Spinach and Feta triangles and Banana and Dark Chocolate parcels

February 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

According to http://thebaklavaguy.com/history.htm the Phyllo we know today also has a long and interesting history. Phyllo dough was not born in Greece, but rather in Istanbul during the Ottoman reign. But the Greeks can lay claim to creating the paper-thin version. It is well known that the Turks brought Baklava to Central Europe. A close relative to phyllo is strudel dough. Phyllo and strudel dough shares the same ingredients, wheat flour, water and fat (oil or butter). Both are rolled out, with phyllo being much thinner.

I had never worked with phyllo pastry before but I recently saw someone make spanakopita and wanted to give it a try. I battle with low iron levels and I’m trying to include more spinach in my diet and I do love a spinach and feta combination in pies, pizzas and quiches. I am not crazy enough to claim that the triangles I came up with are spanakopita but it turned out well and worked out perfectly for a light supper on a hot Sunday evening.

Spinach and Feta filling

10ml olive oil

5ml crushed garlic

2 cups spinach, spins removed and washed well

15ml flour

30ml milk

5ml Robertsons Garlic and Herb Spice

2 wheels of feta (approx 150g)

100g melted butter for assembling

Heat olive oil in a pan and quickly fry garlic. Immediately add spinach and allow to wilt (spinach shrinks down a great deal during cooking). After a few minutes of frying, you will notice a bit of water in the pan. This is where the flour comes in. Sprinkle flour over the spinach and allow flour to cook for a few minutes. Spinach leaves should no longer have any flour visible. Add milk and stir to make a sauce. Season to taste – remember, the feta will make everything very salty so be careful not to add too much. Remove from heat and add crumbled feta. Mix through to start the melting process. Set this side.

Assembling the parcels:

Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Unwrap 1 roll of pastry (the box I had had 2 rolls) and get a clean, damp dish towel. Phyllo pastry dries out very quickly so the pastry has to be kept moist while to work with one sheet. Set 1 sheet of phyllo pastry in front of you, the long side on top and the short side to the right and left. Cut this into 3 equal pieces and brush with melted butter. You will have long rectangles. Place a generous forkful of your spinach mixture in the bottom corner of the pastry and fold one corner across to form a triangle. Continue folding across alternating the direction of the fold until you have folded up all the pastry in a neat triangle package. Set this onto a greased baking sheet and repeat the process with the remaining pastry. I managed to use 2 sheets of pastry to make 6 large spinach and feta triangles. Brush tops with some melted butter, put into the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Banana and Dark Chocolate parcels

Remaining phyllo pastry sheets (about 5 sheets)

2 small bananas

100g dark chocolate, broken into blocks

50g melted butter

With the remaining sheets of phyllo pastry about 5 sheets, I tried to gently separate as many of them as possible without tearing. These were brushed with melted butter and stacked on top of one another before I cut them into 3 strips down and then into 4 equal pieces across making 12 squares. I sliced up the banana and placed about 2 fairly chunky slices into each square. I added a square of chocolate and shaped them into parcels by taking the opposite corners and making them meet in the center of each square. I gently twisted the pastry together and placed this into a muffin pan that had been generously greased with melted butter. I repeated the process with the remaining squares and set them aside under a damp towel until the triangles came out the oven. Once I removed the spinach and feta triangles from the oven, I put the parcels in (keeping the oven temperature to 190 degree) and baked them for 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Considering I only used one roll of phyllo pastry and I still have another roll left in the box waiting in the freezer, this meal was quite economical, delicious and fun to make. It is also a great contender for meatless Mondays that doesn’t take a lot of time to put together.

10 responses to Spinach and Feta triangles and Banana and Dark Chocolate parcels

  1. I have an irrational fear of phyllo pastry, I bought some the other week and it’s still in the freezer. I like the idea of the banana and choccie ones :)

    • It is a relief to hear that a pro like you has a fear ;o). The banana choc ones were yum but I want to try the combo in springrolls next time. Thanks for the comment. Is it just me or does it seem like there isn’t as much interaction (comments etc) with other bloggers like we used to have on LetterDash?

      • The interaction here leaves a lot to be desired – I never get notifications of replies to my comments, which means the ‘conversation’ ends with the reply in most cases.

        • Aargh! It drives me nuts. I forget who’s posts I comment on and often don’t go back to check for a reply. Caro? Can you help?

  2. Dont fear Phyllo. It is really so easy to use. Defrost in fridge, keep it cool and spread melted butter on every layer when using it. Hot oven is always key with pastry. Jump on in there.

    And then, try wanton wrappers…..chop up some bar-one, fold corners together and deep fry when ready- can also be frozen and shoved into hot oil when needed.
    Serve with vanilla ice cream and a shot of nachtmuzik.
    I am going to put these up on my blog real soon, so give it a go

    foodsheart

    • Thanks for the comment Tara. I’m slowly working through my food fears list and getting ever closer to the choux pastry. I’ll keep an eye out on your blog for your recipes.

  3. Being blonde, I’m much happier using phyllo than normal pastry, which always seems to turn chewy after being touched by my hot little hands!!
    Both recipes are drool-worthy! I’m a big fan of spinach & feta … and I have a packet of fresh baby spinach in the fridge at the moment! ;-)

    • Thanks Blondie. Considering how many of us fear the paper thin pastry, I’m glad to hear that someone is completely happy with it. I will definately be playing with the more flashy of the pastries in the future. Ooh, I think that bag of spinach has been destined to be turned into some pies…hope they turn out fabulously ;o)

  4. I share your fear!! I’ve had a pkt of phyllo in my feezer for so many ages it’s probably not usable anymore!!! I love the sound of those banana & choccie ones though, hhmmmm. I think you have me inspired :D

    • Hi Zabwan, thanks for the comment. I’ve mentioned in posts early on when I started blogging that I have irrational fears of certain ingredients based on who knows what. My fear of pastry was because, I think, my mother was scared that she never had “cold enough hands” to make nice pastry and I felt that I too couldn’t do it. Now I don’t think twice about whipping up a batch of shortcrust. I had a fear of yeast because of the careful temperature (not too hot, not too cold) and I thought my kitchen was too drafty. Now I make bread and buns most weekends. I think a lot of my “bravery” has come from blogging. I am surrounded by wonderful people who are not afraid to flop a recipe and not afraid to try and I am happy to report that it has rubbed off on me. So next on my list of fears to conquer is working with gelatine (for chocolate cheesecake) and then, onwards and upwards to choux pastry for profiteroles (maybe once I can make it, I will learn to spell it) ;o)

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