Chard, Lemon and cheese pie
- 300 gm ricotta
- 500 gm chard, remove stalks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ leek, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 finely chopped cloves garlic
- 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 slices preserved lemon, pith and flesh removed and finely sliced
- pinch of cumin seeds
- pinch of fennel seeds
- 100 gm bunch of parsley, chervil or any fresh green herb of your choice, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 eggs
- 300 gm feta
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 270 gm pack filo pastry
- rapeseed oil, for brushing
Pre-heat the oven 190C/170C fan/Gas 5
Drain the ricotta in a sieve for a few mins to remove the whey. Thoroughly wash the chard, and in a clean tea towel, dry the chard, then finely slice.
Heat the olive oil in a wok over a medium heat, add the leek, onion, garlic, chilli, preserved lemon, cumin and fennel seeds with a big pinch of salt and cook until the leek and onion are softened and fragrant – about 10 mins.
Add the chard, herbs and a good squeeze of lemon juice and season, cook for a few mins until the leaves are wilted but not mushy. Allow to cool, and then squeeze the chard in a sieve to remove any excess moisture.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl until a little frothy and mix in the ricotta and feta. Stir in the greens mixture until well combined and grate over some nutmeg.
Remove the filo from the pack. Brush the inside of a 20 x 9cm deep cake tin with a little rapeseed oil, and lay a sheet of filo in it, smoothing over the base and up the sides with your fingers – it should cover the bottom and reach up to the sides, overhanging the edge.
Brush with more oil to cover the pastry and repeat, laying another sheet to make sure the base is completely covered. Gradually build up the layers, brushing with plenty of oil between sheets, adjusting the positioning of the sheets to get even coverage until the tin is fully lined.
Fill the tin with the cheese and greens mixture and cover with the filo, brushing with oil between layers and on the top. Add herbs between the layers for a pretty touch. Crumple the filo in the middle of the pie for an extra crispy ruffled texture and scatter with a few more fennel seeds.
Bake for 50 mins until golden and the filling is set. Allow to settle for at least 20 mins before removing from the tin.
Cool completely and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
I personally like this pie warm with some steamed vegetables and roasted tomatoes on the vine…although it is also very nice served chilled…
Mince pie Baklava
- 1 x 411 gm jar mincemeat
- 100 gm pistachios, chopped
- 100 gm ground almonds
- 1 orange, zested
- 150 gm butter
- 2 x 270 gm packs of filo pastry
For the syrup
- 150 gm granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp Grand Marnier or brandy
Heat the oven to 160 C/140 C fan/Gas 3
Mix the mincemeat with the pistachios, almonds, orange zest and a good pinch of salt, then set to one side.
Melt the butter, then use a little to brush the bottom and sides of a 20 x 30 baking tin. Cut the sheets of filo so they are the same size as the tin, then cover them with a damp tea towel to stop them from drying out.
Press one sheet of filo pastry into the tin and brush with the melted butter. Continue to layer the pastry in this way until you have used up one pack of pastry (around 10 sheets). Evenly spread the mincemeat mixture over. Top with the remaining pastry, continuing to brush the layers with melted butter as you go. Brush the final layer generously with melted butter. Using a very sharp knife, cut deep, diagonal lines all the way through the pastry to form a diamond pattern. Bake in the oven for 1 hr until golden.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the sugar and 75 ml water into a saucepan, and cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer until the syrup is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the Grand Marnier or brandy. Once the baklava has baked, remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Pour the syrup over the baklava, then return it to the oven for 5 mins or until the syrup has been absorbed. Leave to cool completely in the tin, then slice into pieces along the diagonal lines. Will keep for up to one week in an airtight container.
I hope you love these meat free dishes as much as I do and the Baklava makes a nice change from traditional mince pies.