18 August 2011

Spinach + Goat cheese = Heaven

Look at this. Are you mouth-watering? Lets start from the beginning of the story...

It's saturday, nothing particular stands in your agenda for the day, so you indulge yourself with some laziness and stay in bed until all sleepiness has gone away and your skin looks fresh and recovered from the week.* You stretch all your muscles and pop your bones. You're ready.

Sometimes, you just feel so good that you wanna jump out of bed and make pancakes or bake a cake... Other times you get surprised by the sun light slowly invading the room, as a tray full with fruit and warm toasts gently slides next to you. And then there are those days. In those days you are literally kicking each other out of the bed, till you decide to toss who'll be cooking breakfast.

That's basically where we were. By that time, it was more lunch time than actually breakfast, but none of us cared. Without an agreement, we both dragged ourselves out and just swallowed a few toasts with jam.

Even though there's not much of excitement going on, not fun stuff to do, these are pretty much perfect days for me. Our world just stops for a moment without rush. What do you do in days like this?

One thing I like to do is go grocery shopping. (You're probably imagining hundreds of better thing to do, yeah...) It would be perfect if we had a really cool street market, which we don't. But, anyway, it's just nice to go calmly pick what we need, smell the fruit and touch the veggies and talk with each other along way. And nothing like lets-hurry-the-supermarket-is-closing.

Back home, way passed lunch time and those jam toasts long gone, there's a tick-tack in our stomachs. Need to prep something to eat. Quick.

Luckily I predicted that at the market, so I was prepared. In my mind I had a yummy looking pie I've seem Jamie Oliver cook in his 30-minutes meal show. It was supposed to be easy peasy, thats what the show is all about anyway, so I gave it a try. And well, it was everything I had in mind. Easy, quick and delicious.

I made some adjustments to work with what I had in hand and what I've bought. More important ones: I used puff pastry instead of filo because I wanted to go the easy(est) way this time; I also replaced the feta cheese for some portuguese goat cheese, I could have bought the feta, but I love goat cheese... and I felt like using something national, plus the cheese I chose has a consistency and saltiness very similar to feta, so I had a feeling it would work; lastly, I replaced the pinenuts for walnuts, just because thats what I had in hand.

No more talk, here's the recipe. Be aware, it looks harder then it is indeed. Just follow the steps. If you feel the need, watch the video, it helps. There's a link at the end of the post. Enjoy!

Spinach and Goat cheese puff Pie

100g walnuts
3 eggs
300g goat cheese
50g grated cheddar cheese
Dried oregano
400g spinach
1 pack of puff pastry ready for pie 

(I used a 230g pack, circle shape aproxm. 45 cm diameter, 
but it would work with a square shape beautifully, don't worry) 
Cayenne pepper
grated nutmeg
Olive oil
rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven on 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Toast the walnuts in small chunks in a dry pan (oven proof if you have one) over high eat. In a bowl crack the eggs, had both cheeses  and season with pepper, dried oregano, and a lug of olive oil (I added no salt at this point, it was salty enough). Add the walnuts and mix well but don't mind a few chunks of the goat cheese.

Put the frying pan back on the heat with a table spoon of olive oil and a knob of butter and add the spinach. If you can't do this all at once, let them wither on the heat and then add the rest. Season lightly with salt and keep stirring (at this point you can add lemon zest, I forgot it but didn't miss it). They'll be done in few minutes.

Meanwhile, take a large sheet of greaseproof paper, approximately 50cm long, scrunch it up and wet it under running water so that it slightly softened. Lay it out flat again on your worktop, rub a little olive over it and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Lay your pastry over the seasoned paper.

Take the pan off the heat, add the spinach to the cheese mixture and some grated nutmeg (best if grated at the moment). Make sure you let the pan cool a bit. Carefully move the paper with the pastry into the empty frying pan so the edges spill over. Push it down into the sides of the pan, then pour in the mixture and spread it out. Fold the pastry roughly inside, never mind being too perfect, let it do it thing, it will work out beautiful in the end, and sprinkle the rosemary leaves as you please. Put the pan back on a medium heat for a couple of minutes to get the bottom cooking. Take to the oven if it's oven proof or just transfer the paper with the pie to the oven tray. It needs to stay in the top shelf to cook for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. And you're done!

Let me tell you, in my world spinach+goat cheese=heaven!

Edited to add: I've done this twice so far and I tried it with and without the lemon zest. I must say I like it better it minus the zest. Also, jamie's version uses more eggs, so I tried that way the second time too, again I must confess I prefer it more gooey and cheesy, than perfectly set but more eggy. Trust your instincts and do what works best for you!

all photos by me 
You can find the original recipe here and watch it here

  *This doesn't happen all that often? Well... at last, for me it doesn't. I better enjoy it when I can.  


  1. Ohh this looks sooo delicious, I want to eat some now. And yeah, we have lazy days where we eat toast with jam for lunch or even dinner (oops). Today was one kindof, we had chinese noodles (the just add water kind), and a banana vanilla milkshake for dessert.
    For some reason we also end up going for groceries on Sunday and rushing to make sure it will still be open. But I also enjoy it like you describe so well. I loved this sentence: " And nothing like lets-hurry-the-supermarket-is-closing."
    As a child I would beg my mom to take me to the supermarket but she wold only take oe of us at a time.

  2. So fun that your mum did that! :)
    We also do a thing we call "soup and couch" at sunday night (sounds better in portuguese "sopa e sofá", like a tongue twister we made up).
    And yay, those fast noodles... talking about sweet laziness!

  3. I love the days when there is no place you need to be, nothing that has to get done. They're rare in our house, but when we do get to have one, we usually stay in our jammies all day, cuddle up on the couch and spend the day watching movies. :)

    That pie looks delicious!!


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