over so that they completely cover the egg mixture. Don’t worry about making it look pretty; the more rough the folds, the more lovely crispy filo you will have. Trim back some of the greaseproof paper.
Put the pan back on the medium heat for a few minutes to start the bottom of pie cooking, then put the pan in the oven for 20 minutes or so until golden and crisp.
Remove from the oven and serve in slices with salad. Bish, bash, bosh (as Jamie might say).
I was sent a copy of Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals to review