How to cook spinach?

spinach

Of course, there are many ways but this is one of my favourites! I like cooking lovely purslane in a similar way to this as well. We need to wait for it to come into season I’m afraid:)

  1. Wash the spinach, leave in a bowl full of water and a bit of apple vinegar as it cleans the bacteria.
  2. If you’re using brown rice, boil it in a pan with water for 10 minutes to soften it a bit.  If you’re using white rice, skip this step.
  3. Peel and chop up a big onion.
  4. Peel and chop 2 or 3 tomatoes (or do it the easy way – buy some chopped tomatoes).
  5. Heat some olive oil in a pan for a bit, then add the onions.
  6. When they turn a bit yellowish, add the tomatoes.
  7. Then add the spinach and stir well. Don’t be scared to use the whole pack! It will look like too much, but it will reduce a lot.
  8. Then add a half a mug of rice to this mixture. (I like it with a lot of rice, but it depends on your choice).
  9. Then add 1 or 2 mugs of warm water depending on how thick the mixture is. Stir them altogether, the water level shouldn’t be too high above the spinach – just slightly over…
  10. Cook it for 10 more minutes then serve with a drizzle of lemon juice and a bit of yoghurt on the side.

Pirohu – Piruhi or MANTI ?

pirohu, piruhi

This is a delicious Cypriot dish, but the way people call it differs as far as I know, It is Pirohi in Cyprus, Piruhi in Turkey, if anyone knows another name please let me know! The reason I added the word MANTI is simply because it is a Turkish dish which is cooked similarly but with minced meat and onions as stuffing. Since it is meat, it is heavier but it has a lot of fans!

Now, here are the ingredients you will need:
Serves 4

For preparing the dough:
500g of flour
salt
water

For the filling:
fresh chopped mint
200g anari “nor” cheese – can be found in Turkish, Greek or Middle Eastern shops
1 medium size egg

or alternatively
1 medium size egg
500 gr chopped spinach

(Whichever filling you use, simply mix egg and the ingredients in a bowl, keep it nearby with a spoon)

When serving
Halloumi – hellim cheese (can be found almost everywhere even in Sainsbury’s or Tesco)
Plain yoghurt
Crushed garlic cloves (two or three depending on how much you love garlic: )
Red pepper flakes or hot pepper sauce like tabasco
Olive oil

How will I cook it?
First of all, do not get frightened by too many ingredients, it is quite fun to do if you have something to listen to or watch or have someone at home chatting, I used to help my mum when I was little. Also, since it is made of dough it, takes time to digest so it was usually a Sunday lunch for us! But It’s worth it!

How to make dough?
Not as hard as it seems. Simply put half of your flour in a big bowl and slowly
pour some water in it, whilst mixing it by hand. Place some flour to the sides of your now-a-bit-sticky dough, then gently draw in flour from the sides. Let the dough have a shape whilst kneading and get harder, now you need to have a bit of sense of what dough is, but do not forget: Pirohu dough does not have to be “soft like your earlobe” as said, it has to be hard! It will be sort of a filo pastry in the end once you open it with a rolling pin.

how to open a dough

When it is opened, take some flour in your hands and spread over and under your filo pastry, it might get sticky otherwise. Best place to put your filo pastry is a flat surface, like a table.

Then, start slicing your filo pastry as shown here:

filo pastry slices

Then slice horizontally as well so you will have many cube shaped pastries!

Now place each cube a little bit of the filling you prepared earlier as shown on the left. After that, you can close them nicely but make sure they are well sealed.

topped with cheese

(There is another way of making these actually quicker but it needs a bit experience, once you open the filo pastry keep half of the pastry over your rolling pin, place pieces of cheese next to each other, cover them with the filo pastry over the rolling pin, seal them nicely then cut them into pieces with a knife)

Ok, if you are still not bored and willing to cook Pirohu, you achieved a lot until now, so congratulations! Now, with the baby filo pastries, simply make triangles, and do not forget to seal the corners well!

Place all of them into a flat tray and put some flour so they won’t stick to each other. If you are not eating all of it , simply put half of it for instance (like I did) into a box and freeze, impress your guests after a hard days work 🙂

Now we are at the easy part, simply boil water in a pan, add your pirohu pieces and cook them about 10 – 15 minutes until soft. Whilst cooking, fry some red pepper flakes and if you like dried mint in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Then, add the crushed garlic into some yoghurt (for 4 people I would use 5- 6 spoonful of yoghurt and water it a bit)

Once all is ready, serve your pirohu in yoghurt and red pepper sauces topped with halloumi cheese!

De- li-ci-ous! Believe me: )

Spinach and Feta Borek – Filo Pastries

Yummy! I have never ever rejected anyone offering borek. If you want to find out why, try this recipe. It is perfect for picnics as it is edible hot or cold, any time of the day.

You can call anything cooked with filo pastries “borek” actually, but this dish is cooked happily in the Balkans as burek, in Greece as spanakopita (with spinach and feta), in Israel as burekas (with cheese).

You can fill your borek with anything you want, but usually cheese and spinach is used.  Flat parsley or minced meat are also good options.

Let’s begin:

  • 500g filo pastry
  • 1 glass of milk
  • 5 spoonfuls of olive oil or butter
  • 3 eggs
  • some sunflower seeds or black seeds
  • 250g feta cheese
  • 1 pack of fresh spinach leaves (alternatively a big bunch of parsley)

1. Spread some butter onto your cooking tray, this will stop your borek from sticking the tray.
2. Filo pastry is usually sold in a round shape so leave one sheet aside and cut the rest to fit to your tray.
3. Mix your butter or olive oil, milk, and eggs all together in a bowl.  Stir well.
4. Put the sheet of filo pastry in your tray, leave the corners out, you will close them at the top once you finish layering.
5. Spread the oil-milk-egg mixture with a brush over each sheet, and put each sheet on top of the other.  Use half of the sheets.
6. Soften the spinach in a pan quickly, cool it down and mix with crumbled feta cheese. (if you use parsely, you do not need to cook it.)
7. Pour this mixture onto your filo pastry layers in the tray.
8. Then, carry on putting the filo pastries one by one over this mixture and each time do not forget to spread some butter-milk-egg mixture onto the sheets otherwise they will become dry.
9. When there is no filo pastry left, cover the corners of the first big sheet onto your borek and spread the rest of the butter-milk-egg mixture on top.

10. Sprinkle some seeds over it.

11. Cook it for about 20 minutes in the middle of a pre-heated oven at 200C, until the top and the bottom gets brownish. It is delicious eaten with a spoonful of yoghurt.

Bon appetit!