Saturday, 4 December 2010

Feta, roasted pepper and spinnach filo parcels with a warm wintery coleslaw

I adore homemade coleslaw, but when its -4 degrees outside the last thing you want to eat is something cold and salad-like.

Cue a warm coleslaw, made in this case with fennel, beetroot and carrot. And if having it warm temperature wise isn't enough you can turn the volume up on the mustard to bring in some additional heat.

This is a tasty little lunch that combines summer and winter flavours together easily. So that you don't have to worry about buying lots of things out of season the key ingredients for the parcel can come from jars, which makes it a bit of a store cupboard winner - handy when you might be snowed in.

This warm coleslaw is a very versatile dish, we've had it with pork and apple burgers and I can imagine it going very well with homemade kebabs and as an accompaniment to a Christmas ham. Plus its one of those dishes you needn't feel too guilty about eating, on account of it being full of veggies and certainly providing more than your five a day.

Lunch for two:
The parcels -
8 sheets of filo pastry
2 peppers from jars - the char grilled sort is possible
A block of feta - the standard supermarket sized version, crumble it by hand into bite size pieces
A few sun dried tomatoes
A large bag of spinach
Unsalted butter, melted for brushing
Salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

The warm coleslaw -
For the grated vegetables I recommend using a food processor, it makes it much easier and you're able to get a really fine grate. To finely slice the fennel and the onion I'd suggest a mandolin on a super fine setting. Of course, doing all this manually is fine, it's just a pain in the arse.

Two carrots, peeled and finely grated
Half a red onion, cut in half and sliced razor thin
4 cooked beetroots (not the vinegared variety!) finely grated
2 spring onions finely sliced
Three tablespoons mayo (I use light but full fat is good too)
Three tablespoons natural yogurt
1.5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt and black pepper

Method -
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
- In a saucepan on a medium heat add a knob of butter and when it starts to foam add your bag of spinach and put the lid on. Cook the spinach for a few minutes, turning occasionally until it's wilted right down, then remove it from the heat and leave to cool
- Take the red peppers and sun dried tomatoes and finely slice, put them in a large bowl and add the feta
- When the spinach has cooled enough to handle squeeze as much of the water out of it as you can, then run a knife over it and add it to the feta mix
- Add a slug of olive oil, the Parmesan, a scrunch of salt and pepper and using a fork combine the mixture in the bowl
- Lightly butter the baking sheet the parcels will sit on and set aside
Now it's time to assemble the parcels:
- Place a sheet of filo on a clean and lightly dusted work surface and brush it with butter, then lay another sheet on top of it. Place what is around three tablespoons of the mixture in the centre of the pastry, then just like wrapping a present, turn the bottom edges up to lay across the centre of the mixture, brush with butter again and then fold the top edge down to lay across the first fold. Brush with butter again and take each side and bring them up into the centre above where the mixture is held, then pinch the filo together, forming a pinch (as in the picture) brush with butter again and repeat with the other three parcels until all the mixture is used up.
- Place the parcels into the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until they're golden brown looking
With the parcels in the oven, it's time to make the coleslaw - this needs to be started 10 minutes before the parcels are removed so that the slaw is warm when eaten
- Combine the yogurt, mayo, spring onion, red onion, mustard, a scrunch of salt, some black pepper and cider vinegar in a large bowl and mix with a fork until combined
- Place the beetroot, fennel and carrot in a roasting tin and put into the oven for 5 minutes - this it to dry them out a little so that the coleslaw isn't overly wet
- After five minutes remove the vegetables and add them to the mayo mixture, combine thoroughly - this will make a gorgeous pink mixture
- Remove the parcels from the oven and serve with the slaw - a little glass of something white and chilled would go just nicely too


  1. What a great idea - warming coleslaw. This may need to make an appearance at our Christmas evening buffet!

  2. It really does work so well can't believe I didnt try it before! Things like celariac and cabbage would work well too I think.

    We're going to have it with a cherry cola ham over the festive season I think - a pink dish all round! x