Most people will have what they call a signature dish – something they are really good at, and cook a lot. As far as I know, it is compulsory for all men for this to be spaghetti bolognese. I have two signature dishes. (Greedy). One is called ‘crap from the freezer’ and the other is ‘pasta with things I found in the fridge’.
Understandably, my family get a little tired of pasta with a scattering of cherry tomatoes and past their best peppers in a soft cheese sauce, so for Christmas Bee bought me Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals. Because of the time limit, we noticed from watching the television series that Jamie does a lot of ‘wazzing things up’, so to go with my new cookbook I also have a James Martin Wahl food processor.
This week then, I used the two in combination for the very first time and made ‘Chick pea, feta and spinach parcels with Greek salad’. Here’s what you need, including all the things I left out:
1 tin of chickpeas
100g of feta cheese
100g baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
4 large sheets of filo pastry
1 cucumber (I forgot we’d used some of it for sandwiches so we had half a cucumber.)
1 small red onion
1/2 bunch mixed of fresh coriander and mint (I left these out as Bee doesn’t like coriander and Boyfriend disagrees with mint in savoury dishes.)
20g blanched almonds (I left these out because Bee has an issue with the way I eat almonds. And because I forgot to buy any.)
Handful of black olives (You don’t actually have to put them in your hand.)
650g mixed ripe tomatoes
1 romaine lettuce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
To serve (I forgot this section entirely. Oopps).
Fat-free natural yoghurt
Method (remember you have 15 minutes…)
Drain the chickpeas and add them to the food processor along with the feta, spinach, lemon zest and paprika and blitz until combined. Now in the show, Jamie has everything set up beforehand by minions, so it’s easy to see how he can be so quick. I though had to spend a good ten minutes working out which blade was which in the processor.
Fold a large sheet of filo pastry in half and blob a quarter of the mixture into the middle. Push your thumb into the centre to make space for the filling to expand as it cooks and then bring up the sides into a loose parcel. Make four of these. Fry the bottoms in olive oil for a couple of minutes to crisp them up and then put in the oven at 220 until they are crisp and golden.
Next comes the salad. I was a bit bored of the whole thing by this point, so my method varied a little from the recipe…
Swap to the thick slicer in the processor. (Another five minutes wasted here as I try to figure out how). Scratch a fork down the length of the cucumber all the way round (why??) and then run through the processor. Swap to the fine slicer and run through the red onion. Tip into a bowl, season with salt, squeeze over the juice of your zested lemon and scrunch to mix. Finely chop and scatter in your herbs. (Not me)
Put the almonds and olives into a frying pan with the olive oil over a medium heat. (I didn’t do this bit). Thickly slice the tomatoes and arrange nicely on a large platter, slice the lettuce and add to the platter, sprinkle over the onions and cucumber, drizzle with olive oil and spoon over the contents from the frying pan.
Now unfortunately I don’t have some kind of massive Jamie Oliver style wooden platter that my whole family can gather round in a wholesome way, so I just chucked everything in a bowl.
Spend at least another 15 minutes cautiously washing up the food processor.
I’m a big spinach fan and tend to make spinach and chickpea burgers for my 3 year old so this would make a nice change to that. Yum
Just been discussing with my wife, while her signature dish would be Carbonara, apparently I am too eclectic to have one signature dish… The closest I think I come to a signature dish would be marinaded and grilled tuna steak on rocket with a homemade mango and avocado salsa and new potatoes. I would only call this my signature dish as it is my favourite to eat!
These sound good, I just wish I could find gluten free ready made filo pastry! Also, how can it be Greek salad with no feta cheese?
Did it really only take 15 mins (apart from the washing up?). I borrowed a Jamie Oliver “quick” cookbook from the library and didn’t even bother trying anything because it all looked too complicated. Spaghetti bolognaise sounds pretty impressive, my husband’s signature dish is the fish and chip shop.
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