spanakopita snail

Dear fellow food lovers,

Do you like your neighbours? It’s taken me a while, but I do like our neighbours. They’re an elderly Greek couple that keep an eye on the entire street – and bring in our bin on rubbish day (handy, huh?!). They are very excited about the opening of Mrs.S – and have offered me a lot of advice on how to run a business.

So, here’s the problem. All I really want from them is food. Greek treats and meats. PLEASE! No more advice, no more bins, no more nothing. A simple sample of your authentic dinner is all I really want. But, for some reason, you don’t give me anything.

I’ve had to take matters in to my own hands and recreate spanakopita in my own kitchen. I know that my neighbours probably have a square metre of it sitting in their fridge and I’d rather steal some of theirs, but I gave it a go myself. Always good to learn something new…I guess.

You don’t have to make a snail like I did, but I thought it was cute. Would be good for picnic fare, non?

All I did was the following: sauteed a chopped onion, a sliced leek and 3 sliced cloves of garlic in a splash of olive oil for 5 minutes. Then I added about 800g of clean, grit-free spinach leaves and stirred over heat until all wilted and lovely. I took the pan off the heat and strained the mixture for about 5 minutes (spinach gives off a lot of water). Then, I stirred in the following: 2 beaten eggs, chopped parsley and mint, 250g ricotta, 150g fetta and about 100g of goats cheese that happened to be lonely in the fridge. Stir a little more. I then added about 1tsp of grated lemon rind, a big pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper. Voila! That’s your filling.

Then…lay out a sheet of fillo on your counter. Brush with melted butter. Repeat 4 more times. Shape the cooled spinach mixture in a 2-3cm thick snake along the length of the pastry. Roll lengthways, carefully pick up and twist into a 20cm round cake tin. Repeat until you fill the tin. You could also just spread the spinach mixture into a baking dish and top with the pastry sheets.

Brush the top of the pastry with melted butter, then sprinkle with about 2tsp of crushed fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Bake in a 170C oven for about 40 minutes or until golden and delicious.

I served mine with homemade tzatziki…greek yogurt, grated cucumber, mint, dill, lemon and garlic.

I might take a slice to my neighbours and start a food friendship.

love,

fat chops xx

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