a culinary trip to greece


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

ready for baking

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).

flaky pies

spinach and feta pies

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!

chicken with almond and mint


  1. Hi, I love this recipe and I would like to make it. However, what kind of mint did you use? Can I omit it and use extra spinach?

  2. Beautiful post indeed Mimi. The pictures are FABULOUS...bad highlights? What are you talking about??? What camera do you use? These are lovely...I especially like the flavours over the chicken. YUM!!

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  4. what a feast! i could eat greek food all day every day and be perfectly happy. that plate of food almost looks more delicious than my eyes can take at this early hour. great post! :)

  5. This looks absolutely amazing. I love the combination of almonds, mint, garlic, and lemon. A feast indeed! Nicely done!

  6. thanks everyone, i'm pretty sure this is the first time using this flavor combo but we loved it!

    and jean: i think the mint is pretty integral to making this a greek spinach and feta pie. so if you can, i'd suggest you still use it. i bought mint from the supermarket, usually that's just peppermint, but could also be spearmint and either one would surely work.

  7. I have a few of Donna Hay's magazines (but haven't bought the latest issue yet) and I agree with you - the magazine is amazing. Beautiful photography and wonderful recipes!
    I will definitely be making these recipes (and buying the magazine).

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Those spinach and feta pies look so professionally made. Perfect appetizers for any gathering. I have to try them.

  9. MMMMM... i don't know what looks tastier, those crunchy pies or the chicken! This is a great recipe... yummmers.

  10. I keep hearing about Donna, but it sounds like I should look into the magazine some more.

    This food looks delicious. I really like it and the mint is a great surprise. Very nice work :)

  11. i love donna! i'd been buying her 'zines for a couple years at the b&n on court st. now i'm a happy subscriber! i got to see her do a live demo last year...she was funny and nice.

    your pies (and photos) look amazing! just like the magazine--donna would be proud. wait until you see the article on beets in the next issue...gorgeous!

  12. I love Donna Hay, too!
    These tarts look super yummy, Mimi, and as beautiful as the ones in the magazine (I'm a subscriber). :)

  13. beautiful!

    i love donna hay. the magazines always look yummy enough to eat too. :)

  14. The individual portions are really special and presentation is terrific.

  15. Seems like a delicious pair of recipes! I would like to make the chicken. It looks like the chicken breast has skin on - is it boneless? Thanks!