What’s for dinner?

It’s Monday, the day I usually have a little bit of energy left over from the weekend and don’t dread the thought of what to do for dinner.  On tonight’s menu is Jamie Oliver’s spinach feta pie and a tomato salade.  My husband and I love this recipe and it has the advantage of being relatively easy and quick to make.  What would we do without Jamie Oliver and his 30-minute meals, especially now that we have to deal with all of this exhausting IVF business?  If you haven’t already discovered the delicious world of Jamie Oliver it is well worth taking a peek at one of his cookbooks, your taste buds will thank you.  We still haven’t quite figured out how to do the meals in 30 minutes, but we’re getting better ;-).

Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute meals: Spinach & feta filo pie, cucumber salad, tomato salad and coated ice-cream

Vegetarian feast: Spinach & feta filo pie is easy to make

SERVES 4- 6

INGREDIENTS

SPINACH & FETA PIE

  • 100g (3½oz) pinenuts
  • 5 free range or organic eggs
  • 300g (10½oz) feta cheese
  • 50g (1¾oz)
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Dried oregano
  • 1 lemon
  • A knob of butter
  • 400g (14oz) prewashed baby spinach
  • 1 x 270g pack of filo pastry
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1 whole nutmeg

TOMATO SALAD

  • A small bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • White wine vinegar
  • 300g (10½oz) mixed cherry tomatoes
  • Optional: a small bunch of fresh Greek basil

SEASONING

  • Olive oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper

CUCUMBER SALAD

  • 1 cucumber
  • 10 black olives
  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 spring onions
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ fresh red chilli
  • 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh mint

COATED ICE CREAM

  • 4tbsp coffee beans
  • 100g (3½oz) hazelnuts
  • 1 x 100g bar of good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • Good-quality vanilla ice-cream

METHOD

TO START:  Get all your ingredients and equipment ready. Turn the oven on to 200C/ gas 6. Put a medium (approx 26cm/10½in diameter) ovenproof frying pan on a medium heat. Put the standard blade attachment in the food processor.

SPINACH & FETA PIE:   Put the pinenuts into the dry ovenproof frying pan to toast, tossing occasionally. Keep an eye on them. Crack 5 eggs into a mixing bowl and crumble in 300g (10½oz) feta. Grate in the Cheddar.

Add a pinch of pepper, a couple of pinches of dried oregano, zest of 1 lemon and a glug of olive oil. Once the nuts are light golden, add them to the egg mixture and mix well.

Put the empty frying pan back on the heat, add a little olive oil and a knob of butter and pile in half of the spinach. Gently push and move it around and add more as it wilts down. Make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom and, when there’s room, start adding the rest, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, take the pastry out of the fridge.

Lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper, approx 50cm (20in) long, on the worktop, rub a little olive oil all over it, then scrunch it up and lay it out flat again. Arrange 4 filo pastry sheets in a large rectangle, overlapping at the edges, so they almost cover the paper. Rub some olive oil over them. Sprinkle over a good pinch of salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Repeat until you have 3 layers. Don’t worry about any cracked bits. Remember to keep stirring the spinach.

Tomato salad

Cucumber salad

Light sides: Tomato salad, left, and cucumber salad

Once the spinach is really nice and dense, take the pan off the heat. Add the wilted spinach to the egg mixture and grate in ½ a nutmeg. Mix well. Carefully move the greaseproof paper and filo into the empty frying pan so the edges spill over. Push it down into the sides of the pan, then pour in the egg mixture and spread it out. Fold the filo sheets over the top and let them fall where they will (for more help go to www. jamieoliver.com/how-to-filo-pie).

Put the pan back on a medium heat for a couple of minutes to get the bottom cooking, then put the pan into the oven on the top shelf to cook for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

CUCUMBER SALAD:  Run a fork down the length of the cucumber all around it, then halve and quarter it lengthways and cut the quarters across into 1cm (½in) chunks. Put them into a mixing bowl and set aside.

Drain 10 black olives, squeeze out their stones, and tear them into another bowl. Pour over 2tbsp balsamic vinegar and push down on the olives, so the vinegar starts pulling out their saltiness. Trim and finely slice 3 spring onions, then add to the olives.
Drizzle 4tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of ½ a lemon into the olive mixture and stir really well.

Deseed and finely slice ½ a red chilli and add to the bowl of cucumber. Pick the leaves from the sprigs of mint, finely slice them and add to the cucumber. Pour over the dressing, toss quickly, drizzle over a little more extra virgin olive oil and take to the table.

Sweet treat: Coated ice-cream

SPINACH & FETA PIE: Check on the pie.

COATED ICE-CREAM: Pour the coffee beans into a liquidiser and blitz. Add the hazelnuts and blitz to a powder. While that’s going on, really bash the chocolate, still in its wrapper, against the work surface (this works best if it’s straight from the fridge). Unwrap and add to the food processor. Whizz again, then tip into a bowl and put to one side.

TOMATO SALAD: Rinse out the liquidiser. Rip the top off the bunch of basil, reserving a few of the smaller leaves, and put into the liquidiser with a pinch of salt and pepper, a peeled clove of garlic, a couple of good glugs of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of white wine vinegar. Whizz until you have a dark green oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Halve or quarter the tomatoes. Pour this dressing over a platter and sit the tomatoes on top. Scatter over some Greek basil leaves or smaller basil leaves and a pinch or two of salt, then take to the table and toss right before serving.

TO SERVE: Take the ice-cream out of the freezer to soften. Take the pie to the table with your beautiful salads and divide up between your guests. After dinner, take the ice-cream to the table with the bowl of powdered topping. Roll a scoop of ice-cream in the powder to coat, and eat at once. Store any leftover powder in an airtight container and use another time.

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