The many faces of filo.

“Aah, filo pastry.  We have been expecting you.”  I can’t help feeling guilty when I make something using filo pastry.  First of all, pastry isn’t exactly a superfood and folk who take care of their bodies won’t thank you for a big ol’ pie.  Secondly, filo pastry is so versatile and easy to use.  Yes, I said easy!  Don’t let the television scaremongerers put you off experimenting with it.  Filo does dry out quickly and is very delicate, but it is also easy to cut, fold, layer and shape.  The fact that you can produce savoury or sweet dishes with ease, adds to the appeal.

Previously, I’ve had fun making chocolate filo parcels and when it comes to Greek puddings, filo is never too far away (that reminds me, I need to post a recipe for a lovely Greek pudding).  Filo has always been my go-to pastry for sweet stuff, but over the weekend, I found myself with some spare fresh filo and a box of beautiful chestnut mushrooms.  They have a wonderful nutty flavour and I’ve stocked up on them so that I can make my favourite mushroom soup.  However, we needed lunch in a matter of minutes and I wanted something interesting.  Filo to the rescue.

Le Roule & mushroom filo parcels

(Recipe makes 2 parcels)

2 sheets filo pastry

250g chestnut mushrooms (sliced)

2 small handfuls fresh rocket leaves

2 tblspoons Le Roule cheese

25g melted butter

salt & pepper

Begin by preheating the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Lay the sheets of filo out and cut them in half to form two squares.  Brush the squares with melted butter and lay a second filo square on top of each.  These will be your parcels.

Meanwhile, fry the mushrooms in a little butter on a high heat until cooked through and beginning to brown at the edges.  Grind some black pepper over them, but  don’t add salt yet.  Salt draws out moisture from the mushrooms and makes them soggy.  Yuk!

Put a little pile of fresh rocket onto the filo square and top with half of the mushrooms.  Season with salt.  Add a tablespoon of Le Roule on the top and then brush the edges of the square with melted butter.  Now bring two opposite corners of the square together, placing one under the other and brushing them with a little more butter.  Do the same with the remaining corners to form a parcel.

Brush the whole parcel with melted butter and place on a lined baking tray in the centre of the oven for about fifteen minutes or until the parcel is golden and the pastry crispy.  Be careful, the contents will be very hot.

Feeling hungry, I went on to make another parcel using baby plum tomatoes and basil leaves.  I added grated Cheddar instead of Le Roule and sprinkled some dried oregano on for good measure.  The result was something like a little pizza parcel, so it goes without saying that I was enthralled.  Filo may not be forgiving, but it is rewarding.  Give it a go!


Lettuce doesn’t make it healthy.

Not only does a love of food bring endless joy through the cooking and eating experiences that come each day, it can also lead to a heart attack.  Cheerful, yes, but if you’re greedy and prone to smothering things in butter, sugar, oil and more butter, then you have to be realistic about these things.  Sadly, I am a man of excesses when it comes to food.  I don’t smoke, so I’ve bought myself an extra few years.  I drink rarely and usually in moderation.  It’s my need to eat large amounts of things that I love that I suspect will be my undoing.

I love eating different things and trying new dishes.  However, I can’t resist a good burger.  When I choose to have a burger, I make a real effort to make it interesting.  My view is in for a penny, in for a pound.  Yesterday was no different.  I whacked a burger in the frying pan, threw in some back bacon, and added some sliced onion rings too.  When the burger was cooked and the bacon crispy, I began piling everything onto a toasted cheese-topped bun.  Below is a list of how it all stacked up (top to bottom).

Really fresh leaves and tomatoes are important.

Top of cheese-topped bun

Le Roule

Beef patty

Fried onions

Crispy bacon

Sliced vine tomatoes

Baby lettuce leaves

Dijon mustard

Bottom of bun

No revelations here, but man, it was a real treat.  Le Roule and bacon burgers rule.