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Spinach, feta and pistachio parcels

I always seem to have an abundance of spinach. During winter in the subtropics you can grow English spinach, and throughout the rest of the year there are plenty of other options like basella (Ceylon spinach) or Egyptian spinach (Corchorus). I use basella for this recipe and found the quantities below give a nice filling. This recipe makes enough for 3-4 adults for a main course (they are quite filling) or 20 small triangles for a party.

Ingredients

●  200g basella or Ceylon spinach (weigh it uncooked, fresh from the garden minus the stalks)
●  Ĺ teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
●  Ĺ teaspoon freshly dry roasted and ground cumin seeds
●  100gm feta crumbled cheese (I buy an Australian brand and soak it in water to remove some of the salt)
●  125gm ricotta
●  50gm roughly chopped, shelled pistachio nuts
●  1 small clove crushed garlic freshly cracked black pepper
●  50gm melted butter for use with the pastry, plus an extra knob of butter for cooking the spinach
●  1 beaten egg for glazing the pastry prior to cooking
●   Filo pastry (I use a frozen product from the supermarket)
●  Sesame seeds (optional)
●  You will also need some baking paper.

Method

Wash and dry the spinach in a salad spinner. Cook it down well in a saucepan with the knob butter. Allow to cool, then place in a kitchen sieve and squeeze out the excess moisture using the back of a spoon or your hands.

Finely chop the drained spinach. Place in a bowl with the cinnamon, cumin, pepper, feta, ricotta, pistachio and garlic. Combine well. If you want donít want to make the parcels immediately or have some left over you can keep this filling in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

To make up the parcels, brush the melted butter on individual sheets of the filo and layer them one on top of the other. I use 4 layers. Cut the pastry into the size you need. I usually just do squares and gather up the corners to form a parcel and twisting it together at the top, but you can do triangles by cutting the pastry into long strips and folding triangular shapes over and over down the length of the pastry.

Put your parcels on baking paper on an oven tray and glaze them well with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cook for around 20 minutes at 180 degrees. I usually serve them hot with homemade mango chutney, yoghurt and salad. Add some home grown boiled potatoes if you have them. They also make good finger food for parties. Left over ones can be eaten cold.

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