Sunday feast + bitter greens pie recipe

Hey! It's been a busy couple of weeks for me and things have suffered a little on the cooking front(at least the home cooking front) but I do have a few things I'd like to share today, starting with a bit of a rant about feasting and in keeping with my obsession with pastry parcels of late, a recipe for Middle Eastern pies.

First about feasting, I decided before the weekend it had been waaay too long since I'd had people over for dinner, so I picked up some things at the market on Saturday and started planning. I love planning feasts, they don't have to be complicated but I do like to put on a well rounded dinner when I'm having people over. Usually, I like to serve something small to start, some roasted nuts or chopped vegetables. When it comes to mains and sides, I like to think, would I like all of these things mushed up together on a plate and if the answer is yes, I make it. Something sweet to finish is always good and I've recently become a huge fan of serving fruit at the end of a meal. For a long time(ie. my childhood) I thought a plate of fruit was a totally bogus excuse for a dessert but now I'm old, I like it. It's refreshing and unless you're into fruit art, takes pretty much no effort.

For Sunday's feast, I made a batch of Sam and Sam Clark's fatayer, stuffed with some beautiful greens I found at the market on Saturday to start, which was a bit more effort than roasted nuts or chopped vegetables but still very easy and totally doable in advance. When it came to the goat I was honestly a bit clueless but I took the lead from Farmer Joe(real name) who sold it to me and treated it like lamb. Marinated with cumin and garlic, then slow, slow cooked in a pot with some water, it fell of the bone. For sides, I roasted some pumpkin and onion to have with tahini suace, then dressed some chickpeas with lemon and parsley. I think it's nice too, no matter what you're eating to have a crunchy salad, so I dressed a bowl of cos leaves as well. A sweet note is always welcome in my book and after a big meal like this, I decided a plate of sliced oranges would do.

It was quite a spread so, rather than bombard you with recipes for everything I cooked, I thought I'd share what was for me, the highlight; the pies with bitter greens and sumac. Have you heard of this recipe by the people from Moro? It's famously easy and extremely delicious. I made a pumpkin version last year but on Sunday I fancied a straight green version and they were good. Stuffed with sauteed sorrel, rocket, onion and a good pinch of sumac, so good that cheese and nuts weren't necessary. What about you? Cooked any feasts lately? Have a favourite way to plan a spread? I'd love to hear about it!

Bitter Greens and Sumac Pies

Adapted from a Sam and Sam Clark recipe. Makes 8 entre sized pies. I made these a few hours in advance, right up to the baking stage, then baked them off just before serving. They didn't suffer for waiting. I also found it helpful to divide the filling, as well as the dough into 8 pieces, so that everything was evenly sized.

220 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
100 mls warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg, beaten (optional)


1 tbs olive oil

1 onion, sliced
1 bunch of sorrel, washed, finely chopped
300g rocket, washed, finely chopped
1 tsp of sumac
Salt and pepper

Start with the dough, put the flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Sprinkle the yeast in, then pour the water, slowly mix and add the salt and olive oil as you go. Once everything's mixed, knead the dough on a floured surface for about five minutes. You want a smooth, non sticky dough. Set aside and cover with a tea towel.
Preheat the oven to 230C. Gently saute the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add salt and pepper, then the greens. Cover and cook until wilted, about five minutes. Remove from the pan, season and add the sumac.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and place on a floured surface. Roll into a thin round and fill with about two tablespoons of the mixture(see note above). Sprinkle the edges of the round with water and fold into a trinagle shape. Secure the edges together firmly by pinching and brush with egg wash. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and fold the rest of the pies. Brush each with egg wash for a nice golden finish and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. You'll want to let them rest for 5 minutes to cool down to eating temperature. Serve with yoghurt sauce or a wedge of lemon.

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