Thursday, October 11, 2012


I like to think that we've got a plan, so let's stick to it. That said, once we've stuck to it, we're allowed as much improvisation as anyone cares to indulge themselves in.
- Guy Ritchie
Cooking and improvising go hand in hand. The preparation of meals is far from being a stress-free activity, thus in order to carry out that task properly and be in control of the situation during moments of pure adrenaline rush, one needs to be highly resourceful, endlessly witty and extremely flexible. In the kitchen, many things can go awfully wrong or turn out contrarily to what you've expected. Consequently, last-minute decision taking, fast thinking and inventiveness are a necessity at all times, or else you'll panic and everything will go terribly pear-shaped. Besides, it is more fun not to systematically depend on derectives, rely on written formulas and follow them to the letter as fierce self-reliance unleashes your aptitude for brilliancy.

Of course, in pursuance of versatility, fluidity and creative emancipation, a cook must possess a basic knowledge of culinary techniques (master principles and practices, acquire essential skills and know how recipes work by understanding their structure), learn about ingredients and their roles as well as properties (how they taste, with what they can be or can't be paired, etc...), be open-minded as well as adventurous and love to experiment. The key to liberty, virtuousity and dexterity lies within exercise, perseverance and courage. So before you throw the towel and declare that it is impossible to reach this level of adroitness, remember that nothing comes without effort and that great art requires suffering. In life, nothing is free.

Stovetop geniuses have the capacity to quickly and easily assemble amazing dishes even when all hell lets loose in their headquarters and disaster is about to strike. Problems don't appear to affect them and they seem to invariably find a solution to each of them. Similarly to a surfer, a cuisinier confronts the tallest waves of tension with confidence and he/she rarely fails to overcome them by virtue of his/her composure and cool attitude...

Some of us were fortunate to be raised in homes where family members craftily prepared food simply by using their imagination. We consider it a blessing as thanks to those extraordinary individuals, we were introduced to the joys of cooking instinctively and had the possibility to gain a solid erudition just by observing them at work or by playing the apprentice chef or the helpful commis.

As a child and teenager, I used to hover a lot around my grandmothers' and mother's kitchens. These welcoming and soothingly warm rooms were the nevralgic center of their homes and it felt good to hang out there,  because they smelled wonderful and that's where company was to be found. As far as I can remember, I was always attracted to this area of the house/apartment like a moth to a flame. I could not resist sitting at the table and looking at what was happening around the range oven or stirring the pans' contents as well as having a quick taste of the yummy fare surrounding me whenever my granny and mum turned their backs. Over the years, I have swallowed an immense amount of precious information which cannot be found in books and which I constantly put to use on a daily basis.

Spinach Pie 9 2 bis
In the abstract art of cooking,
ingredients trump appliances,
passion supersedes expertise,
creativity triumphs over technique,
spontaneity inspires invention,
and wine makes even the worst culinary disaster taste delicious.
- Bob Blumer
Cooking requires confident guesswork and improvisation-- experimentation and substitution, dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way.
- Paul Theroux
My gastronomic experience has helped me become a dautnless foodie who can face catastrophes and flops without flipping out excessively or being paralized by confusion and the terror of failure. I have solid nerves and more than one trick in my hat. Well, that's maybe not 100% accurate (I'm embellishing things a little here). Nobody's perfect and I'm not a saint, therefore I cannot solemnly promise/gurantee that I won't throw a fit every now and then, fling things across the kitchen, swear like a sailor or behave like a tantrummy diva if difficulties arise (I get easily hot and bothered - LOL). Anaway, despite my occasional loss of temper and moody behaviour, whatever may happen, I'll always find a way out of the painfuland uncomfortable position I am in.

No later than two weeks prior to writing this article, while I was concocting "Spanakopita", a last-minute complication forced me to drastically change my plans. Unfortunately, my store-bought yufka (I make my own when I have enough time on my hands) had an unpleasantly and suspiscious sourdoughyy odor which alarmed me. After some serious pondering, it is with a heavy heart that I decided chuck it in the dustbin (I hate spoiling food and nearly never get rid of anything). Once that was done, I had to come up with an alternative dish. In less than 60 seconds I found the perfect replacement for the inedible phyllo dough and concocted a wholemeal shortcrust pastry in a jiffy. So, for supper that Friday night, instead of Greek börek, "Whole Wheat Spinach And Feta Pie" landed on the menu. Luckily, my sagacity saved the evening, and P. greeted my creation with a beaming smile and sparkling eyes (how rewarding!).

