Hottest day of the English year so far this day. I’m not going to say what it is because my South African relatives will split their sides laughing at what I consider ‘hot’, but I’m super happy. It’s weather to shed the heavy black winter coat and boots and get into the bright orange summer dress (that may or may not have cats on it) and sandals. There’s quite a few more staircases to climb before I can crack out the hotpants though. Don’t ask about bikinis – I haven’t touched a swimming costume in over a decade, you can’t fool anyone about anything in that get-up. The fact that my corpsey skin burns in all of three seconds also makes it severely masochistic behaviour.
Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards. The evenings are long and light, flowers are out, people are happy. I have been cramming in the asparagus, jersey royals, samphire and watercress but a craving for mushrooms kicked off. Vinnie doesn’t like mushrooms so I rarely cook with them at home, but up in London it’s free choice! There are some lovely wild mushrooms available now, including the beautiful chicken-of-the-woods and a lovely pie, served warm or cold, is always a beautiful way to show them off.
My pie is made with filo pastry and I shaped it in a small, shallow springform tin – I, stupidly, didn’t glaze the inner layer of filo with butter leaving it quite pale, but that is easily rectified. The filling can easily be made in advanced and stored away for a few days.
Serves 2-3 (halve recipe for 1)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: Between 30-45 minutes for filling and 10-15 minutes to cook in the oven.
- 300g mixed mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped parsley
- 1/2 clove garlic
- 100g spinach
- 20g gorgonzola
- 5 chopped black olives
- 1 teaspoon tomato puree
- 200ml dark ale
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 5 sheets filo pastry
- Roughly chop all the mushrooms, crush the garlic.
- Cook the mushrooms and garlic with the parsley in butter over a low heat in a saucepan until the mushrooms are very soft. Stir in the puree and add the ale. Cook for 15-30 minutes until the ale has reduced by half and the sauce is thickening.
- Stir in the olives and add the spinach, stir in to wilt and take off the heat. Crumble in the gorgonzola and zest. Season.
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- In an ovenproof dish, start layering up the filo, spreading a little melted butter between each layer. Spoon in the filling and fold the top layer of filo over, but not covering the filling and roll the rest together to make a rim. Glaze with butter – remember to glaze the top layer or it ends up pale like mine!
- Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is golden and stable.