The garden is bursting with produce in spite of the heat. Or maybe because of it. Winter was cold. Spring was interminably wet and gloomy. Then summer bursts upon us and we are overburdened with produce. The greenest green – broad beans and peas, chard, lettuce, mizuna, fennel, basil, mint, flat leaf parsley; the brightest reds and oranges – chard, peppers, carrots, radishes; the darkest burgundies of beetroot and black beans, aubergine.
Last night we were tired and edgy and at the last minute decided to go out to eat. The Inn on the Green was closed but its sister pub was open. At The Gamekeepers we scoffed hugely satisfying and piping hot halibut in beer batter with hand cut chips and home made minty mushy peas. But tonight we are going green. Sometimes I yearn to eat plates brimming with green things and tonight is the night for chard. I guess this is really a take on Spanokopita. It uses Fielding Cottage goats curd, and the harder Norfolk Mardler.
Take a handful of chard – more than you think you need. First chop the stems off at the bottom of the leaf, then slice the stems lengthways and chop. The roll the leaves lengthways and slice thinly across the rolled leaf – it’s called a chiffonade apparently!
Add a glug and a half of Yare Valley rapeseed oil or olive oil and a knob of butter to a shallow pan, allow it to heat gently then add the chopped chard stalks and chopped spring onion tops and clamp on the lid. Steam away merrily for a couple of minutes, then add the chard leaf and a cup of peas (frozen if you dont have fresh). When the leaves are only just wilted it is time to grate in two cloves of garlic. Don’t chop it or add it too early – you want the fresh hit of garlic as opposed to the sweet roasted flavour. Season very lightly with seasalt and black pepper. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, unpack your filo pastry carefully and spread in single sheets in one long line, overlapping edges by about 2.5cm having first oiled the edges with oil (I use a mixture of rape seed and walnut oil here. The add the cooled greens along the top edge, then crumbled curd cheese (or you could use feta) and chopped parsley, basil and chives. Oil the edges and turn them in toward the middle, then quickly and carefully, roll it up like a swiss roll, then curl it round like a pinwheel.
It will feel (and is) fragile, but no matter, do the best you can. Use a flat blade or two flat blades. Drop into a springform, loose bottomed tin (I just dust it with semolina or polenta).
Cook toward the top of the oven at 190C for about 25 minutes. When it’s done it looks like this