Chorizo, spinach & tomato frittata

Anything that is meant to be set just right “with a slight wobble to it” intimidates me. Cheesecake, crème caramel, quiche, custard pies..I fear you. The first recipe that I came across for a frittata looked pretty simple to follow, ingredients accessible, but the oven timings “varying widely” bit really got to me. I chickened out.

We usually end up eating out on the weekends. Checking out new restaurants flaunting different cuisines/fusion menus (re-fried beans replaced with green beans in a taco..don’t even ask), that’s our scene. Did I tell you about the time that I found chorizo in Chennai and yelped with joy? I had some sitting around in the fridge waiting to be used up along with some leftover spinach, and a frittata was the first thing that came to mind. Armed with my 2 packs of eggs (my husband eats only the whites and is a vegetarian, so that made me go through 1 whole pack for him so I made two separate pies), I very meekly set about this challenge. Amateur tip – watch them eggs like a hawk.

The eggs were perfectly set – slightly gooey because of the cheese, the flavours were delicious, and Sunday brunch turned out to be a real treat! The combination of chorizo and oven-dried tomatoes really elevated this frittata and made it so much more than just a glorified omelette.

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HEARTY SPINACH SOUP

I always find comfort in a big bowl of soup. And one of this character and versatility is exactly what I’m talking about. Its subtle clear flavours and velvety smoothness are always so soothing and for the amount of effort that goes into it you’d be surprised. Speaking of which, I loved it cold too, straight out of the refrigerator!

I’m reiterating that you shouldn’t over’wilt’ the spinach lest you lose out on the vibrancy and saturated brightness of the soup. I was describing it to my mom over the phone the other day and described it as “the colour of hulk.” You know you want that.

I added a pinch of cumin, because, well, why not. I really liked the flavour of it delicately coming through and not overpowering the spinach. I usually serve this with a side of toasted garlic bread to dunk into. A few toasted croutons and a better swirl than the one I made would make this a perfect party appetizer too! I’d be a very happy guest if I were served that.

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Greekin’ out : SPANAKOPITA

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Hunting for a recipe to match the image in my head is the hardest challenge, but oh-so worth it in the end! This is one such story..

Spanakopita literally translates to spinach pie; it is a Greek dish that comes in a myriad of shapes and sizes, the most common being in pie-form or as triangular parcels. Although traditionally served encased in layers of crispy phyllo dough, this recipe is a variation using puff pastry. There is just something so satisfying about waiting for the pastry to crisp up and turn golden brown, and that for me makes even an ordinary meal feel like a real celebration!

This recipe follows the general principle that I go by, and that could only mean one thing – it can be varied in a multitude of ways by the addition/omission of ingredients. Loosely based on Sara Clevering’s take on this Greek classic, I used a combination of red onion AND a few sprigs of spring onions (I retained the tops of these and added them to the filling too), added a dash of olive oil to the butter, and used a 200 gram packet of Feta instead of the 170 grams that’s in her recipe. I liked her version of using one large pastry sheet and treating it like a calzone, but I used 2 separate sheets instead. I added 3 cloves of garlic to the onion mixture too (spinach and no garlic? no way) Also, no dill.

The store-bought puff pastry sheets that I have access to only come in one size; the small rectangular ones. That would have worked just fine for the small parcels, but what I had in mind was one big crumbly pie and that’s exactly what I set out to achieve. I rolled out four of the sheets together, slightly overlapping each other until I had one large pastry that I could use. Mission accomplished.

I made a simple Greek salad with cherry tomatoes, onions and fresh parsley tossed in an apple cider & extra virgin olive oil vinaigrette as an accompaniment. The acidity from the tomatoes cut through the richness of the dish perfectly. Spanakopita can be served as an hors d’oeuvre or as a main course; I ate the leftovers for breakfast too! Ain’t no shame. Continue reading