|Signing the register|
|Sealed with a kiss|
|The girls with great-grandmother Lily|
|Congratulations Mummy from Ava|
|Fun in the registry office garden|
Quick and easy, it's the perfect dish for throwing together in a hurry to feed six generously, or eight with average portions. There are other versions which involve eggs, but I'm not a great egg-lover so I've never bothered including them and as far as I know, no-one's ever noticed. Served with a big mixed salad it makes an excellent spring/summer lunch. Enjoy a glass of ouzo in the garden beforehand, crack open a bottle of Domestica with your meal and on a sunny day I guarantee you'll be transported straight to Greece.
|Spanakopita - Greek cheese and spinach pie|
1 packet of frozen filo pastry
2 packets of feta cheese, grated
1 kg packet of frozen spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic crushed
optional sprigs of dill
salt and pepper
Wide flat dish as in illustration
Defrost the pastry for a couple of hours beforehand. Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180C/350F, then warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil gently in a flat saucepan. Add the frozen spinach and garlic. Put the lid on the pan and continue with gentle heat until spinach is defrosted, then turn up the heat and cook quickly until most of the moisture has disappeared and the spinach is coated in a fine layer of oil.
Then comes the only mildly tricky bit. Open the filo pastry and lay flat on a tea towel on a cold surface. It's important to work fast as it dries out and becomes hard and unmalleable pretty quickly in a warm room. Don't stress though, if you do have to leave it, always cover with a tea towel.
Then using the other tablespoon of oil, brush the inside of the dish. Cover the base and the sides of the dish with the pastry, leaving some hanging over around the top edges. When you've covered it completely, brush with olive oil, then add second and third layers only on the bottom, brushing with olive oil between each layer. Then cover the base with half the feta cheese (1 packet), do three more layers of filo, each brushed with oil and not covering the sides, then add all the spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add dill if required (I don't always use dill, but in Greece it's usually included - tastes good with or without) then grate some nutmeg liberally over the whole layer. Three more layers of oiled pastry as before, then another layer of feta cheese, then three more layers of oiled pastry, letting the final layer overhand at the edges. Fold together the base and top sheets around edges and you're almost done. Sprinkle the top layer with sesame seeds, which add a delicious nutty flavour.
Place in the heated oven for 40 minutes, where it will puff itself up into a crisp, golden concoction, et voilà... enjoy!