A couple of weeks ago I bought some spinach and feta rolls from the bakery stall in the food market that pops up in the centre of town on Fridays and Saturdays. They were delicious but a little pricey so I decided to have a go at making my own. They were so tasty we’ve ended up having them as a quick meal on several occasions since. They’re particularly good for when Mr O is working in the evening as he can just pop one in the oven for 5 minutes to reheat and have a fresh, hot snack when he gets home.
Spinach and feta pies
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
200g frozen chopped spinach
200g feta cheese, crumbled
150g ricotta cheese
2 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Preheat your oven to 200 C.
Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil over a low heat for 5 minutes in a saucepan with a lid. Add the spinach and put on the lid. Cook until the spinach is completely defrosted and hot through (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the feta and ricotta and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Unroll the pastry sheets and cut each one into six (in half lengthwise and then into thirds). Place some of the spinach mixture in the centre of half the pastry rectangles. Don’t put it too close to the edges because you need room to seal. Brush all four of the edges around the spinach mixture of each rectangle with egg and then cover with another rectangle and press down the edges to close. Take a fork and press down all around the edges to make a nice pattern. Then use a sharp knife to make a few slashes across the top of each pie. Brush with more egg.
Place on a baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Makes 6 pies
I am a really big fan of salads so I couldn’t resist making this unusual carrot salad. I absolutely loved the spicy North African flavours but I have to admit that Mr O didn’t like it – apparently too many carrots. So if you’re not a carrot lover this one might not be for you but I ate almost the entire salad over a few days as it keeps really well. I can imagine it would be great as a side at a braai.
Spiced carrot, chickpea and feta salad
Adapted from Scrumptious South Africa
200g tinned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
75g feta cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
For the dressing
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice of half an orange
Juice of a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Make the dressing by whisking together all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
Place the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast. Keep tossing so that they don’t burn. Set aside.
Trim and peel the carrots. Slice the carrots into 3mm slices. I used the mandolin side of my box grater. You could also use a food processor or slice them by hand (although that might take a while).
Bring a pot of salted water to a rapid rolling boil. Add the carrots and immediately set a timer for five minutes. When the five minutes are up test a carrot slice to check if it is tender. It should be just about al dente. If it’s not give it a couple more minutes. Drain the carrots in a colander and then add them to the bowl with the dressing. Mix in the chickpeas, cover and set aside at room temperature for a couple of hours or in the fridge if you’re planning on serving it the next day.
Just before you serve the salad mix in the parsley and mint. Pile the salad onto a pretty platter, crumble the feta over the top and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serves 2 – 3 as a main or 6 as a starter or side.
I am a massive fan of sweet potatoes in every possible incarnation – baked, roasted, fried, mashed… I cannot get enough of their sweet, yet earthy flavour. I think this warm salad makes the best of the salty feta and chorizo and the sweetness of the potatoes… and it’s delicious, quick and hearty.
Sweet potato and chorizo salad
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
100g sliced chorizo3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
200g baby spinach
1/2 cup pitted black olives, cut in half
100g feta cheese
Preheat your oven to 180 C. Put the sweet potato cubes in a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Then sprinkle over the rosemary, smoked paprika and a little salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
Then add the chorizo and and roast for 15 more minutes. Then drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and return to the oven for five more minutes.
Make a bed of spinach leaves on an attractive platter. Spread the sweet potatoes and chorizo over the spinach, followed by the feta and the olives and then drizzle with the juices of the roasting pan.
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter
This is a great mid-week meal that can be thrown together with very little effort – in fact my slightly less experienced husband made this according to instructions while I was out for a run. You can serve it with some brown rice to make a vegetarian meal or it would make a great side at a BBQ.
Warm roast vegetable, chickpea and feta salad
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
200g sliced button mushrooms
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 tin chickpeas, drained
50g feta or goat’s cheese, crumbled
Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
Preheat your oven to 200 C. Chop the courgettes, aubergines and red onion into 1 inch chunks and put in a large bowl. Add the mushrooms, garlic, olive oil, garlic and a little salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix well so that all the veg is coated in oil. Line a large baking dish with foil and spread the veg across it evenly. Pop in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
When the veg is ready, allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Then add the chickpeas, feta and parsley and mix gently.
Serves 4 when served with rice.