Spinach, Feta and Ricotta Rolls

Back when I was working at my last job, a colleague, who happened to be my work bestie, introduced me to this treat. We’d take our breaks together whenever we could and hop over to Muffin Break. Our Muffin Break outlet made the best Spinach and Feta Rolls (sidenote – their Bran muffins were to die for). But I’d never noticed these little beauties before this. I was on a first name basis with its Non-vegetarian counterpart – the sausage roll. I’ve had quite a few of those. But on this particular day, when we went over to Muffin Break, she ordered a Spinach and Feta Roll to go with her coffee. Needless, to say, I was intrigued. So I ordered one for myself too. And the rest, as they say, is history.

From that day on, if I ever need to grab a bite and am in the mood for something savory, I pick up one of their Spinach and Feta Rolls. They are seriously good. And, I like to think that I’m getting a little extra Spinach in my diet that day.

So getting back to yesterday. When I found myself with a big basket of Ricotta cheese and a bag of Spinach I needed to use up, I decided to see if I could use the two together and come up with something delicious. After a little looking around, I found just the thing. I’ve based my rolls on a similar recipe I found online and I just switched it up to my liking. This time around, I used store bought Puff pastry. I had a packet in the freezer that I wanted to use up too. This recipe has just 2 basic components – the pastry and the filling. The filling is really easy to put together. You just mix up all the ingredients and your ready to go. The verdict – These rolls are really good. They’re not exactly like the Muffin Break ones. I am now convinced that there is some flour added to their filling, possibly to bulk it up. But these homemade rolls can give them a serious run for their money. And this time, I know for sure that there’s a heap of spinach in there. And everyone knows that Spinach with Ricotta and Feta is a match made in heaven. So let’s have a look at these Spinach Rolls, shall we?
Spinach, Feta and Ricotta Rolls
Makes 18 rolls
3 sheets Pampas all butter Puff pastry
200g Feta Cheese
300g Ricotta Cheese
150g Baby Spinach, finely chopped
Red Chili Flakes, to taste
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 egg
Black sesame seeds, to sprinkle over
Preheat your oven to 180ºC.

Place the baking tray in the oven.

Thaw 3 sheets of puff pastry. The pastry should be soft enough to work with but still cold. If it warms up too much, it gets sticky and difficult to work with.

Crumble the feta into a bowl.

Now add the Ricotta and crumble that in as well.

Add crushed black pepper to taste.

Taste the mix and add more salt if you want. I didn’t need to add any salt at this stage.

Add the spinach and red chili flakes. Mix well.

Crack the egg into a small bowl. Whisk and keep aside.

Working with one sheet at a time, cut the sheet in half.

Spoon the mix to form a long log in the center of each half of the pastry (lengthwise).

Brush one side (along the length) of each half of the sheet with the whisked egg.

Roll the other side of pastry over the spinach into a tight log. The egg will help seal the pastry.

Place the rolls on greaseproof paper, seam side down. Repeat with the rest of the pastry.

Carefully place the paper onto the heated tray.

Brush the tops of the rolls with the whisked egg (egg wash).

Crack some black pepper on the top of each roll and sprinkle some black sesame seeds on the rolls.

Bake for about 30 minutes or till golden brown in color.

Serve hot.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Veggies – Love Em or Hate Em?

In my house, we love veggies. Whether it is steamed, in a curry, stir fried or straight up in a salad, we love it all. We are trying to include more veggies in diet as much as we can, because it is healthier for you. And when you eat what’s in season, it tends to be a lot easier on the pocket too. I try to eat local produce as much as I can and always go for what’s in season.

When I came across a recipe for a vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, I knew I had to try it. It calls for a bunch of veggies, which most of us usually have on hand, and lentils. We eat a lot of lentils, pulses, legumes, so I knew this would be an interesting way to switch things up. There are a few processes involved in the recipe, but they are all really simple and I loved that there were leftovers.

This Veggie Shepherd’s Pie is chock full of veggies and lentils and is the perfect meal for a cold, wet day. The veggies and lentils are full of flavor and are topped with mashed potatoes.And who doesn’t love mashed potatoes?

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Recipe from: Budget Bytes

1 cup cooked lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots
2 stalks celery
Handful of button mushrooms, sliced
Salt, to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp flour
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup frozen peas
6-8 potatoes, depending on size (You need enough to make about 4 cups worth of mashed potatoes)
A knob of butter (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the onions and garlic and saute till the onions have softened.

While the onions are cooking, dice the carrots and celery to ‘more or less’ resemble the size of the peas and lentils.

Once the onions have softened, add the diced carrots and celery to the pan and cook till the celery has started to soften.

Now add the sliced mushrooms, salt, thyme, smoked paprika and pepper to the pan. Stir well to let the spices incorporate. Continue cooking till the mushrooms have fully softened.

Add the tomato paste and the flour to the pot. Stir and continue to cook the veggies till they’re coated and the pasty mix starts to coat the bottom of the pan. This should take about 2 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth to the pan. Stir to dissolve the flour and tomato paste that has coated the bottom of the pan.

Bring the broth to a simmer. It will have started thickening. Add in the cooked lentils and peas and let them all heat through.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed, stir through and take the pot of the heat.

Preheat your oven to 200ºC.

Wash and peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes to cut down on cooking time.

Boil them in salted water till tender. Drain and mash the potatoes with the butter (if you are using) till no lumps are left. Taste and add more salt, if needed.

Add the vegetables to a large casserole dish (I used my 9 inch ceramic pie dish). Top with the mashed potatoes. It is easier to handle the mashed potato when it is still warm. I used the back of a spoon to flatten the mashed potatoes. You can choose to use a fork or a spoon to create a decorative pattern if you’d like.

Bake for around 15 minutes till everything has heated through. If you want the mashed potatoes to brown some more, place it closer to the top heating element of your oven, or turn your broiler on (if your oven has that function) and bake for a few more minutes. Watch closely and when it has browned to your liking, take it out of the oven.

Sprinkle some more freshly cracked black pepper over the top and serve hot.

Enjoy your veggies!!! 

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