The Sweet Spot

Pastry Chef & Traveler

Spanakopita – Spinach Filo Pie

Hey hey,

Wow, sorry for the MIA but things have gotten out of control at work with those 10-12 hrs shift, and with all those post-holiday syndrome, I just didn’t feel like turning on the computer the moment I reach home. But things are getting in order now and I have some time to post this up.

I actually made this during midnight for one of the World Cup matches (either semis or finals). I’ve always enjoyed working with filo pastry BUT everytime I make anything with filo, it freaks me out a little HAHA.

spinach feta filo pie 3

Filo (or also known as phyllo) are paper-thin translucent sheets of pastry commonly used in Greek, eastern European and Middle Eastern cuisines. Several layers are stacked together with melted butter to strengthen the delicate sheets. More commonly, it is used for baklava, strudels, burek and samosas.

Spanakopita is a Greek spinach savoury pie made mostly from filo pastry. The filling of spinach, feta cheese, eggs and onions are wrapped in layers of filo pastry, then baked till crispy.

spinach feta filo pic

For this version of spanakopita, I decided to add in sundried tomato and some dried oregano herbs and some lemon zest to enhance the flavour alongside feta cheese and some lightly sauteed baby spinach. Leeks can be added in as well but let’s just say that I’m not the biggest fan of leeks.

spinach filo pie

The filling is made by lightly sauteeing baby spinach in garlic oil, drained and added with some feta cheese cubes, egg, herbs, lemon zest and chopped sundried tomato. The oil in the sundried tomato bottle can be kept and used for brushing the filo pastry layers as it would have alot of flavour. I melted some butter and added the sundried tomato oil, brushed each layer of filo (about 4-5 layers) in order to form the pie. Pine nuts are also added to give it some nutty taste and crunch (not that there isn’t enough crunch in the filo pastry)

It also can be made into an individual triangle or cup. Since filo pastry comes in a big sheet, feel free to cut or fold in any shape you want.

spinach feta filo pie

spinach feta filo pie 2

The thin layers of pastry alternating with melted butter resulted in a very crispy pie, especially when it is warm.

Spanakopita - Spinach Filo Pie
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 300g baby spinach leaves
  • 80g jar sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ 250g pack filo pastry
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper to taste
  • 50g butter, melted
Instructions
  1. In a hot pan, toast pine nuts till golden brown. Remove pine nuts into a bowl. Melt butter over a medium heated pan, add in baby spinach and toss. Tip into a sieve, leave to cool a little, then squeeze out any excess water and roughly chop.
  2. Roughly chop the tomatoes and put into a bowl along with the spinach, feta, pine nuts, lemon zest, eggs, dried oregano, salt and black pepper. Mix well.
  3. Carefully unroll the filo pastry. Cover with some damp sheets of kitchen paper to stop it drying out. Melt butter, add in 30-50ml of the sundried tomatoes oil.
  4. Take a sheet of pastry and brush liberally with some of the oil. Drape oil-side down in a 22cm loose bottomed cake tin or cake ring so that some of the pastry hangs over the side. Brush oil on another piece of pastry and place in the tin, just a little further round. Keep placing the pastry pieces in the tin until you have roughly 4 layers, then spoon over the filling.
  5. Pull the sides into the middle, scrunch up and make sure the filling is covered. Brush with a little more oil.
  6. Heat oven to 180C. Cook the pie for 30 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Remove from the cake tin, slice into wedges and serve with a wedge of lemon.

 

 

Grilled Peach & Fig Arugula Salad

peach fig parma ham salad

Bonjour!!

I’m back from my holiday and I came back with lots of peaches and figs from Bastille Market in Paris! so cheap, 1.5 euro for 1kg for peaches and for figs, it’s about 1.50 euro for 500g. So I bought quite a number back. Now they are all super ripe so I have to quickly finish them up. Maybe time for a peach ice cream or a figs pound cake. Uhmm well leave the heavier stuffs aside, here’s a simple salad recipe to sweeten up your appetite. Peaches and figs are really sweet so if it wasn’t for the black pepper vinaigrette, and ham, I would feel like I’m eating a savoury dessert, or a sweet appetizer Haha.

