In Need Of Greens
In my wayward youth, I spent a hedonistic summer living on the Greek island of Crete. One of my favourite things to do was to wake early, before the tourists and touts, and wander through the old town. Tiny yiayias in black headscarves would be out sweeping their doorways. Wide toothless grins lit up faces weathered by hard work, war and wonder. Full lives up and firing at 5am!
The bakery was on the outskirts of the village, but the toasty aroma of pastry heaven led the lost by their noses, through the maze of meandering streets. The girl behind the counter, a Miss all of twelve, had doe eyes rimmed in inky lashes. So lovely in her grecian bloom. She spoke no English and had no map for my mispronounced Greek, so every pastry purchase was a luscious surprise.
My favourite contained cheese and wild bitter greens harvested from rocky hillsides. The blazing sun, combined with dry volcanic soil perfumed all the local produce with a faint note of wild thyme and dry oregano. Dark nutritional greens that nourished sad livers, tired and yellow after too much raki and retsina.
At home in the vege patch, the spinach was competing with the kale for verdant supremacy and the ruby chard was enormous! I remembered my favourite greek pie but I wanted a pastry that could match the greens for whole goodness. I found just the ticket. Crunchy and flavoursome, this pastry is so amazing and contains barely a lick of oil. ( I know! You can thank me afterwards). Serve it with tomato or beetroot relish. Yum!
3/4 cup polenta
1 cup of SR flour
3/4 cup buttermilk (or half skim milk, half yoghurt)
2 T olive oil
big basket of mixed leafy greens
350 grams feta
1/2 t dried dill
1 t dried mint
1 T lemon zest
thin mandolin sliced potatoes blanched ( I used 3 large pontiacs)
1/2 cup grated cheese ( I used a mix of parmesan and tasty)
*Mix pastry ingredients in a bowl and then knead until smooth, cover and put in the fridge for a rest.
*Heat large pan with a dash of olive oil and caramelise leeks, add garlic and then wilt the greens.
*Remove from heat and add the rest of the filling ingredients.
*Roll out pastry in one large oval shape until about 3mm thick and place on an oven tray.
*Spoon filling on top of pastry and spread out leaving a 5 cm border.
*Single layer of potato slices on top and spread with cheese. Then add a second layer of potatoes.
*Fold over edges