Blame it on the relentless heat we’re experiencing here in Perth of late or being ‘carb’ed’ out from the mass baking I engaged in over February but I’ve lost my cooking mojo a bit this month. When it’s 39C outside, the last thing you want to do is turn the oven on and replicate the stifling heat in the kitchen. Fortunately, we’ve been promised a cool change of sorts soon and given I have some fun cooking projects ahead of me this month (Daring Cooks, Daring Bakers, Sweet Adventures Blog Hop), I’ll no doubt have my oven mit on again soon.
There’s probably another reason why I haven’t been overly enthusiastic about cooking (baking in particular); I am watching my darling husband’s cholesterol intake. His LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) isn’t scary high but it needs to be balanced out more by HDL (good cholesterol). Thus, I’ve had to eschew recipes involving butter, eggs, cream and other delicious but LDL laden ingredients in favour of cholesterol fighting foods such as nuts, avocado and oats. Yay…
Actually, I’m quite enthused by the challenge of cooking food that’s heart friendly. I’m going to use more almond meal and olive oil in baking, and once I work out a good recipe for low/no cholesterol cakes and treats, I look forward to posting them up. Regardless of age, it doesn’t hurt to start being mindful of food intake and the impact of overeating certain things.
One ingredient that I’ve fallen in love with in light of hubby’s present dietary requirement is filo pastry. It’s fairly low in fat and contains no animal fat. Unfortunately many recipes involving filo call for a lot of melted butter to spread over the layers so please don’t eat a tray of baklava thinking it’s good for you :)
As a light dinner for hubby, I came up with Sweet Potato, Chorizo & Spinach Filo Pie after a few attempts with just spinach and feta. My husband doesn’t mind going meat free but just a few pieces of chorizo works a treat in this pie, and the sweet potato lends wonderful taste, texture and most importantly, fibre! I leave out feta mainly because cheese is not a friend of the cardiovascular system but those not having to worry about such things are welcome to add feta (I used low fat ricotta instead). If egg yolk is a concern for those really needing to watch what they eat, you can simply use egg whites or a combination of white and yolk that best suits your requirement.
My recipe is for use with a Thermomix but the pie filling can be cooked over the stove also.
Sweet Potato, Chorizo & Spinach Filo Pie
1 spring onion
1 clove garlic
1 cup of diced sweet potato (roughly 1.5cm cubes)
1/3 cup of chopped chorizo (omit if meat is not allowed and add more sweet potato in place)
2 cups of spinach leaves
100g low fat ricotta
3 eggs (I used two eggs + 1 egg white), whisked
salt/pepper to taste
8 sheets of filo pastry (the sheets can be halved and doubled over if large)
olive oil margarine, softened enough for spreading (butter can be used if you do not have dietary issues)
To make: Preheat oven to 190C. Prepare a pie plate with two or three sheets of filo, spreading olive oil margarine between layers with pastry brush. Put aside.
Drop the clove of garlic into the TMX bowl while running on Speed 10 to chop up finely. Stop the maching. Add spring onion into the TMX and chop up roughly for a few seconds on Speed 5. Add 30g of olive oil (or canola) and saute garlic and spring onion for 2 minutes on 100C/Speed 1. Add diced sweet potatoes and cook on 100C/Speed 1 for 5 minutes. Add chorizo and spinach and cook for a further 3 minutes on 100C/Speed 1. Allow mixture to cool slightly. Drain any excess liquid from the TMX carefully then add ricotta cheese. Do a quick blitz on Speed 7 for two seconds to combine. Add whisked egg and blitz again on same speed and time.
Pour half of the filling into the pie plate over the filo base and spread evenly. Add two more sheets of filo, with margarine spread on each layer. If filo needs to be folded over to fit the plate, that’s fine. Add remaining half of filling onto the second filo layer and cover with remaining sheets of filo, also spread with margarine on each layer. Tuck any protruding filo back into pie or cut off. This pie isn’t meant to look pristine and neat! Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes or until top layer of filo browns. Allow to cool a little before serving, or serve at room temperature.