These are two dishes that emerged from my kitchen this weekend:
Quorn, goats cheese, spinach and red pesto parcels
I used puff pastry in this recipe because it was all my local M&S had (and I had done two training runs for my half marathon, so I didn't think it would do too much damage!) - but I would have preferred filo if I could have got it. This was so delicious, and only needed simple green vegetables on the side.
2 Quorn vegetarian fillets or 2 small chicken breasts
100g goats cheese or fetta cheese
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons red pepper and walnut pesto (or any pesto you have handy)
1 sheet puff pastry or filo pastry
1 cup of your favourite tomato-based pasta sauce, heated, to serve
Steamed seasonal green vegetables, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Cut the sheet of pastry in half.
In the middle of each sheet, place a little pile of spinach leaves about the size of your fillet. Top this with the goats cheese or fetta.
Place the fillet on top. Spread with the pesto.
Fold the pastry over the filling and make sure to seal the edges firmly.
Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. It might need longer if you're cooking chicken.
Spoon over the heated pasta sauce and serve with green vegetables.
These are a favourite of mine when eating at Wagamama's or Yo Sushi in London - and I've always wanted to make my own at home. When shopping at the Japan Centre in Piccadilly the other night I saw gyoza wrappers and suddenly was filled with inspiration to make my own on the weekend. It was surprisingly easy, and lots of fun, especially when my darling boy got involved and pretended to be Keith Floyd (I video-ed him making the first one, it was hilarious!). We fried them first, then steamed them, as the recipe on the back said and they were great - but I think next time I would steam them first, and then just quickly sear them each side (which is what I've suggested here). Either way, they were sensational!!
You can of course add finely grated onion, garlic and spring onion to the mixture, but I find those things give me bad breath so I steer clear of them ;)
1 packet gyoza wrappers
1 medium carrot, grated
Small knob of ginger, grated
1 small courgette, grated
Handful of baby spinach leaves, torn up finely
6 water chestnuts, drained, chopped finely
2 teaspoons each of soy sauce, oyster sauce and mirin
Squeeze the grated carrot and courgette of any excess juice and place in a bowl. Add the spinach, water chestnuts and grated ginger. Add the sauces and stir so that everything is well combined.
Have the gyoza wrappers ready with a little bowl of water.
Place a teaspoon of the mixture in the middle, moisten the edges of the wrapper with water, and then fold to enclose the mixture, ensuring the edges are well sealed. You can get all fancy with the edges and do them pleated style, like the restaurants do!
For a great little photo tutorial on how to do it, have a look here.
When all your little gyoza are ready, take them over to your steamer, which you'll have ready and waiting. Steam the gyoza for about five minutes or until the wrappers look translucent when you check them. Drain them briefly on paper towels.
While they are draining, heat a frying pan or wok that you have coated with cooking spray. Once the pan is hot, gently place the gyoza in and sear until golden on one side. Then turn and do the other side.
Serve on a warm platter with sweet chilli and soy sauces for dipping.
Variations: you can of course use whatever vegetables you might have handy - cabbage, mushrooms, etc. just make sure they are diced or shredded finely. You can also add minced pork or chicken to the mixture if you eat meat.
For a filling and delicious healthy lunch, I don't bother with the frying part and drop the gyoza into a pot of simmering miso or vegetable soup, add some soba or udon noodles, soy sauce, some green vegetables such as pak choi, asparagus, baby spinach or even brocolli, and let it simmer for a few minutes until the noodles are tender and the vegetables are cooked. Delicious, great for a winter's day, and a nice bit of nostalgia for me as I think about my days in Melbourne at the Shanghai Dumpling House.... ;P