appy New Year! This was quite rightly a while ago now. January has come and gone and I’ve yet to even blog a shortbread biscuit or mince pie. But I’ve been sunning myself on South Africa’s beaches, drinking from their vineyards and eating…biltong. I don’t regret my absence. However, it has been a shameful while since I’ve given FITP some loving attention. Importantly I must confirm it is NOT because I’ve stopped cooking or experimenting. My pans continue to earn their keep and my fellow friends kept fed and watered. Its been quite an adventure over the past months and that combined with the lack of natural light, I’ve had limited time to take pictures worthy of my perfectionism and blogging standards. Recent stressful distractions at the later end of 2017 have sucked my what would have been ”recipe daydreaming time” for my blogging creations. More so I have sadly (?) opted for either comfort eats or trusty go-tos. That said there have been some blog worthy comfort eats that will have to grace these pages before the summer…
But this Monday evening in early February once again faded into another dark quiet Monday with nothing to excite me except the idea of coming home for dinner and a round of ‘Silent Witness’ (Judge as you will). That coupled with the tight budgets I’ve restricted myself to in order to fund my tenacious sun worshiping this year means that experimenting is also not such an attractive prospect for the bank balance. This dish therefore fits quite nicely. Its amazing what a £1.20 bag of frozen spinach can make and just how far it’ll go. You’re skeptical about spinach going a long way…I can tell. But this could feed a vegetarian army if such a thing exists.
Tip – opt for a larger more shallow baking dish for a better eat. Mine was a little deep and small.
Serves 4-6 (Adapted from Jamie O’s classic here)
- 1kg frozen spinach ‘blocks’
- 1 red onion, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 150g soft goats cheese
- 100g breadcrumbs OR bread
- 100g oats
- 100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 50g flaked almonds
- 250ml creme fraiche
- 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 180.
- Start by sweating the onion in a little oil in a large frying pan until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes.
- Add the spinach ‘blocks’ and turn up the heat to a medium setting. You want to cook out the spinach for a out 10 minutes until the blocks have melted down and you have evaporated the majority of the water.
- Meanwhile, blitz the bread in a processor into breadcrumbs. Season well.
- Add the oats and pulse lightly just to combine.
- Add the cubed butter and blend until you have a crumb like texture.
- Stir in the almonds and reserve this topping for later.
- Once the spinach has reduced in moisture, grate in a good few gratings of nutmeg. Add the mixture to the food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and season well.
- Add the creme friache and the zest of the lemon and pulse to combine. (These steps are optional. If you don’t have a processor you can simply stir the creme friache and spinach together to achieve a more textured mix).
- Tip a third of the mixture into a shallow baking dish (In hindsight, the one I used was a little deep). Crumble over a third of the goats cheese.
- Repeat with the next layer alternating with goats cheese and spinach. (Alternatively, you could add the goats cheese to the spinach mixture and pulse lightly. I preferred having nuggets of goats cheese rather than an overall flavour throughout).
- Once you’ve used up all the mixture, top the spinach evenly with the crumble.
- Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes until the crumble turns a golden brown and the juices from the spinach are starting to bubble up around the edges.
- Dive in!