Sunday, 23 September 2012

Cathryn Dresser's Roasted Vegetable Strudel

I want it to be summer all over again.  Well a proper summer, not the non-event of a summer that we've just had.  But a proper warm, English summer when you know that you have several weeks of good weather guaranteed ahead (the last time this happened was circa 2003) and you can plan an outdoor social event with confidence. Because I want to make and eat this strudel again.  And share it with my nearest and dearest who wouldn't whinge and whine that it's meat free.
Ready to eat

This recipe is from the current series of the Great British Bake Off and to cut a long waffle short, the flavours in this were amazing.  And I didn't even stick to the actual recipe because I don't have the time, space or patience to make my own filo* nor could I find Slipcote Cheese in the local Morrisons and so I made do with regular feta.  I only made enough for one person - okay so it was a greedy one-person portion that could have been eked out to two people with a green salad, a bottle of chilled chablis and a decadent dessert to follow - but I'd love to go the whole strudel (it's meat free, remember?) and serve this at an evening soiree held at the end of a beautiful summer's day.

Although the recipe sounds involved, it's actually not.  Chop up a lot of veg into little pieces and roast them.  Make some couscous.  Wrap it in liberally buttered filo with some cheese and herbs.  Butter again. And again.  This is a very James Martin-esque recipe.  Bake.  And butter again.

Dame Mary admitted during the programme that she finds it perfectly acceptable to buy your own filo so that makes the whole experience easier.  Plus if you read the original recipe, you need to make the pastry on a massive clear space like your huge, country kitchen table** or similar space.  Or just cheat and use shop-bought filo which will save your time and sanity.

Inside - pre-bake
I learnt from this recipe that the art to successful baked Filo wrapped things is to butter in between every layer.  Ordinarily, I just butter the outside to keep the fat down.  But having buttered the pastry to within an inch of its life, the crust was perfect and crispy - just how I like it.  My arteries are slightly more furred than they were this morning, but it was fully worth it.  Definitely on the make again list.

You can find the recipe online here.  Even though the weather is as miserable as sin outside, and everyone only wants to eat huge, fat winter stews, I can highly recommend this little taste of the Mediterranean to blow those autumn blues away.  And I'd like to wish Cat the best of luck with the rest of the GBBO.

*If you didn't see the episode where Cat made this, she was being shown the Filo-whacking technique by one of her fellow bakers and her pastry ended up on the floor, covered in bits of green carpet.  I don't know if this added to or detracted from the bake that was served on the tellybox, but a similar accident in my house would leave it full of dog hair and bits of chewed up crayon - hence why it's easier to use pre-bought pastry.

**Why is it that none of the GBBO contestants have tiny, clutter-filled kitchens like I do?

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