100 Days Project, Baking, Mains, pastry, Recipes

Day 40 – Puff Pastry Pockets

Day40

The right music always adds to the cooking experience . . .

I received in the mail today the new  Fleur Jack CD, who is a Kiwi singer/song writer and friend currently living in The States.  I stuck the CD in my computer, put it on repeat, and danced my way (wine glass in hand) through this recipe for Puff Pastry Pockets, originally from the Baking Makes Things Better blog.

This was the perfect simple recipe for the end of a work day, that used up many of the ingredients I had around the house. The recipe called for filling the puff pastry with feta, pesto, and sundried tomato, but I added spinach and spring onion/green onion into the mix. There are countless other variation you could do on this as well, to help clean out your refrigerator. I can imagine roast pumpkin, potato, kumara, red peppers, capers, carrot, mushrooms, onion, lentils or other beans, chickpeas, and other kinds of cheese all being great alternatives to the filling I chose.

Puff pastry is not something I have ever tried making myself, although it is on the bucket list. Making puff pastry from scratch is a time consuming delicate process that can very easily go wrong, and it is an ingredient readily available in the freezer section of most super markets. As a vegetarian you have to be careful though, as most pre-made versions use lard or other animal fats. In New Zealand, New Way brand puff pastry is the only one that is vegetarian friendly, and even has the New Zealand Vegetarian Society stamp of approval.

Puff Pastry Pockets

adapted from: Baking Makes Things Better

MAKES: 4 pockets

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 square sheets of pre-made puff pastry
  • 200g or 7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 4 large sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 packed cup of baby spinach
  • 1 green onion/spring onion
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Black pepper for seasoning

Preheat the oven to 200 C of 400 F, use the fan bake setting if you have one.

Brush a baking sheet with olive oil.

Cut each of the pastry squares in half.

In a medium bowl mix together the feta, pesto, sun-dried tomato, spinach, green onion, plus a sprinkling of black pepper.

Divide the feta mixture between the four pieces of pastry, and hen fold over the pastry to encase the filling. Press down on the edges with a fork to seal the
filing in. They should look like giant ravioli.

Brush the tops with the egg then bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Serve, while warm, with a simple side salad, or these will also make a great lunch for the next day.

ENJOY!!

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Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Salads, Vegan (with substitutions)

Antipasto Salad

Antipasti Salad

I love antipasti plates!!

Antipasto means “before the meal” and is the first course of a formal Italian dinner. Now, I know traditional antipasti plates have cured meats on them as well, but personally I say “who needs it” when you have all sorts of yummy pickled and marinated vegetables with different kinds of cheeses thrown in for good measure. The contents of a traditional Italian antipasto vary greatly according to regional cuisine, and this salad is something you can easily vary according to your own tastes..

This Antipasto Salad is something I threw together to go with an Italian dinner I was making years ago, and have continued making it ever since. I do not think I have ever made it exactly the same way twice; there is plenty of room for your own experimentation, but the basic idea is always the same.  In this version I used a combination of spinach, rocket (arugula), and fresh basil leaves as the greens, with artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, capers, peppadew peppers, and pan fried haloumi on top, but marinated mushrooms, cocktail onions, olives, roasted red peppers, pepperoncinis, marinated garlic,  fresh mozzerella, parmesan, feta or numerous other marinated or pickled vegetables and fresh cheeses are all other options.

None of the measurements below are exact, it all depends how much of  the different ingredients you want to add to your salad. This salad can be made vegan, by leaving off the cheese and it still has plenty of flavor.

Antipasto Salad

SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 1/2 a bag of rocket (arugula)
  • a large handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 -3 marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peppadew peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 packet haloumi
  • olive oil

for the dressing

  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried mixed italian herbs
  • pinch of dried chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix your greens together in a large bowl.

Roughly chop your marinated and pickled vegetables, and add them into the bowl along with the capers.

Add your cheese and dressing on top of the salad.

If using haloumi: On a medium high temperature, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Cut the haloumi into 5mm or 1/8 inch slices and add them to the pan, once the oil has been heated. Let the cheese brown on each side for about 2-3 minutes. If your haloumi looks like it is starting to melt, you probably have your heat too high.Let the cheese cool slightly but add to the salad and serve still warm.

For the dressing: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk or fork until they looked combined.

ENJOY!!

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