This remarkably luscious, refined tasting, comforting and healthy (rich in fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin A, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc, magnesium, etc...) savory treat can be eaten warm or cold, depending on the season, and the leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator (up to a week) as well as frozen (up to a month) and turned into a much welcomed easy/lazy dinner for knackered workers. Superfood with gusto!

P.S. Next week and for a few days only, I'll be absent from the net (blog & social media), so don't worry if I don't visit your blog, leave a comment on your last post or show any sign of life on either Facebook or Twitter...

Whole Wheat Spinach and Feta Pie
Recipe by Rosa Mayland, October 2012.

Serves 4-6/makes a 24cm pie.

Ingredients For The "Whole Wheat Shortcrust Pastry":
380g Whole wheat flour
1 2/3 Tsps Fine sea salt
100g Lard, cold & cut into small cubes
90g Unsalted butter, cold & cut into small cubes
Enough water to blend (~90-100ml)
1 Beaten egg, for glazing the top of the pie
Ingredients For The "Filling":
1 Tbs Olive oil
3 Medium onions, chopped finely
4 Cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 1/2 Tsp Dried dill
600g Frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped finely
3 Eggs (~63g)
250g Ricotta
250g Feta, finely chopped
50g Mature Gruyère,  cut into small cubes
Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

Spinach Pie 1 1 bis bis
Method For The "Shortcrust Pastry":
1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl/bassin.
2. Add the lard and butter. Rub between the fingers until the mixture is flaky.
3. Pour in the water, gradually, while continuously cutting and stirring with a knife (stop adding water when the dough is stiff - it should not be sticky or wet). Gather up into a soft ball and place it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Method For The "Filling":
4. In a hot frying pan/skillet, add the oil and chopped onion. Fry until translucid.
5. Add the garlic and dill. Cook for another minute.
6. Add the spinach and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
7. Put the mixture in a big bowl and let cool completely.
8. Incorporate the eggs, ricotta, feta and Gruyère to the spinach mixture.
9. Salt and pepper to taste.
Method For "Assembling The Pie":
10. Heat the oven to 200°C (400° F).
11. Roll out 2/3 of the pastry and line the base of a 24cm (9 1/2 inches) pie plate.
12. Fill with the spinach mixture and brush the edges of the pastry with water.
13. Roll out the remaining dough (1/3) and cover the pie.
14. Press the edges of the pastry to seal and trim off the excess.
15. With the remaining pastry, decorate the pie top as desired (leaves, flowers, et...).
16. Prick the top of the pastry case to allow steam to escape and glaze the top with the beaten egg
17. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden.
18. Serve.

You can also make your pastry with plain flour or your filling with fresh spinach and replace the feta as well as the Gruyère by any other cheese of your choice.

Serving suggestions:
Cut into wedges and serve hot or cold with a crisp green salad or a tomato salad.
This pie is perfect for taking on picnics or to potlucks.

Spinach pie 4 2 bis
Pie Aux Epinards, A La Féta Et A La Farine Complète
Recette par Rosa Mayland, octobre 2012.

Pour 4-6 personnes/1 pie de 24cm.

Ingrédients Pour La "Pâte Brisée A La Farine Complète":
380g de Farine complète

1 2/3 CC de Sel de mer fin
100g de Saindoux, froid et coupé en petits dés
90g de Beurre non-salé, froid et coupé en petits dés
Suffisamment d'eau froide afin que la pâte forme une boule (~90-100ml)

1 Oeuf battu, pour glacer le dessus du pie

Ingredients Pour La Garniture":
1 CS d'Huile d'olive
3 oignons moyens, hachés finement
4 Gousses d'ail, hachées finement
1 1/2 CC d'Aneth séchée
600g d'Epinards congelés, décongelés, essorés et hachés finement
3 Oeufs (~63g)
250g de Ricotta
250g de Feta, hachée finement
50g de Gruyère salé, coupé en petits cubes
Poivre noir moulu, selon goût
Sel de mer fin, selon goût

