Spinach and Fetta Bread

Spinach and Fetta Bread 01 || cityhippyfarmgirl

While two of my children gagged their way through dinner, the other one couldn’t get the second, third, fourth slice in fast enough. The problem and in equal measures, the highlight of the bread, was the spinach.

Spinach is one of those vegetables that seem to be hated by many and adored by all others. I think spinach is delicious and and will happily eat it in any form given to me. In a bread, you’ve got the benefit of a vegetable hidden (or not so much) in a high carbohydrate baked good, where you can’t go wrong really.

(Although two round here would contest that.)

So while I showered my spinach eating child in heart eyes, deep seated love and adoration, I loaded up his plate with slice after slice of green infused bread goodness.

I ignored my other two who continued to gag their way through the meal, feigning food poisoning, swallowing inability and general parental wickedness at even placing such a thing on our family table.

I instead focussed on the crusty sided outside of the loaf. The soft inner crumb, the subtle taste of the spinach and fetta infused throughout and the slappings of cultured butter to bring it all together.

As sunk my teeth in, I mumbled that I might make another one tomorrow.

Predictably this was met with a one sided cheer and two tragic noisy wails worthy of oscar nominations…luckily for me I’m well practised at ignoring misguided spinach wails.

Spinach and Fetta Bread 02 || cityhippyfarmgirlSpinach and Fetta Bread 03 || cityhippyfarmgirl

Spinach and Fetta Bread

2 tsp dried yeast

5 cups (750g) strong bread flour

600mls tepid water

2 tsp salt

200g fetta

1 bunch of finely chopped spinach or rainbow chard

In a large bowl mix through your yeast, flour and water, with a spoon then cover bowl and leave for 20 minutes. Then add salt, spinach and fetta, turn dough out on to bench and knead dough until it comes together. It’s a bit of a messy one with the spinach and fetta, but the dough will start to feel smooth and more elastic.

Pop the dough back in to the mixing bowl and cover for about an hour or until roughly doubled in size.

Fold the dough over once, and then proof again.

Dough out on to the bench and gently shape into a round, laying it on a baking tray. Rub a little extra flour on the top and leave to proof again until roughly doubly in size.

Score the dough just before it goes in the oven and bake with steam at 230C.

 

 

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Pumpkin goodness- Know Your Basics

pumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirl

Although you can buy pumpkin for a fair chunk of the year here in Australia. Now is when you will be seeing rather a lot of it. Autumn and early winter is a great time for the humble pumpkin. It’s a cheap and easy basic, that really does pay to know a few different ways in which to cook it. Team it up with the forever versatile fetta and you are away. Meal times never looked so simple.

 

Now if you are lucky enough to grow your own pumpkins, they can be stored for several months in a cool dark airy spot, especially so if they have been cured beforehand. This can be done by leaving them out in the sun for a while first, for the skin to harden and the stalk to dry out.

Then there is the eating. I really like using pumpkin as it’s cheap, and can be turned into a whole list of easy dinner time meals… Or snacks… Or desserts. Actually the humble pumpkin is rather impressive with its array of pumpkiny meal options.

KNOW YOUR BASICS: Find a couple of basic ingredients and really get to know them, what they can do, what they taste well with and most importantly, how on earth to cook them.

First up, roasted. This can be done either with skins on or off depending on your time, strength and taste buds. I normally peel them, as they are generally going into a soup, dhal or bread kind of dish.

Now once you’ve peeled, chopped and roasted you are left with the scooped out, fleshy, stringy and seedy bits. Separate all the seeds and leave them in a bowl to soak over night. The next morning dry them off and spread them out in a frying pan gently roast- watch them, they POP!

Pumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirlpumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirl

Whether you are roasting, steaming, eating cold, eating hot, the pumpkin is a great one to be bought locally, seasonally, frugally, and importantly tastely, (surely that can be a word?)

What’s your favourite way to serve pumpkin?

A few more ideas on what to do with your wonderful pumpkin

Make a Pumpkin and Fetta Tart

Pumpkin and Fetta salad with chickpeas was delicious

Pumpkin and Fetta sausage rolls always a winner

Pumpkin and Fetta foccacia

Pumpkin Spiced Cake– everyone loves cake, especially pudding kinda cake

Pumpkin and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, cool nights, hot dinners

Roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Indian Spiced Pumpkin Scones– easy for lunch or afternoon tea

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Dhal- frugal and seasonal cooking

and my go to Thai Style Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirl

Fetta Pumpkin sausage rolls

Fetta Pumpkin sausage rolls. They weren’t shifting out of my head until I made them. A few pumpkins came and went, fetta went into other dishes, and then finally the planets had aligned and voila… there was fetta and pumpkin in the fridge at the same time.

Time to get roasting.

There aren’t too many ingredients in here, so the key to getting it to taste great, is using great ingredients. A very sweet, seasonal pumpkin, some tasty Greek fetta, local whole garlic cloves and pastry.

It’s not often you’ll find packaged pastry in my recipes. I hadn’t had any in my freezer for a really long time. So long in fact that, the pastry and I just sort sat there, eyeing each other off for awhile. In the end though, pastry won. I wasn’t about to expand my culinary skills on making puff pastry just yet, (give me another 15 years perhaps) and a shorter crust pastry just wasn’t going to cut it for this one. So I slit the plastic, and funnily enough the world didn’t end.

Fetta Pumpkin Sausage Rolls

pumpkin

garlic

fetta

salt and pepper

olive oil

puff pastry

Cut your pumpkin into wedges and lay on a tray

add a couple of whole cloves of garlic

drizzle with olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

roast until soft and smelling delicious

All into a bowl, and mash with a fork, cool

add crumbled fetta, stir through.

Spoon mixture into middle of pastry sheet, and roll up

cut into sizes you want, bake on tray at 200C

until golden and smells delicious

Making your own Ravioli

I have a new toy…

A lovely new ravioli cutter.

Ravioli I love, but the frozen bought stuff hurts. My belly is never happy after I eat it, so I stopped years and years ago. It wasn’t worth the pain, and the taste was always such a disappointment. The kind of dinner that seemed like a good idea at the time, and then nothing but sore tummy and oh whose idea was this anyway?

After finding this new little toy and making our own though, oh happy belly… It’s light, it’s tasty, and it screams eat me now and perhaps a little glass of red on the side.

Pasta

550 gms Fine semolina flour

300 mls water (approx)

Knead dough until a lovely elastic consistency. It should be a smooth ball of dough.

Next, cut off small portions, and feed into the pasta machine. Flatten and thining out, (we went to level 4).

Ravioli Mixture

1 red capsicum (pepper) finely diced

1 small block of fetta crumbled

Lightly cook the capsicum in a little olive oil, just for a few minutes until soft. Add the fetta, mix well.

Placing one long strip on the bottom and then dropping small spoonfuls of mixture evenly spaced between. Another long strip of pasta over the top and with my new cutting toy… hey presto!

Serve with a simple sauce. Olive oil, garlic, canned tomatoes, ripped up fresh basil, a little salt and serve with grated parmesan.

As I have said with my other hand made pasta dishes, (orechiette and pici) keep the sauce simple. All the taste and love is in the pasta you have made. Don’t complicate it, and let the sauce be the accompaniment to the love you can taste in the pasta.

* If you don’t have a pasta machine, the same results can easily be done with a simple rolling pin…and if no rolling pin, a glass bottle will do the trick as well.