I love Spring, it is my second favourite season (Autumn is my fav). I particularly like to eat lamb in Spring, it is often cheaper and I love a good lamb chop on the BBQ. However lamb can be very expensive and what use to be the go to Australian meal, most people only have as a roast on special occasions. I am going to do a few recipes over September with lamb, that you can make on a budget and feed a crew. Just to let you know, most of the lamb you buy in Supermarkets isn’t lamb, it is Hogget or even sometimes Mutton. You probably don’t really notice the difference, but I just thought you should know! 🙂
My introduction to Spanakopita was from George on Masterchef, I think is the first season… I tried making it and didn’t really like it. The thing for me is that I thought there wasn’t enough pastry to filling ratio and the cheese was way too salty.
A couple of years later I am in Sydney living with a family for a year and cooking a couple of nights a week. They loved my spinach and cheese triangles but I was still trying to come up with different ideas for dinner each week (the constant dilemma).
I saw this cookbook on mince (mince is great on a budget) and it had a spanakopita recipe in it… I made it for the family and they all said that there wasn’t enough pastry. That is when the brilliant idea came up for making them individual so you get more pastry for you buck!
This recipe makes 20 filo triangles, and because pastry doesn’t freeze very well I often just cook them and have them cold in the fridge for lunches that week. So this is a very cheap meal to feed a large family.
If you don’t want to use the lamb mince, just use ricotta instead of lamb mince and you have delicious spinach and cheese triangle instead. So this is my version of a classic greek dish that has morphed over time to include Haloumi and nutmeg. It is really important to wash or soak your Haloumi and Feta as they can we way too salty and while lamb can take a little extra salt, many time I have made this and it has been WAY too salty. I hope you enjoy!
(make sure you rinse supermarket bought Haloumi and feta as it tends to be extra salty)
180g Tasty Cheese
500g Lamb Mince
1 bunch of fresh parsley leaves only
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Freshly Grated Nutmeg or 1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Nigella or sesame seeds for the top (optional)
1. Grate tasty cheese and Haloumi into a large bowl.
2. Melt butter in a large frying pan and then set aside 80% of the butter into another bowl, as you will need this to brush down the triangles before they go into the oven.
3. In the same frying pan, with remaining butter, saute finely chopped onion and garlic until transparent. Add the roughly chopped stems of the spinach and sauté until tender.
4. Add in the rest of the roughly chopped spinach leaves and cook until wilted.
5. Put into a food processor and blitz until a smooth puree. (if you don’t want to do this stage, just make sure your stems and spinach are finely chopped) Add mixture into the bowl with the grated cheeses. (This is where you add 500g of fresh ricotta if you don’t want lamb mince in your triangles).
6. Return pan to heat and sauté lamb mince until almost cooked. You just want to take as much excess water and fat out of it that you can. Add to the spinach and cheese mixture and mix well.
7. Add in the roughly chopped parsley and nutmeg.
8. Make up triangles (see directions below) and brush with reserved melted butter. Sprinkle seeds if desired and place on baking tray covered in baking paper.
9. Cook at 180 degrees Celsius for approximately 30 – 40 mins
10. Serve with some greek yogurt, a squeeze of lemon or lime and a nice fresh salad.
1. Place large chunks of the Haloumi and Tasty cheeses into the mixing bowl and grate 20 seconds/speed 5. Set aside into a large bowl and break feta cheese onto of the other cheeses and mix in. (Please remember to rinse feta and haloumi as they can be extremely salty.
2. Fill Thermomix mixing bowl with 500g of water and place Varoma on top. Chop all the stalks of the spinach leaves and place them in the bottom of the Varoma, with the leaves on the top. It will be over flowed, but don’t worry as it will steam down very quickly.
3. Wet a piece of backing paper and place it int he lamb mince in the top of the Varoma. Cook 20 minutes/Varoma/speed 2.
4. Remove Varoma and put aside allowing the spinach to drain of any excess liquid (mince won’t be completely cooked, but that is ok as it will be going in to the oven to finish the cooking process). Empty out mixing bowl of water and place in butter. Melt 2 minutes/Varoma/speed 2. Set aside 80% of the butter into another bowl as you will need this to brush down the triangle before they go into the oven.
5. Add peeled halved onion and garlic to remainder of melted butter in the mixing bowl and chop, 10 seconds/speed 5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and repeat. Sauté 2 minutes/Varoma/speed 2.
6. Add steamed drained spinach and parsley to mixing bowl and puree 10 seconds/speed 7. Scrape down the bowl and repeat.
7. Add roughly broken up, partially cooked mince and mix 15 seconds/speed 5.
8. Pour out mixture onto set aside grated cheeses. adding fresh nutmeg and mix.
9. Make up triangles (see directions below) and brush with reserved melted butter. Sprinkle seeds if desired and place on baking tray covered in baking paper.
10. Cook at 180 degrees Celsius for approximately 30 – 40 mins
11. Serve with some greek yogurt, a squeeze of lemon or lime and a nice fresh salad.
Making the mixture is very easy, the triangles are a bit fiddle but worth it. If you have kids, get them involve in the making process, you may not have the best looking triangles, but at least they will give them a try because they made them!
Below is how to fold the triangle… I’m sure there are other ways, but this is how I do it! 🙂
I love to hear what you think… so say hi and leave a comment!
How to fold a triangle parcel.
1. Butter half the fill sheet.
2. Fold in half.
3 Place 1/4 cup of mixture in the bottom left hand corner.
4 Fold to form your first triangle.
5. Fold again toward the right hand edge.
6. Butter the top and remaining unfilled fill triangle sections.
7. Fold over top flap.
8. Fold over bottom flap.
Not perfect, but that is how I do it. Sometimes, they still seems to leak out… Ah well, they are always tasty and crisp. If you want to heat them up again, don’t put them in the microwave as they will be soggy, just pop them back on a tray in shot oven for 5 – 10 minutes and they will be age good as new!