The great thing about living in London (and one of my favourites) is that we're so close to amazing cafes, shops and restaurants within a stone's throw of us. It's perfect if you run out of some ingredient, fancy popping out for a drink with friends and we walk everywhere. The cafe culture has certainly given us fantastic eateries, delis and patisseries!
We have a cafe close to us which is the place for meeting up with friends for a cuppa and enjoying some of their freshly baked goods. But as much as I enjoy eating their wares, it always inspires me to want to make my own versions at home. One of my lunchtime favourites is the Spinach and Feta Roll and now I've created a homemade version, I can see it frequenting my kitchen on a regular basis :)
This little roll is super tasty and is filled with a mixture of spinach and feta, rolled in a blanket of puff pastry and then topped with eggwash, parmesan and fennel. They are simple to make but are delicious and you can have them freshly baked on your table in next to no time. I've never been a fan of aniseed but the fennel really does add a lovely twist to these and with the parmesan, a perfect crisp exterior to the little rolls.
We start by making the filling. I use frozen spinach and cook it in a small saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water for around 5 minutes or until the spinach fully defrosts. Then we need to remove some of the water, so it's placed in a sieve and the water squeezed out by pressing the spinach against the sieve sides with the back of a spoon. Once we've removed most of the water, the spinach goes into a small bowl. The chopped feta is added and mashed together with the spinach using a fork. You're not looking for a puree consistency, but for it to be combined with small chunks of feta remaining. Next we season with a dash of nutmeg and a little salt and pepper.
Once the filling is ready, we unwrap our puff pastry and lay it on a lightly floured work surface. The pastry needs to be cut in half horizontally to make two rectangles (each rectangle will make two rolls) and then half of the filling is laid half-way down, in a line horizontally across the first rectangle. The pastry is rolled up from the bottom side to the top to make a long sausage roll and then sealed with eggwash. This is then repeated with the second piece of pastry.
Finally we brush the tops of the rolls with egg wash and then grate parmesan across the surface and sprinkle fennel seeds on top. They're popped into the oven for around 15-20 minutes. Once they're out of the oven, the rolls can be cut in half to make four rolls for sharing (or you can eat one long roll if you're really hungry!)
When we all lead such busy lives, it's nice to be able to treat yourself to a tasty lunch which doesn't take too much time to prepare but which has lots of amazing flavours and is freshly baked.
And if you're working away from home, the rolls can also be made the previous day ready for you to take with you.
Nothing's better than one of these rolls on the run!
Spinach & Feta Rolls
Makes 4 rolls (1 roll per person)
- 200G FROZEN SPINACH
- 120G FETA, CRUMBLED INTO PIECES
- 320G PUFF PASTRY
- 1 TSP NUTMEG
- SALT AND PEPPER (for seasoning)
- 1 EGG, LIGHTLY BEATEN (this is the eggwash)
- 2 TBSP FENNEL SEEDS
- 2 TBSP PARMESAN, GRATED
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
- Place the frozen spinach into a small saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water and heat on a medium heat until the spinach is completely defrosted
- Transfer the spinach to a sieve and using a fork, press the spinach against the sides of the sieve to remove as much water as possible
- Put the spinach in a small bowl and add the crumbled feta cheese
- Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and then combine them with a fork -- you're looking for the ingredients to be combined but not over-mixed as you don't want a puree consistency
- Remove your puff pastry from the fridge
- Lay it on a lightly floured board with the long sides at the top and bottom of your board
- Cut the pastry in half down the middle from left to right so you have two pieces of pastry
- Half-way down each piece of pastry, spread a line of filling evenly from left to right
- Roll each piece of pastry from top to bottom so you have a long sausage roll and then seal the pastry with a line of eggwash
- Brush the top of each roll all over with eggwash, then grate parmesan across the surface and then sprinkle the fennel seeds on top
- Place on baking paper on baking trays and then bake for around 15-18 mins -- when they're ready the tops should be a lovely golden brown
- Remove from the oven and eat immediately -- or allow to cool and eat the next day :)