Thursday, 10 December 2015
Hi friends! I've been having a little struggle over here with my photographs. I've had a couple of posts in mind for the last couple of weeks, but because we have no natural light in the evenings at present, I'm having to take all my photographs in fake indoor light, which hugely diminishes any contrast and casts an insipid orange glow over everything. Photography is not a great interest of mine, although I have tried to make it so in the past. I even developed my own photos in the dark room at university. Goodness, I can't believe that no-one (really) does that any longer. That was on the edge of the digital photography era, when pretty much everyone still had a 35mm and took their film to a camera shop to get it developed. Oh, the excitement of opening that long, colourful envelope full of potential, following a week of excited expectation. When I think about it now, so many of those photographs were so vibrant, and the quality (when they weren't blurred) was fantastic. It was a hugely more exciting experience than downloading your photos onto a PC, or looking at them instantly on a phone.
How's that for digression?
So I need to ask your forgiveness for the abysmal quality of a lot of the photographs in this post. I think you can still get the gist, but it is certainly an area in which I need to greatly improve, and for the sake of professionalism, I do intend to. I do like to think that, one day, this blog will evolve and become something more and I want a strong foundation from which to build...something.
I had wanted to share with you for this post a really great magazine I bought quite a few weeks ago now, called Superfood Christmas, which is full of Christmassy recipes and also plenty of everyday recipes. But I have the aforementioned problem with the photos and I'm not happy with them. So I will share that on my Facebook page and share a recipe here instead. I love this recipe and I've made it so many times over the years. It's actually a combination of a couple of no-longer-available-online recipes, given a more exciting twist (basically, I just added a few more ingredients). It's simple, but really tasty, and good enough to serve to friends or to have as a family meal. It's great with piles of salad, though I must confess, I haven't come across the perfect dressing to go with the Mediterranean flavours ensconced within the pie, so if you have any Med-style salad dressing reccommendations, reccommend away!
2 cloves of garlic
100g spinach (or half a regular bag)
2 small chicken breasts
Jar of sundried tomatoes
Small tin of sweetcorn (one of a three-pack)
Half a block of feta
4 large sheets filo pastry
About 1 tbsp butter
Equipment: a 20cm sandwich tin
Pre-heat the oven to fan 180C.
Put the chicken in an oven dish, throw on a lug of olive oil and seasoning, then bake for 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pan with a little oil. Chop the onion and peel the garlic, then add the onion to the pan, crush the garlic and add it, then allow to soften for about 10 minutes.
While the onion and garlic is cooking, prepare the sundried tomatoes. Chop them into smallish pieces, then add them to a large bowl along with the drained tinned sweetcorn. Don't discard the SDT jar.
Once the onion has softened nicely, add the spinach to the pan and allow to wilt, then add the onion mixture to the bowl.
By this time the chicken should be ready, so remove it from the oven and shred it (how did you guess?) then add it to the bowl, followed by crumbling the half-block of feta over the top. Do not turn the oven off.
Mix everything together well.
Finally, crack in the egg, generously grind over some salt and pepper, then give it all a last mix.
Now you need to prepare the sandwich tin. Using a pastry brush, spread a coating of oil from the jar of sundried tomatoes over the inside.
Take a sheet of filo and centre it over the tin, then gently push it into the corners, being careful not to rip it. This doesn't have to be precise, it is really to make the capacity of the pie greater and to stop the filo from ripping from the weight of the ingredients when added. Add a coat of oil to the filo sheet.
Keep adding filo sheets, at angles to one another and with a thin coat of oil, until you're used four sheets.
Put the mixture from the bowl into the pastry case.
Fold each corner onto the filling, one by one and in order, until the filling is covered and all the filo has been used.
Add a final brush of oil to the top, then bake in the still hot oven for 25 minutes until golden.
The best way to serve this pie is to remove it from the tin onto a chopping board. The next two photos are particularly awful, they're purely for demonstrative purposes!
Serve with piles of salad, or, for small prople who may find it harder to eat leaves, a few cubes of beetroot (at least, that's how big Tonju likes it). The pie really has plenty of nutritional value for you not to worry about serving it with extra veg though.
Again, I apologise for the tiny number of finished meal photos. I'm not even happy with these, but I needed to show you something! It may not look it, but this is a really tasty meal, and my boys really enjoy it too. It has a lot of flavour and some interesting textures, and the filo holds it all together beautifully. You could easily substitute ingredients, or just leave some out if you wanted. I would imagine olives would be a nice substitute for something. If you have a go and make some changes, I'd love to hear what you've tried and what has worked for you; which ingredients you would reccommend having a go with. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I (always) do.
Thanks, as always, for reading; your precious time is greatly appreciated.