Spinach Pie 8 1 bis
Méthode Pour la "Pâte Brisée A La Farine Complète": 
1. Tamiser la farine et le sel dans un bol.
2. Ajouter le beurre, puis frotter
la farine et le beurre entre les doigts afin d'obtenir un mélange qui ait une texture sabloneuse.
3. Verser l'eau, graduellement, tout en mélangeant bien (ne plus ajouter d'eau quand la pâte atteint la bonne consistance -ni trop mouillée, ni trop collante). Former une boule puis la mettre au frigo pendant que vous préparez la garniture.
Méthode pour la "Garniture":
4. Dans une poêle chaude, ajouter l'huile et l'oignon haché. Faire revenir en remuant constamment jusqu'à ce qu'il soit translucide.
5. Ajouter l'ail et l'aneth. Faire revenir pendant une minute.
6. Ajouter les épinards et faire cuire pendant environ 5 minutes, tout en remuant régulièrement.

7. Mettre le mélange dans un grand bol et laisser refroidir complètement.
8. Incorporer les oeufs, la ricotta, la feta et le gruyère.
9. Saler et poivrer selon goût.
Méthode Pour "Assembler Le Pie":
10. Chauffer le four à 200 ° C.
11. Etaler 2/3 de la pâte et foncer la base d'un plat à pie de 24cm de diamètre.
12. Remplir avec la garniture et mouiller les bords de la pâte avec de l'eau.
13. Etaler la pâte restante (1/3) et couvrir le pie.
14. Appuyez sur les bords de la pâte pour les sceller et couper l'excédent de pâte.
15. Avec la pâte restante, décorer le dessus du pie comme vous le souhaitez (feuilles, fleurs, et ...).
16. Piquer le couvercle de pâte afin de permettre à la vapeur de s'échapper et glacer le dessus avec l'œuf battu.
17. Cuire au four pendant environ 40 minutes, jusqu'à ce que la pâte soit dorée et croustillante.
18. Servir.


Vous pouvez également fabriquer votre pâte avec de la farine ordinaire et faire votre garniture avec des épinards frais ansi que remplacer la feta et le Gruyère par un autre fromage de votre choix.

Suggestions d'accompagnement:

Couper en tranches et servir chaud ou froid avec une salade verte ou une salade de tomates.
Cette tarte est parfaite pour prendre en pique-nique ou pour offrir lors de soupers canadiens.

Spinach Pie 6 2 bis


  1. Voilà juste de quoi se régaler avec une belle en plus c'est sain et équilibré !
    merci Rosa, bises et à bientôt...

  2. I love spinachs and feta and this is georgeous I love too the plates the little tomatos and all your pictures Rosa LOL
    You are an inspiration Rosa!

  3. Beautiful, delicious! Wish I had a slice!

  4. So good to see you with a recipe again, Rosa!!! Missed the B&W entry yesterday.
    A great recipe and absolutely the right choice for me as a tart-lover.
    Please send two pieces over ;-)
    Hugs, Sandy

  5. Beautiful looking spanakopita and love it with whole wheat phyllo. Have fun and enjoy yourself.

  6. Wow! I love this pie! And your photo are so beautiful... ;)

  7. You are killing me with these photos, and pretty much guaranteeing that I have to make it soon.

  8. I haven't made a savory pie in a couple of years, which is sad...

    love the combination of feta and spinach, your concoction turned out absolutely beautiful (as usual... ;-)

  9. Lovely looking pie. I enjoyed your write up, nice writing style you have there. Do visit when time permits.


  10. always such gorgeous photos Ms Rosa!

  11. So beautiful, Rosa! I love the chunks of Gruyère peeking through the spinach filling!!

  12. Je craque complètement pour cette "pie" qui a l'air si bonne ! tes photos sont magnifiques ! Puis-je te demander quel objectif tu utilises pour celles-ci ?

  13. Hi Rosa,
    Another delicious post and a pie to die for as it looks so scrumptious and divine, that I could have this slice straight away!!

