from one generation to the next
When I was a kid, my Mum supplemented the family meals with home grown veg. Melbourne winters in the 1950s and 60s were cold, no snow, but frequent frosts. Not much grew then, but somehow the rhubarb patch and the silverbeet survived, so at least the snails and grubs were happy! Post war Australian cooking was plain, and I have memories of being revolted by gritty, tough leaves of bitter boiled silverbeet. (Sorry Mum) Thank goodness the waves of migrants to Melbourne have changed our understanding of not only how to cook hardy winter greens such as chard, but how to choose the best eating variety to plant and the optimum time to harvest. Today, I get excited by a bunch of rainbow chard, as beautiful as a bunch of flowers, and I love to eat these pastries even made with plain old silverbeet. See what Mum did with the rhubarb……..
The filling :
1 bunch swiss chard (silverbeet)
2 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Strip the leaves from the chard stems. Discard the stems, wash the leaves thoroughly, then drain. Steam the leaves over a low heat, just in the water that remains clinging to them. When they have collapsed to a soft mass remove from the heat and refresh in iced water. Drain, squeeze as much water as possible from the leaves, finely chop. Heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic, add the chard leaves and cook to evaporate any remaining water. Add the cumin, currants and pine nuts a cook for a couple of minutes longer, until the nuts are toasted. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool.
To make the filo triangles:
1 packet filo pastry, at least 12 sheets
30 g melted butter and/or 30 ml grapeseed oil (you need about 60 mls total)
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Lay the filo on the worktop and cover with a piece of plastic wrap and a dampened cloth. Work with only one sheet at a time as filo dries out very quickly. Melt the butter and add the oil.
Brush a sheet of pastry with butter or oil and fold lengthways into three. Place a generous teaspoon full of spinach mixture at the left had corner then fold the pastry into triangle shape along the length. Seal the end of the triangle with a dab of butter and oil. Don’t roll the triangles too tightly or fill them too full as they will burst in the oven. Continue folding triangles until the filling mixture is used. Brush the tops with oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake until puffed and golden, 10-15 minutes. Filo triangles can be frozen to bake at a later date directly from the freezer. Makes 12