The rhubarb is thrusting vigorously upwards and our chard which was looking very moth-eaten after the winter has started bursting with new growth. So last weekend we had 2 springly, kingly snacks.
The warmer weather is slowly beginning to arrive and here are two simple but delicious recipes to enjoy indoors or outdoors.
If you're going to do this make sure that your filo pastry is completely defrosted but still chilled before you start. Otherwise you end up trying to speed-de-frost it in the microwave (as I did on this occasion) and you create a lot of mess and much less elegant parcels
To make about 20 bite-sized parcels pick enough chard (spinach would do fine as well) to nearly fill a supermarket plastic bag. Wash it well and then finely chop it. Sweat it in a big pan on a medium heat with some olive oil with a good clove of crushed garlic, salt, pepper and some scrapings of nutmeg (freshly grated is massively more flavoursome than ready-ground). When it's tender (max 5 mins) take off the heat and mix with about 150g of crumbled feta. That's the filling ready.
Melt about 50g of butter. Lay out the first sheet of filo pastry with the long side towards you. Brush it with melted butter. Cut into strips about 6cm wide. Put a good desertspoon of filling on the near end of the first strip. Take the bottom left corner and pull the pastry over the blob of filling and press down on the opposite side of the strip about 6cm up. You should have the beginnings of a triangular parcel. Roll the parcel over and over maybe 3 or 4 times until you've reached the end of the strip. Brush the outside of the parcel with melted butter. Repeat for subsequent parcels until you've used up all the filling. Bake at 220C for about 10 to 15 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Allow to cool slightly before passing round and greedily eating accompanied by a glass of white wine.
I made some utterly simple rhubarb fool. I cut the first few stems of rhubarb, mixed them with some sugar and put them on a baking tray covered in foil in a medium oven for about 20 minutes until they had just begun to soften and issue some juice. I let them cool and then mixed with some rich Rachel's greek yoghurt with stem ginger. And that's it!
Perfect green and pink spring tastes!
By Bill Sewell