What to cook for dinner? Getting something on the table that is tasty, nutritious and tempts each of the different palates in our house is quite the task. Sadly there are no accolades or medals for achieving this superhuman feat on most nights of the week – the best I can hope for is the occasional ‘Mum, that’s my favourite’ or ‘Mum, you’re the best’ when I’ve made something particularly appetising. Mostly my kids just eat – at times begrudgingly, especially when the nutrition factor outweighs the wow factor – generally pushing the vegetables that I’ve cut into itty bitty pieces (read ‘hidden’) around their plate.
On this particular occasion, it was late Sunday afternoon. We’d had a busy weekend, and had been out for a big lunch earlier that day. The energy levels were low, the fridge a bit bare. Perhaps a light dinner of scrambled eggs on toast was called for? But first, I would cast my eye over the weekend papers. They were looking a little lonely there on the coffee table.
I learn that French actor Louise Bourgoin, who poses in lacy lingerie, finds philosophy comforting (particularly that from pre-Socratic times); making movies in Kabul has its challenges; and how a Californian bungalow has been given a ‘modern and colourful’ makeover. Interesting, but not particularly life changing. However, I do see that Bill Granger is talking Turkish – and he’s speaking my language. I read how to make spinach, mint and pinenut Gozleme – a Turkish take on Greek spanakopita – and I’m salivating. It’s unlikely that we have all the ingredients to compose his dish, but I do a quick mental inventory regardless: I bought spinach the other day, and it will go to waste if I don’t use it; my husband made pesto with basil from our garden last week and there’s still a generous handful of pinenuts in the pantry; feta is a no brainer, that’s a staple in our fridge; and woo hoo, mint is growing strong and luscious in our garden. We even have a sad looking lemon in the fruit bowl. All the planets have aligned. My dinner mojo is back.
The kids look somewhat alarmed when I hop up, energised, and start making pastry like a woman possessed. I roll out thin circles of dough and fill them with cooked spinach, pinenuts, feta and mint. I seal each one up and in the hot pan they go. Even the youngest, who isn’t a fan of spinach, thinks they’re pretty good. They rest of us think they are amazing – the golden, crispy skin of the pastry; the feta oozing out as you bite into them, and the mint and lemon zest add a high note to the subtly flavoured spinach. Ooh, so much better than eggs on toast.
But the best thing of all? I doubled the recipe and made enough to freeze. That’s another dinner taken care off. Now, hhrmm, where is that medal?