  14. Would loooove to have a piece for dinner now!!! Looks irresistible!!!!

  15. This is pie season, and you're my inspiration Rosa. What a lovely combination:Spinach and Feta!
    I love those baby tomatoes as well, they look irresistible! I would love to see this whole post photos in W & B next week. Gros bisous and have a great weekend.

  16. I've made something similar. Tasty, yes, but not nearly as gorgeous as yours. Your photography is just stunning! It's such a pleasure to visit.

  17. You write as well as you foto:-) I am certain you do not throw tantrums:-) You cracked me up..
    C'est bien beau ce plat..
    Oh lala..c'est le robot quiz qui m'

  18. Hi Rosa, I absolutely loved reading your article. And while I haven't been blessed with grandparents to watch while they cooked, my Mum instilled in me the love of fresh, natural food from scratch. Creativity was one of her fortes and I am glad that she was able to teach me to improvise in the kitchen.
    Love the pie and the fact that you've made your own pastry. Love.

  19. Beautiful, Rosa! I love spinach with feta together, how perfect in a savory pie!

  20. Avec un maximum de fromage, ta toute doit être parfumée et moelleuse, à essayer.

  21. Beautiful pie Rosa. If only I could become dauntless in the kitchen...

  22. I've enjoyed many hand-pies with this type of filling, but never a big, bountiful real pie like this one. I bet it's wonderful with all that cheesy filling, too.

  23. Your pie looks pretty good!

  24. Lovely reflections, beautiful post. And a whole wheat spinach and feta pie? Perfect. Thank you for sharing with me!

  25. What a lovely recipe full of great flavors! Love your pictures!

  26. an interesting and tasteful pâte brisée by using saindoux. Liebe Grüsse.

  27. The pie looks gorgeous Rosa!! The photographs are stunning :)

  28. Healthy and beautiful at the same time - I am sure your kitchen must be a wonderful place to hover around.
    Take care.

  29. What a gorgeous tart! Just too pretty and perfect to eat!

  30. Perfect slice and the pie looks so delicious and filling

  31. J'adore ta tarte, elle a l'air vraiment très bonne. La garniture et la croûte me plaisent vraiment beaucoup!

  32. Lovely Rosa! I would smile if I found that coming home!

  33. I've made this with phyllo, but never thought to use a pie crust. Great idea, Rosa and healthy!
    Love the photo of the tomatoes!

  34. My favorite combination of flavors, delicious and healthy!

  35. Now this is my kind of pie! Healthy and so delicious!

  36. Love everything about this pie, the crust and the spinach and feta combination, looks delicious!

  37. Great looking pie - nice flavor combo. I know what you mean about being resourceful and essentially fearless in the kitchen. I mess stuff up much more than I care to admit, but always figure out a way to salvage it. I think you have to achieve a level where everything you do in the kitchen is play (well, almost everything; washing salad greens is just a chore). That's one of the things I really like about your photos - it's so obvious that you play a lot when you take pictures. Anyway, nice post - thank you.

  38. I love greens with feta cheese - working on a kale and feta recipe this week. I will be giving this one a try too! beautiful photos as always :)

  39. Such a delicious combination, feta cheese and spinach.

  40. stupenda fetta...deliziosa torta salata invitante e molto confortante!!!
    ti auguro un sereno fine settimana!

  41. Absolutely delicious and gorgeous photography! I've been looking for a wheat based homemade shortcrust pastry for a while and I will definitely try this out.

  42. lovely lovely photos! shame about the phyllo, but the pie looks delicious. enjoy your well deserved time off, we'll miss you!

  43. your photos and more so, words always capture my heart and I just love the gorgeousness of this tart! If you have time, do send in your photos for my weekly food fotography friday event-your pics will brings colours to my new event.

  44. This looks wonderful! I make a mean meat pie but I have never ventured out to make spinach anything. I bet this is divine.

  45. I need to cook with whole wheat flour more often. Your photos always make me wish I could poke a fork into the computer screen and grab a piece of whatever it is you post.

