So, my first food blog saw me not take enough photos and my latest perhaps has seen me taking too many. I will get the balance right soon! Food blogging is not easy – that’s for sure!
Right, on with my recipe. This veggie plait is so easy, that I will officially go all out and say, if you cannot make this, you cannot cook! It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 20-25 minutes to cook, and is as good as a Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal.
If like me, your summers are too busy to labour over cooking, I cheat and buy ready-made puff pastry. It makes sense. I don’t give myself a guilt trip over it. I’ll happy make home-made pastry all day long in the winter, when I have the time.
So you will need;
- Ready-made or home-made puff pastry – if it comes in sheets use a sheet of it, if in a block, half of the block.
- 2 red peppers, finely chopped
- 2 yellow, finely chopped
- 2 courgettes, finely chopped
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 2 garlic gloves, chopped
- Two or three handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
- A block of goats’ cheese.
- Some fresh herbs, basil or parsley
- Ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- Beaten egg to brush the pastry
And this is what I do.
In a frying pan, I heat a tablespoonish of olive oil, I add the garlic and then the onion after a few minutes. Then I add all of the peppers and courgettes. Keep stirring every so often so that all the vegetables eventually soften and maybe even start to brown a bit. When the veg is nearly done I add the spinach, as this needs a fraction of the time and then some black pepper and a sprinkle of the herbs. NOTE: You can oven roast all the veg if you want. I do the frying pan method when I haven’t the time, as my oven seems to take forever to roast vegetables.
Dust your surface with a bit of flour, and roll out the pastry into a rectangle shape about (20cm by 25/30 cm). I don’t have a ruler, so in my mind I try to make a shape just a bit bigger than an A4 sheet of paper. I put the pastry on greaseproof paper and on a baking try before I add the veg, as it can be a bugger to pick up the finished plait and transfer intact to a tray.
Place all the veg into the middle of the pastry, so that it makes its own column of vegetables, leaving about 5 cm of pastry on each side of the veg. Then slice the goats’ cheese up and line them up on top of the vegetables. I love cheese, so I’m quite partial to using up the whole block! Then, I add the rest of the herbs on top and a little more black pepper.
Now for the most skilled part of this operation. You need to cut slits into the pastry, starting from the inside out, leaving about a finger width away from the veg. I usually do the slits two finger widths wide, leaving a finger width in between each slit. Most importantly, cut the slits so that they are slanting away from you. Brush with the beaten egg, save some for the outside of the pastry.
Now, plait the pastry so that it makes a nice pattern (a plait) down the centre of the pastry. And if you don’t know how to plait (alternating one slit over the next, the next over the next and so on) then just make any kind of viable pattern that basically holds the pastry together and keeps the vegetables inside, and then brush with the rest of the beaten egg. We’re going for taste here, not looks, although a nice pattern can be impressive, if thats your aim. Bung in the oven on a medium heat and watch the golden colours form and enjoy the smell of the goats’ cheese as it starts to cook. Take it out when it looks cooked! Or as I love to do, sample it and see if it is cooked. It should be cooked within 20-25 minutes maximum. And enjoy!
I usually serve mine with a nice green salad, as our grapes are gorgeous this year. I made a nice grapey, green leaf salad to go with it and a balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and wholegrain mustard vinegarette for the salad. Yum, yum in my tum.
I have to say, I have made this recipe thousands of times and it really does not have to be accurately done to be a taste triumph.