I have had a couple bunches of spinach in the fridge for the past week and all the intention in the world to put them to good use. Yesterday was the day to finally rip the stems off, blanch the leaves and eat it. The boys are in a bit of a panic, they see me in the kitchen with the spinach and come running in saying "Are you making lunch? I am NOT eating that!' And there is Max pointing to the spinach in my hand. I take a deep breath and remind him that when I use to make spinach pies in Italy he gobbled them down and asked for seconds- his reply to that was 'Well I was younger then, I hate it now'. At this point I shoo him out of the kitchen and continue with lunch.
I love spinach pies though looking in the fridge I find most of the ingredients I bought for this dish have been used during the week (that is what you get when you leave it to late), so I decide to 'create'. I still had the filo dough in the freezer, so I pull that out and continue with the idea of filling in with something.
One of my favorite flavor combos are onions, butter, garlic and bacon. I know I am going to have to put bacon with the spinach to get the boys to even consider trying it. I find some mushrooms in the fridge and thought- why not, that ought to put Max right over the edge!
However Alex does like mushrooms and bacon so I stick with this plan. Once I have sauteed the butter, onions, bacon and mushrooms for 5 minutes to get them brown and soft I turn off the heat and pour in a splash of brandy removing the rest of the sediment from the pan (plus I love brandy with mushrooms). When it has cooled I add it to the chopped spinach with an egg, parmesan and bread crumbs (from the 3 day bread), give it a good stir and there is my filling.
I decide to use extra virgin olive oil on the filo dough, just for a healthier alternative and it works really well. Because I waited so long to use the spinach I didn't have as much as I'd like so ended up making a log shaped 'pie'- not really a pie at all!
It was cooked at 400 for 20-25 minutes and the smell was wonderful, I even got a 'Ohh that smells good' from Alex.
When we finally sat down for lunch I served it with a chickpea, black bean and corn salad dressed in a parsley, balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette. The flavors worked really well and I figured if the kids really didn't like the spinach log then they could at least eat the salad.
The food went on the table and it was greeted with 'That looks disgusting!' Alex of course follows his brothers lead and decides that maybe he shouldn't like it either (at this point I want to kick Max under the table) instead I just tell him to at least try it before hating it. Alex digs in first and can't get past the 'green stuff'. I assure him there is bacon and cheese in there- just try it. After Nic and I have eaten half of ours Alex plucks up the courage to try some and low and behold thinks it IS good, Max however is still kicking around the chick peas. Finally I loose my cool and say 'just try it for goodness sake, it has everything you love'. After a couple of bites he lets us all know- 'well it does LOOK disgusting but it really tastes yummy mum.' He eats half and then tells me his is full. Alex gobbles down the salad and half of his spinach log so I figure it was worth the effort even though they didn't finish it.