It was Graham Hill who coined the phrase “weekday vegetarian” in his brief but engaging TED talk. His message delivers the increasingly frequent adage that being vegetarian is better for the environment, and for animals…so if you like meat and won’t give it up, why not just eat less meat. Good point, G.
So I’m certainly conscious of the volume of meat I eat, and it has led to some interesting culinary creations. Not least, the filo roll. Each time I try it more veggies go in, but here is the solid staple recipe that will fill you up as a warm hearty meal, or serve chilled for a light lunch.
250g silverbeet or spinach
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup ricotta
¾ cup feta, crumbled
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped coriander
½ tsp ground nutmeg
finely grated zest of ½ lemon
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
½ tsp salt
ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 sheets filo pastry
melted butter or oil spray
Prep time 15mins, cooking time 40mins. Oven on at 180C.
Roast your seeds in the oven whilst it heats up, until golden and set aside.
Melt the butter in a wide saucepan, fry off the onion until golden and then add the silverbeet/spinach. This should wilt down until the moisture is cooked out of it (5 minutes), preventing the pastry from becoming too soggy later. If you are feeling adventurous, add in some chilli, or any variety of vegetables (I like roast peppers in there). Once cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the 3 cheeses, coriander, nutmeg, lemon zest, seeds and seasoning. The cheeses should melt down into a good gloopy mix.
Now for working fast with the filo. It dries quickly in air! Melt a little more butter in a pan to brush on the pastry layers. Now lay out your first sheet on a counter top, brush with butter, add the next, brush again, and do this until you have 8 layers. Once done, add your mix onto the middle of the pastry into a long sausage and wrap it up into an cylinder, folding in the sides. Transfer this onto baking paper and brush the beaten egg over top to give it a golden crisp when cooked. Then just pop it in the oven for 40 minutes.