It feels like spring is almost here! Certainly the chill has gone, the heat pump hasn't even been switched on today,,,plus the intermittent downpours or as I still call them April showers, as they would be in the UK, are a definite sign that spring is almost upon us. Need a little less of the down pours as the garden is water logged and some serious clean up and weeding required before any visits to Kings Plant Barn are allowed. It is almost time to start getting some seeds and seedlings in for a summer bounty. For seeds you can't go past Kings Seeds - check out there catalogue here and you won't fail to be inspired by the sheer range available and for gardening tips sign up to the NZ Gardener Get Growing newsletter here.
After a couple of hours of restorative yoga time for some cooking and inspiration courtesy of Epicurean Supplies who will courier you (if in NZ!) the most beautiful box of seasonal, freshly picked organic vegetables. Returned from Raro to a box of delicious goodness! Bokchoy, radish, swede, white turnip, broccoli, leeks, spinach, cavalonero, onions, fennel, mixed lettuce leaves, rosemary, chives, bay leaves and mint...don't think I have missed anything. I just love the surprise of not knowing what is going to be in that box. So for Saturday night it was a bit of a beef stir fry...a bit of a concoction as out of fish sauce and oyster sauce, so had improvise a little on the original plan. Sauteed off some onions,garlic, ginger and chillies. Added some sliced mushrooms and the beef...just for a minute or two and added some soy and sweet chili sauce and finished off with some basil and coriander as what I happened to have. Served over simply boiled rice with some stir fried vegetables on the side, including the beautiful bok choy from Epicurean Supplies. Dressed with a little sesame oil and all served with a nice chilled glass of Alana Estate Sauvignon Blanc.
Back to Sunday...I was looking for spinach inspiration. I would have done Giada's spicy spinach pesto but I did that only the other week and I still have a stash in the freezer. It really is delicious. So in the end I was thinking spinach and feta and arrived at spanakopita. I do love Ina Garten'sspanakopita and I have made them quite a few times but today I thought I'd try these ones from Tyler Florence. They just seemed a little more interesting than the usual with the addition of ground toasted coriander seeds and nutmeg. Loved the idea of fresh herbs, chives and oregano, sprinkled between the layers of filo pastry. Get the recipe here, really easy to follow and they look really pretty with green flecks of herbs visible through the filo. A light and tasty lunch served with some of the salad leaves from Epicurean Supplies. Reckon this is the spanikopita recipe to beat! Really fragrant with all the herbs and coriander.
And for dinner I will be satisfying my cravings for fresh pasta along with some of the spicy spinach pesto from the freezer. For my fresh pasta I use a Giada recipe and usually just do half which would serve 3-4 depending on how hungry people are.
So for a half batch place 1 1/2 cups of flour (regular old plain flour is fine!) in to a food processor (yes some Italian mamas would have a fit but it just makes it so quick and easy and you still taste all the benefits of freshly made pasta!). In a small cup or bowl beat two large eggs and add 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper, beat and add to the flour. Pulse to combine in the food processor, scraping down the sides a couple of times. The dough should stick together if pinched between your fingers and be quite yellow in colour. Turn the dough out on to a board with a little flour and knead gently until smooth, I like to give it a good 5 mins to get the right texture. Cover in cling and let it rest for half an hour or so. Then just roll and shape...much easier if you have a pasta machine. To cook all you need is a few moments in pot of boiling, salted water, a good amount of salt - the water should taste like the sea! Stir in the pesto and voila dinner is served. Buon Appetito!