i had never heard of donna hay until i started blogging. a lovely woman from down under, she has legions of fans all over the world. when i was at the bookstore a couple of weeks ago i chanced upon her summer magazine issue. it immediately caught my eye with a gorgeous cover photo, and even more drool worthy photos on the inside. and it wasn't full of every other page of tacky advertisements like some other american magazines that shall remain un-named (but you know what i'm talking about!)
and when i say drool worthy photos, i mean that without an ounce of exaggeration. her clean style, simple presentation, white backgrounds really appeal to me. food is the star here.
even in the stylized pieces, the photos are still so clean but totally appetizing. in this issue she had an article titled "greek odyssey" awash with the most delish looking food and beautiful greek blue backdrops. i knew i had to make something from this.
and what better time than on a unseasonably freezing rainy cold may evening? sure, i could have made a chunky soup or hearty pasta to match the weather. but these tasty greek dishes instantly transported us to dreams of a sunnier, happier place.
spinach and feta pies: makes 6
from donna hay magazine issue 37
1 bunch spinach (550 g), trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
1 tb grated lemon rind
200 g feta cheese, crumbled
3 eggs, lightly beaten
9 sheet filo pastry
80 g butter, melted
1. preheat oven to 390F. combine spinach, mint, lemon, feta, eggs, and pepper in bowl and mix well. set aside.
2. layer 3 sheets of filo, brushing between each layer with the melted butter. cut into 2 x 20 cm rounds. press pastry into 2 x 11 cm round greased pie tins. fill pastry cases with spinach mixture and fold edges to partially enclose. brush tops with butter.
3. bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden. (we only had 2 cake tins and made 2 free form pies. the smaller, tighter tinned ones cooked and tasted better).
pan-roasted chicken with almond and mint: serves 2 (we used the full amount of almond/mint mixture and had a little leftover)
adapted from donna hay issue 37
1 lb chicken breast
salt + pepper and other seasonings (for chicken)
1/4 cup blanched sliced almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice plus an extra squeeze or two
1/2 cup olive oil
1. preheat oven to 400F. season chicken breasts. heat olive in oil in oven proof skillet on high, place smooth side down. once sizzling, turn down heat to medium. slow cook until meat can pull away from pan. the key to pan roasting is don't keep touching the meat, otherwise it will stick. patience is key. you need to just let it sizzle away until it's ready to be turned.
2. flip each chicken breast and put pan in oven to cook to internal 160F, making sure to flip again half way through.
3. meanwhile, place almonds, mint, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper in bowl and stir well to combine. spoon mixture over the chicken. it will seem oily, but the flavor is wonderful, and the oil is left behind.
sorry for the bad highlights in this photo, i just received my new flash and i'm still learning how to use it!