You should always keep a pack of filo in your freezer. Because you can pretty much wrap anything in it and you have dinner already. And to be fair, I don’t know a single virtuous Middle Eastern housewife who actually makes her own pastry. Although if you insist, and you do have the patience of a saint, you’ll find a recipe below.
A super-cheaty easy supper for 4-6
- 1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 courgette, cut into small cubes
- 50 g raisins (DR113)
- 1 x 400 g tin of chickpeas, drained (VF117)
- 300-350 g turmeric pickle
- Sunflower oil, for cooking (GT080)
- 400g pack filo pastry, defrosted
- Preheat the oven to 190C (gas mark 5)
- Place the cauliflower, onion, courgette, raisins, and chickpeas in an ovenproof tray and rub the pickle all over the veg. Add a couple of teaspoons of extra oil, cover with foil and bake for around 35 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
- Open the pastry carefully: filo dries out super-fast and is quite useless when it does. Either work quickly or keep the pastry covered with a damp cloth until you are ready to use it.
- Oil a baking tray (our baking trays are 36 x26cx/ 133/4 x 101/2in and fit filo sheets perfectly) and spread the first sheet of pastry across it. Brush (or dab – I can never find my pastry brush, but kitchen paper dabbed in oil does just fine) the surface of the pastry with more oil and add a second sheet. Continue until half the pack of pastry is used (most shop-bought filo has 30 sheets in a box, so you will use 15 underneath and 15 on top), and then spread the cooked cauliflower across the tray.
- Next, layer the rest of the pastry across the veg, oiling between each sheet and brushing the top with more oil. Use a sharp knife to trim away any bits of pastry hanging over the edge, and then prick the pastry all over with a fork.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with a crisp green salad.
Make your own filo
- Gather 350g/12oz plain flour, 30g/1oz olive oil, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and about 150ml/5fl oz water together. Mix all the ingredients well – you are aspiring to a sticker and very soft dough. Roll the dough in a little more olive oil and either wrap in clingfilm or place in a bowl under a wet cloth. After about 1 hour you can roll the pastry out on a well-floured board: divide it into little balls and roll each one out into flatter than flat sheets. If you are not using the pastry straight away, roll it in greaseproof paper and then clingfilm and freeze it.
Recipe from Veganistan by Sally Butcher, published by Pavilion.
Photography by Yuki Sugiura