  46. Absolutely finger licking good and as always gorgeous pictures.

  47. Gorgeous photos as usual Rosa, love the combination of flavours!

  48. Ha I just wrote about the same topic yet maybe not as eloquently as you did. I am fascinated by your special relationship to food and still hope to one day be able to spend a day or two with you in your kitchen watching you work. I love spanikopita and have made it with a bread dough crust which makes for a more consistent meal. Beautiful version and photos, Rosa! Enjoy your time off.

  49. Rustic and beautiful! I love the combo of flavours.

  50. Looking at that wedge of pie I would never have guessed that this was a Plan B recipe. Looks perfect!

    Sometimes I wish I could live in your pictures. The images you capture are always so inviting. :)

  51. ¡Qué bella propuesta! me encanta la combinación,abrazos y abrazos.

  52. I love pies - savory and sweet, but I just realized that I've never had spinach and feta (only quiche style). I love pie's crust and this looks like a perfect fancy lunch/brunch!!

  53. I'd go with that pie any day of the week. Love the use of the wheat flour. My weekday meals are indeed stuff concocted from my childhood - no recipes - just ingredients - and I know them so well. Love the thoughts in this post. They weave a timeless tale of the hearth of the home.

  54. Rosa, this wholewheat spinach and feta pie is perfection whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

  55. I always love a savory pie recipe. Looks gorgeous and completely delicious!

  56. Love this savory pie. Never thought of making a savory pie before, thanks for the inspiration :)

  57. Gorgeous slice of spinach and feta :D

  58. Your experience and knowledge have saved diner ! A good combination of flavors nicely wrapped in a healthy pastry.

  59. Amazing, Rosa, feta and spinach were born to live together! :-D
    Fantastic and comforting pie, well done!

  60. Beautiful pie Rosa, and I love the combination of spinach and cheese...perfect at anytime.
    Hope you are having a fantastic week :)

  61. Délicieuse cette pie avec les épinards et la ricotta!!
    Elle est très jolie avec ce côté rustique!

  62. Cooking instinctively is so much fun. Being able to take a turn in a recipe and get creative is the best. You did a great job of changing your original plan. Your savory pie looks fantastic!

  63. "Stress cannot exist in the presence of pie" - I love it! Spinach and feta is such a hugely popular combination in South Africa but relatively rare here in the UK, so I am LOVING this deep-fill pie! Lovely clicks too...

  64. I'm quite sure that I've left a comment under this post yesterday, but I can't see it and maybe it didn't register. I am very happy that you've changed your mind and made this amazing pie. I like each ingredient and I love savory pies. Good job :)

  65. Yes we must have pie and this looks sensational!

  66. Thanks for sharing such a gorgeous recipe, Rosa. I love the whole-wheat pie crust and the spinach-feta filling. We've tried using all-purpose flour and lard (with my MIL's approval) for pie crust and it sure tastes better than using just butter. I'd definitely try it with whole-wheat next time.

  67. What a delicious pie, something to try for sure. Amazing pics!

  68. Had a meeting with the Swiss Tourism Board tonight and thought of you ~ of course!
    Love the looks of this savory pie :)

  69. J'aime beaucoup cette recette.
    C'est très sympa.

  70. Spinach is one of my fav veggies and this pie looks absolutely stunning!!! Great pics as always :) I think you should send your pics to DMBLGiT..dont have a great chance of winning

  71. Una delicia está de lujo,excelente preparación y fotos únicas,abrazos y abrazos.

  72. I love hat you have used whole wheat short crust pastry - something I have never tried! It looks so flavorful and lovely.

  73. Rosa, beautiful pictures as always!!!
    Love the idea of using whole wheat and of course the filling with spinach and ricotta are the perfect combination. xoxo

  74. Love the stress and pie quote. Such a great way to change up your recipe. Well done!

  75. It's Spanikopita in a tender, flaky whole wheat crust! I love it..I wish I could have the whole pie and a fork. You can have one slice..ok? ;) Amazing as always, Rosa!

  76. What a perfect slice Rosa! :D And I find cooking reduces my stress-depending on the item of course ;)

  77. Hi Rosa,
    Spinach and feta are one of my husbands favorite food combinations. I just know he would devour your pie! Thanks for sharing looks mouthwatering:)

  78. ultra appétissante ta tourte, tout ce que j'aime en plus.