If that makes any sense at all.

grilled peach and fig salad

It is somewhat optional to grill them on the griddle pan but by doing so, it warms up the fruits and gives if more juice and softens the texture. Use Parma ham or proscuitto too add saltiness to the salad, and possibly some cheese and nuts for texture. Very colourful salad I would say but not cheap in terms of the products availability in Malaysia. 2 slices of parma ham is about RM9, 4 figs would be RM 10-12, a bright yellow peach is about RM 4 and a box of arugula is about RM 4 as well, I’m not even counting in the cheese cause they were leftovers. So I’ll leave you with the calculations. But when the produces are easily available in your own country then it makes it a ‘cheap in price but expensive in taste’ salad.

rocket

I really like its sweetness, peppery taste from all the ingredients that I think I may make it again. Peaches and figs are really good fruits to be made into a salad because of its’ vibrant colour and distinctive shapes. Please don’t use any canned peaches for this. thanks.

The salad ‘recipe’ was adapted from A Cozy Kitchen.

Grilled Peach & Fig Arugula Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 1
Ingredients
Dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon good balsamic vinegar
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • Salt
  • 6-7 turns freshly ground pepper
Salad:
  • 4 figs, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Few handfuls of arugula (2 ounces), cleaned and dried
  • 1 yellow peach, sliced
  • 2 slices Italian Parma Ham
  • Brie Cheese
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper; mix until thoroughly combined. Do a taste test and add a bit more salt, if you like. Set aside.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan. When hot, brush with olive oil. Place the figs and peaches on the hot grill, face down and cook for 1-2 minutes, until grill marks appear. Remove and set aside.
  3. To a large mixing bowl, add the arugula. Sprinkle the leaves with salt. Add half of the dressing and lightly toss the salad. Transfer the leaves to your serving plate. Add the peaches and figs to the mixing bowl and toss with a bit of dressing. Transfer the peaches and figs to the serving plate, arranging how ever you like. Top with a few torn pieces of Parma Ham and thin slices of brie cheese.

 

 

Maison Francaise (French House), Kuala Lumpur

MF private dining area

With only a five minute drive from Kuala Lumpur’s city centre, the dreamy and high-end French settings of Maison Française will bring you away from town. From bungalow refurbished to a restaurant, Maison is fitted with elegant chandeliers, black table settings and glimmering glassware, all which create a modern European feel.

mf evening

MF outdoorMaison Francaise Wine cellar

Maison Francaise is one of the restaurants I’ve always wanted to go but just never had the right dining partner (and time). Thanks to Mei for extending the invite for a review session at Maison, I finally got to strike it off my bucket list. The establishment has 3 floors, one of which is a hidden oasis for a private pool parties. The main dining area is on the second floor. Maison’s wine cellar has an extensive wine list with more than 150 premium French wines.

The menu is purely French with dishes like foie gras terrine with onion and apple chutney, roasted snails in red wine sauce with fried onion rings and sauteed dover sole with meuniere sauce. Naturally, the souffle and crêpe Suzette grace the dessert menu. Executive chef, Chef Franck Lamache has an impressive CV with work experiences trailing from renowned 3 Michelin Stars establishment, Crillion Hotelin, Alain Duccase, and Le Taillevent just to name a few. Chef Lamache creates light, refined and healthy food while staying true to authentic French flavours.

MF Chef Frank

MF Asparagus Cream

We started the evening with an amuse bouche of asparagus cream to lighten up and entice the palette.

MF baguette and butter

Next we have a basket of housemade baguette which my friend adores. I always try not to have too much bread prior to any meal because I just want to savour much more food but rest assured the baguette has a crispy exterior while still soft on the inside.

