Sunday, 22 April 2012

(Essex) Spinach + Feta Pie

Recently, when I've had the odd day at home, instead of working my way through a never ending list of chores, I've been getting stuck in to some quality daytime TV. Generally speaking, I don't actually like the telly. It seems to cost me a lot of money each month to have access to a plethora of ridiculous programmes none of which interest me.  I'm not 'Moving to the Country', I don't have an 'Attic to have Cash in', with the wedding postponed there's no chance of me being a 'Bridezilla' for quite some time and I draw the line at that horrid little Jeremy Kyle. However, I simply can not get enough of 'The Real Housewives' (of any American location, I'm not biased), 'Antiques Roadtrip' and my ultimate favorite, 'Judge Judy'. She is my inspiration. She always has immaculate hair and make up but more importantly, she doesn't take any shit. In the mornings they often have a run of 4 or 5 'cases' on one after the other which sets me up for the day and of all the episodes I've watched, I've never seen a repeat. There are just so many criminals in New York thank god she is there to keep the streets safe and clean!

I love Judy and thought that there couldn't possibly be anything to top her, until on Friday night I did something that I can't explain. I'm aware that I am very behind the times, but whilst waiting for The Wig to come home from the pub, for some reason I watched an episode of 'The Only Way is Essex'. Then I watched another one, then another one. I watched 3 in a row and I thought it was brilliant! I think it might have knocked the Judge off her top spot!

'The Only Way is Essex' (or TOWIE as it has become to be known) is set in and around a town in Essex called Brentwood, or my home town if you like. I grew up in a small village just outside of Brentwood, but as nothing much happened in the village I spent a lot of time in Brentwood. Some might say that nothing much happened in Brentwood either as in the 90's it was unfairly voted Britain's most boring town. Rude.,_Essex

But to my younger self it was brilliant. It had a cinema that cost £2 to get in (I got kicked out of this cinema trying to get in to see 'Top Gun' when I was under age), it had several good pubs to go to that seemed to encourage underage drinking (I was sick in all of them) and Noel Edmonds went to school there. In my memory though, it wasn't riddled with orange skinned people with fake body parts and an appalling pronunciation of the Queens English. However, a couple of years ago a programme appeared full of those sorts of people, in my beloved Brentwood. I was outraged. I refused to watch it. One was not amused. But on Friday night, I thought I'd just have a quick peak to see what all the fuss is about and got completely sucked in. Yes, all the people in it have terrible accents, yes they have a radio active sheen to their skin, yes they have fake bits and bobs but they actually seem like alright people. They don't go round fighting or looting or weeing on war memorials. They go to the Gym, open shops and have Segway rides. I like them. Up the Essex!

Other people from Essex I like are:
Helen Mirren
Alison Moyet
Denise Van Outen
Olly Murs

And also Jamie Oliver, which leads me nicely onto this recipe. We went to visit our friends recently and they made us this delicious pie for lunch. It was so nice that we bought the Jamie Oliver cook book and made it for tea last night.

Jamie Oliver's Spinach + Feta pie (serves 4)

Shopping List

3 x Eggs
1 x Packet of Fio Pastry
200g Pine Nuts
200g Spinach
180g Feta Cheese
50g Cheddar
1/2 a Nutmeg
1/2 a Lemon
A Knob of butter
A pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Salt + Pepper
Olive Oil

* Lightly toast the pine nuts in a pan and remove from the heat.
* Crack the eggs in a bowl, crumble in the feta, stir in the cheddar, add some salt + pepper and the nutmeg, add the zest of 1/2 a lemon and some olive oil (Jamie says a 'lug' whatever that means...). Mix everything together.
* Add the nuts to the egg/cheese mix, stir well and set aside.
* Meanwhile, take each layer of pastry from the packet, wipe some olive oil on it, season it with salt and pepper and a sprinkle of cayenne. Then add another layer and repeat until all the layers have been used up. Once you have a pile of greased up and seasoned pastry lay on top of some baking paper and place inside an oven proof tin that is smaller than the filo sheets. I used a 7 inch cake tin.

* In a pan, melt some butter, add the spinach and cook until wilted.

* Once the spinach has wilted, stir into the egg and cheese mixture and pour into the filo pastry. When all the mixture is inside, carefully fold over the excess of pastry around the tin and create a 'lid'. Add some more oil and season again.

* Put the pie in a pre-heated oven (Fan 180) and cook for 20 minutes.

* Serve with a salad. Nice one Essex chef!

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