I must say I enjoy the stimulation of a magical mystery tour of the refrigerator, freezer, the garden and the pantry to spontaneously decide on what to cook for dinner. My hungry 14-year old son Nitai and my modestly hungry 87-year old father would also be the recipients of whatever it was I was going to prepare, if only I knew myself.
A quick perusal of the cupboard led to me decide to use the last remaining dozen small potatoes, since they were starting to show signs of imminent sprouting. A quick glance at the 3 sheets of frozen butter-puff pastry in the freezer, and it was decided. I’ll bake some flakey stuffed vegie pastries.
I diced and boiled the potatoes with water and a little salt, picked and chopped some Red Chard spinach from my garden, threw that into the pot when the potatoes were almost done along with some peas, then drained the lot in a colander.
Next I heated a pan with a little olive oil, sprinkled in some asafetida, cracked peppercorns, added the potato, pea and chard mixture, threw in a generous handful of freshly picked parsley, a bit more salt, a grating of nutmeg (wonderful with spinach!) some marinated feta, a big squeeze of lemon juice, some animal-rennet-free bitey pecorino cheese, and the filling for the pastries was done.
Time to decide on a salad : some leftover steamed Thai rice from yesterday, along with a whole lot of fresh garden herbs – mint, coriander, parsley, marjoram, Vietnamese mint, some sliced salad greens, thin slivers of red cabbage, my first three baby snow peas of the season (sliced raw) a peeled and diced tomato, and a dressing of homemade mayonnaise, tahini, lemon, a splash of Chinese sesame oil, and a sploosh of olive oil.
I unwrapped the puff pastry, and when it was just thawed enough to cut, I divided each of the 3 sheets into 4 squares. I had divided the filling into 12, and each of these little cups of filling was neatly placed in the centre of each square of pastry.
When the pastry was just thawed enough, I folded the squares in half diagonally and with the addition of nice decoratively-sealed edges, I popped the pastries on baking-paper-lined pizza trays and slid them into a pre-heated 180 C oven.
Golden brown and baked, I allowed them to cool, then it was time to serve, along with the salad and an accompaniment of homemade tomato chutney (my son chose ketchup).
Call them what you will – vegetable turnovers, boureki, samosa, empanadas, pasties – whatever the name, they tasted as good as they looked.