We were served with a chardonnay from the South of France along with our dinner. I really am not the right contender to talk about wines but it was crisp and palatable to go with our meals.

MF smoked salmon avocado salad

For appetizers, we have a home made smoked salmon with an avocado and celery tartar. The avocado were diced to the t and it had a hint of spicy to it. While the combination of salmon and avocado can be gluggy and fatty to the palette, this appetizer proves to be the opposite with a light and refreshing taste instead.

MF Chef Franck

MF squid ink risotto seabass

For our mains, we had a Seared Black Seabass with Squid Ink Risotto and Red Capsicum Sauce. The squid in risotto was cooked to perfection, the hint of parmesan was enough to make it ‘cheesy’ but not overpower the saltiness from the sea. The black seabass was moist and flakey, I only wished that the skin could be more crispy on the fish but otherwise the squid ink risotto was one of my fav of the night!

MF black angus beef

Another main on our menu was Seared Black Angus Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Sauce and Asparagus, Tomato, Celery Root and Brussels Sprout. The beef tenderloin was cooked to a perfect medium rare with hints of fleur del sel on it, resulting in a tender and moist, melt in your mouth texture. We also enjoyed the sides of vegetable of robust flavour. PS : The tomato was so sweet!

We also had a change to red; a cabernet sauvignon from the South of France

MF cheese platter

Before desserts, we had a cheese platter and home made baguette. The Cheese platter had 5 types of cheese from goats cheese, camembert, emmentel, and 2 cheeses from Normandy region; livarot and pont l’eveque and a fig jam. We had an enjoyable cheese session as the owner, Sainy joined us on the table and had a chat with us on her journey of becoming a restaurateur here in Malaysia.

Shortly, we were served with customized cocktails. I know right, what a lovely treat. I was asked the deadly question, what’s your favourite dessert to then determine what type of cocktail should be made for ME! Usually I cannot give anyone a definite answer on what my favourite dessert is. Anyhow I gave an answer of an opera cake. It may or may not be my most favourite but it holds a special place in my heart. HAha for no reason, I just really liked the opera cake, so I take my opera cakes very seriously. Anyway.

Mf cocktails

On the left, is a concoction of lemon and grand marnier for my friend who wanted something lemony, citrusy and refreshing. Think lemonade, refreshing and subtle. On the right is mine, a unique combination of hazelnut, coffee and orange liqueur. It did not remind me of an opera but that wasn’t the whole point. Point is, the ability to capture your taste preference after a meal, to somewhat prepare you for dessert. And I gotta compliment them for being able to do that. I quite liked it and would have finished it if it wasn’t for the endless flow of whites and reds throughout the night.

MF passionfruit souffle

For desserts, we have the famed Maison Francaise Souffle in passionfruit. The size was huge! I mean, we’re talking about about 3″ tall ramekin. As for the cloudy meringue, it was light, airy and creamy unlike souffles made with just beaten egg whites. A combination of creme patisserie and meringue makes a more ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ souffle texture. Was it worth the wait and hype? Well I must say it was!

MF pina colada cake

For another serving of dessert, we had a pina colada entremet topped with mango gelee dressed in traditional french dessert plating. The coconut mousse on a desiccated coconut base and mango gelee paled in comparison to the souffle. The mousse is kept to a decadent light texture to end our meal of the night.

mf famous souffle

Another pic of the souffle maybe?

Overall we had a very good dining experience in Maison Francaise.

Should you not opt for ala cartes, degustation menus of varying prices are available for those who would like friendly introductions to French cuisine. You do pay a premium price for everything here but it is worth it, given the beautiful ambiance and the top food quality.

Maison Francaise
5 Jalan Changkat Kia Peng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.151256, 101.715215
Tel: 03-2144 1474, 019-243 1200
Web: maisonfrancaise.com.my

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