  79. while i tend to prefer sweet pies, this one is undeniably appealing. what a slice! :)

  80. It has got all of my favorite ingredients.....looks delectable....

  81. Gorgeous! I adore feta and spinach. I must make this for breakfast... and dinner.

  82. Spinach and cheese is such a perfect combination, especially in pies and quiches. :D It's an inspiration for me to make one too! Lovely clicks again. Your photography skills are truly amazing.

  83. Dear Rosa, Stunning, stunning photography. You spinach and feta pie looks delicious...I would love to try it with that beautiful crust. Blessings my dear, your friend, Catherine xo

  84. The whole wheat pastry crust sounds terrific! What a scrumptious pie!

  85. Love how you wrote about hanging out in your grandmother's kitchen. I also grew up hangin' in the family kitchen. I felt so safe and warm in there and always looked forward to being the recipe tester....cake batter was my fav! LOL

  86. cette tarte à l'air divine

    bon après-midi gourmand


  87. A lovely piece of pie with all my favourite ingredients - how lovely. You're right that there's something so comforting about pie and I love the rustic quality of yours. As always, it's a real pleasure to stop by here for the photos alone.

  88. Love that David Mamet quote and how quick you are on your feet. I think coming up with a successful last minute solution to save a dinner disaster is one of my favorite moments in the kitchen. Enjoy your break offline!

  89. I am a big fan of pie and yet to try this though. Just by looking at the pix is enough to whet my apettite :)

    Hope you are well and fine Rosa :D

  90. Rosa, so great to see you with a recipe again! Amazing pics :)
    I love sinach and I love feta, but never try them together! Love it!

  91. It looks delicious and healthy!

  92. Spinach and cheese are such great partners and this pastry looks fantastic too, thanks Rosa!

  93. Coucou Rosa,
    Juste un passage pour te souhaiter un bon weekend et j'espère que tu vas bien !
    bises Agnès

  94. J'adore cette très belle recette, toute simple et super parfumée, une bonne occasion d'utiliser de la feta en plus :)

  95. wonderful tart and you deserve cooking so well :-)

  96. way to think on your feet! this looks gorgeous and delicious, awesome job!

  97. A really well-made whole wheat pastry crust with a specially tasty filling!! Wonderful

  98. Hey there Rosa, I love what you wrote about cooking. It's always an adventure isn't it?
    And your spinach pie looks delish!

  99. Je suis d'accord, une belle part de tarte, on savoure, et on oublie le reste! En plus, feta et épinard, un mariage qui est toujours des plus réussis!

  100. Hi Rosa,
    I have tasted Spinach and Feta pie only once and I did like the new taste combination. I'm more of a fan of the feta cheese than the spinach ;-)

    Also I'm so sorry for the loss of your pet cat, he is at a better place now and hope you have the courage to live through it. I just lost a pet parakeet and I had him for just a week, and it felt terrible, so I totally understand how you feel.


  101. Une superbe recette et des photos délicieuses!

  102. WoW....Rosa awesome pics and the combinations of the recipes,you did a wonderful job keep going.
    thanks for sharing this.

  103. une tarte très appétissante même si je ne suis pas trop fan de feta, celle-ci me fait saliver ;). Tes articles sont toujours aussi richement illustrés, quelles belles présentations, un grand bravo à toi je m'en lasse pas. Merci pour le partage et excellente soirée :) Gros bisous

  104. Absolutely gorgeous pie and photos!

  105. Very delicious and healthy. I especially like that crust and will need to make it. And of course beautiful photographs, as always. I like the rustic and simple look of your culinary photographs!

  106. I love it when alternate plans come into play and turn out almost better than the original. So much better to not get in a flap and go with the flow. Your pie looks scrummy.

  107. guauuu como siempre un placer visitarte. Saludos.

  108. Oh mais ça a l'air d'être un régal!

  109. This looks so impressive - I love how healthy yet totally delicious it is! The quote about pie and stress is so true :)

  110. Des photos toujours splendides!
    Plus je me promène sur ton blog plus j'y passe du temps! Bravo