… many many years ago my good friend Andreas and I set sail for the Greek islands… it was one of those magical holidays filled with adventure, laughter, sunshine and alcohol. We flew to Athens and then picked up a random boat to one of a myriad of glorious islands where we would be greeted at the port by a blessed old ya-ya who’d show us to her home where we bargained the price of a bed for the night and then went exploring. A couple of days later we would shuffle back to the local port, find a boat going somewhere and jump aboard… It was joyous holiday and I have very fond, if a little addled by time, memories. What I do clearly remember was the food, particularly the spanakopita that we would purchase from the street vendors for next to nothing and munch upon to satiate our post alcohol (and no doubt weed-induced) hunger. They were the ideal munchies food. Golden, crispy filo pastry encasing gloriously molten feta cheese and densely packed spinach… my mouth is salivating at the thought now and I wish I could not just go back to those greek islands but go back in time to my younger self and say hello… but that would just be odd, so let’s make food instead…
flower sprout and brie mini filo pies
there’s a new vegetable on the block and it goes by the name of the flower sprout… it looks like the most adorable baby cabbage and has the most wonderful sweet and nutty taste that’s something like a cross between cabbage, kale and Brussel sprouts. It’s funny to think that there can possibly be a new vegetable but this is what we’re told. It’s so new and hip that it even has its own website where you can find out all about how it was developed. I’m all in favour of any new food item that encourages us to eat more green stuff and the fact that it’s grown in my home county of Lincolnshire makes it all the more appealing… I’ve currently only seen it for sale at Aldi and Waitrose but i’m sure it will become more readily available as it becomes more popular… i’ve used it here as a sort of spinach substitute in these mega-easy spanakopita style treats. Their invention came about simply from needing to use up the filo pastry purchased with the intention of use over Christmas but never got round to and some brie that was beginning to threaten the life of the rest of the occupants of the fridge with it’s pungent odour… they’ve worked out really well and were surprisingly tasty for their simplicity.
1 x 160g packet of flower sprouts – steamed and roughly chopped
1 wedge of stinky brie – cut into small chunks
salt and pepper
olive oil and butter
roughly 10 sheets ready-rolled filo sheets
you will need a muffin tin or cupcake tin – I have a 6 hole deep yorkshire pudding tin which I have liberally greased with olive oil and a little melted butter
lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper onto your work surface… the paper needs to be bigger that your sheets of filo pastry
melt roughly 5 tablespoons olive oil and 150g butter in a large bowl
lay one sheet of filo onto your greaseproof paper and brush liberally all over with the melted oil and butter, then lay another sheet on top and repeat, then do this again
now cut the sheet into squares – depending on your original sheet size you should get at least 4 squares, if not 6. Each square should be large than the hole in your muffin tin
carefully press the layered squares into the muffin tins, if you make any holes you can ways fill with a little extra pastry and a brush of oil and butter – the pastry is very forgiving when moist.
place a few pieces of brie into each pie and season well, then go back to your pastry sheets and create 3 more buttered and oiled layers – again cutting into squares
layer the new squares on top the the brie, then add some chopped flower sprout and season well
finish with a final 3 layers of pastry and season well
bake at 160C for 15 mins or until the pastry starts to turn golden brown
eat and of course, enjoy!