Posts Tagged ‘Parsley’

Grilled Halloumi and roast baby beetroot salad

August 19, 2010

This is the first time I have ever properly grown my own veg. It was a wee bit of a trial actually to see what would grow (if anything) and if I could do it. Much to my surprise I have managed to grow things. It’s funny I never really expected anything to grow. Over the past few months I have been regularly harvesting my own rocket, baby cos lettuce, parsley, radishes and tons and tons of beautiful flat leaf parsley. Oh the joy of being able to step out side to “gather” the ingredients for a meal – sigh!

It is so exciting watching my beetroots grow steadily larger and on the flip side rather disappointing seeing my fennel struggling along – pesky rabbits are munching on it!

The beetroot is plentiful and I decided yesterday it was time for my first harvesting. Roasted baby beetroot – yummy yummy yummy. With a little bit of a whip round the kitchen and the parsley patch I had all the ingredients I needed for a lovely hearty salad.

Ingredients

8 baby beetroot
4 medium tomatoes (the sweeter and tastier the better)
large bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 lemon
1 block of Halloumi
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Method

First things first, cut the stems from the beetroot leaving approx 1 cm. Scrub all the dirt from them and leave some of the tail (root).

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Place in a ceramic oven proof dish whole, if some of the beetroots are a bit large you can cut them in half.

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Add about 3 tablespoons of water and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in oven for 35 – 45 mins or until tender (check with a sharp knife – knife should slide in with only a little bit of resistance).

You may need to add a little more water half way through the cooking as you do not want the juices to burn. A little bit of caramelisation is fine but not charred.

Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Wash and dry parsley, picking the leaves and leaving any tough stems.

Add to a large salad bowl or platter.

Roughly cut tomatoes into chunks and sprinkle over the parsley.

Heat a non stick frying pan and dry fry slices of the Halloumi until golden brown on both sides.

Scatter beetroot and Halloumi over the top of the tomato and parsley and dress with best quality extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Serve immediately. Good on it’s own with pita bread or as a side with chicken, lamb, kebabs etc.

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The “real” Greek Spanakopita

July 13, 2010

Spanakopita

Ok I know I have already written about Spanakopita (spinach pie) but I cheated last time and used puff pastry. This is proper spinach pie with filo and no pumpkin!! The other one is good too but this is better!

My friend Rebecca is the inspiration for this little beauty, she made Adam and I a cracking spinach pie for dinner up in sunny Brisbane (or more commonly know as Bris-vegas). It was fan-bloody-tastic and definitely would give the Greeks a run for their money!!

I made it for dinner last night and it was a raging success – the parents loved it! We had left overs for lunch today and may I say with a little bit of an oven reheat it was better that the fresh pie the day before.

Ingredients (serves 6)

750 grams of spinach (you can use silverbeet just remove the white stems)
1 medium white or brown onion
1 spring onions (shallots in Oz)
1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup of fresh mint
Small bunch of beetroot leaves
1 packet of filo pastry (thawed in fridge if frozen)
120 grams of unsalted butter
200 grams of feta (ideally Greek)
100 grams of finely grated parmesan
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Olive oil

Method

Wash and remove any tough long stalks from the spinach leaves and dry in a salad spinner if you have one. If not drain well and pat dry with clean tea towels.

Slice finely and set aside.

Sauted onion and spring onion

Finely dice the onion and finely slice the spring onions and add to a large heavy based pan with approx a tablespoon or two of oil.

Fry on a low to medium heat until soft.

Add spinach, finely chopped mint and parsley and cook on a medium heat until all leaves have wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated. You may need to add the spinach in batches as it might not all fit in the pot at once.

Onions, spring onions and spinach

Once the spinach is at this stage stain the rest of the liquid out by placing in a colander over a heat proof bowl. Press as much of the moisture out as you can – this will help prevent the pastry from going soggy.

Straining spinach through colander

Leave spinach to cool.

In another bowl crumble feta and add finely grated parmesan.

Crumbled feta and finely grated parmesan

Once spinach is cooled add to the cheeses and mix through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a little finely grated fresh nutmeg.

Spinach feta and parmesan filling for spanakopita

Now it is time to make the pie. Filo pastry dries out very quickly so it is best to leave the packet unopened until the very last minute. Melt the butter in a small pot on the stove, get your pastry brush out, a ceramic, glass or metal pie tin and have the filling ready to go.

Ideally the pie dish would be approx the same size as 1/2 a sheet of filo.

Open the packet of filo and start by cutting the sheets in half.

Brush the dish with melted butter and lay one sheet at the bottom, brush with butter and lay on top. Continue to do this until you have used 1/2 of the sheets (this usually will be between 7 and 10 of the 1/2 sheets). Dollop the filling over the top and spread into an evenish layer.

Spanakopita - spinach filling added

Now layer the sheets on top making sure you brush each sheet with butter before you lay the next sheet on top. Once you have laid the last sheet brush the top with butter and cut diagonally across the top layers of pastry to create portions. Do not cut all the way through just the top part.

Cut portions sizes in diamond shapes

Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius until golden brown. If browning too quickly turn the oven down a little bit.

Leave to cool for about 30 minutes before serving to give the pie time to rest.

Spanakopita portion

Serve with a leafy green salad or a Greek salad if you wish.

It was so good I feel like making again tonight – yummy!!! Or maybe I will try and do a mushroom, ricotta and parsley one……will keep you posted.

Salsa Verdi – the best thing since sliced bread

June 3, 2010

Salsa verdi

This should definitely be on my Julie Andrews list of “favourite things”.

The easiest and most fabulously zingy sauce in the world.

Don’t be put off by the “scary” anchovies (if you are a hater of my furry little fishy friends) – I guarantee if you tasted the sauce and didn’t know it had anchovies in it you would never be able to tell. You would just say “what makes this sauce taste so amazing”. And I would chuckle and say “lots of love”.

Ingredients:

Large bunch of flat leaf parsley
2 cloves of garlic
Baby salted capers (brine will do but definitely not ones in vinegar – yuck)
Anchovies
2 large lemons
Extra virgin olive oil
Pepper

Take a table-spoon of capers and rinse to remove excess salt.

Remove thick stalks from parsley and finely chop.

Crush garlic and add to the parsley.

Add 3 anchovy fillets (or 4 smallish ones) to the parsley with the rinsed capers. Finely chop the whole lot together.

Pop in a bowl and add the juice of one of your lemons, a glug of olive oil (about 2 table spoons) and some freshly ground black pepper.

Taste sauce and add more lemon or oil if desired.

Some people add some fresh mint and also I have seen people add Dijon mustard but I don’t think you really need to. Additionally you can add more capers or anchovies, it really is a “to taste” sauce. If you have a food processor you can pop all the ingredients into it and give it a whiz however it will make a much smoother sauce. I quite like it a little chunkier and rustic.

Serve with grilled or oven baked fish, lamb, chicken or toss through boiled potatoes. Another option is to mix a spoonful through some mayonnaise and use it in sandwiches or salads or as a dip for lovely crisp potato wedges. It is without a doubt a total winner of a sauce and makes every meal something special.