Jill is one of my closest Aussie friends and she is the most incredible vegetarian cook I have had the good fortune to know. Years ago, when we all lived in Ireland, we would often head down to her husband Frank’s cottage in the country for the weekend. It was a gorgeous little cottage set on a few acres of land that had a big lake slap-bang in the middle. After various (hilarious) attempts at kayaking in the f-f-f-freezing winter temperatures, we’d head back to the cottage, light a fire, crack open the red and settle in for a great night filled with lots of good conversation, music and most importantly, Jill’s superb food. This is one of the dishes she used to cook for us. I am continually appreciative to Jill for showing me you can eat wonderfully and feel at no loss if you decided to live a meat-free lifestyle.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 6 spring onions (scallions), trimmed and sliced
- 1 bunch spinach washed and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup (50g) pine nuts
- 1 cup (200g) crumbled feta
- 1 cup (200g) fresh ricotta
- 1/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1.5 cups (105g) fresh breadcrumbs
- 375g filo pastry
- 150g butter, melted
- 1 free-range egg yolk mixed with a little milk
- Handful poppy seeds
- Good quality tzatziki or tomato relish
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan-forced.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic and spring onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the spinach, then cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Drain and set aside to cool, then squeeze out any excess liquid.
- Place the pine nuts in a dry frying-pan and toast over low-medium heat for 5 minutes or until lightly golden ~ don’t take your eyes off them as they can burn very quickly.
- Combine the cheeses, nutmeg and egg in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the spinach, parsley, pine nuts and breadcrumbs.
- Place one sheet of filo pastry on a clean worktop and brush with a little melted butter. Place another sheet on top and brush with butter to give you a stack of three sheets.
- Spoon a few tablespoons of the filling evenly along the long edge of pastry closest to you, leaving a 4-5 cm gap at each end. Roll up the pastry and filling to from a sausage shape, tucking the sides in as you go. Brush the sausage liberally with the egg wash. Repeat with the remaining filling and psatry.
- Place one filo sausage in the middle of a greased round baking tray and form it gently into a spiral. Take the next filo sausage and join it end-to-end with the first, coiling it around. Continue with the remaining pieces to form a large spiral brushing with egg wash as you go to seal it all together. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, then bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown all over.
- Serve with tzatziki or tomato relish.