Marinated Feta with Garlic, Chilli and Fresh Herbs
I love this Marinated Feta recipe. For me, it is the perfect example of how by adding a few flavouring elements – garlic, chilli and fresh herbs – you can transform simple feta cheese into a truly memorable dish. It is so easy to make and it keeps for up to a month in the refridgerator. This is food preparation that anyone can do. It does not require any level of culinary skill but allows you to be creative with flavours and produce something that is tailored to your individual taste. Marinated Feta is also really versatile and is great as a nibble with drinks or on bread as a light lunch. It is also excellent for picnics as it can be transported easily in its own jar.
A cultural mix-up….
Clearly, Marinated Feta is not a traditional English dish but, using herbs from my garden, it brings a bit of sunny Greece to cooler northern Europe. One of the wonderful things about modern English cooking is the way it is influenced by cuisines from other countries which are absorbed and adapted. I think that this is what cooking and developing recipes is all about. In a strange way, this dish is actually inspired by memories of my rural English childhood when, not so long ago, access to foods from other countries was not so common as it is now. When I was about ten, a wonderful Greek delicatessen opened in my local town, bringing olives, dolmades, taramasalata and wonderful Marinated Feta to greedy locals! I loved the garlicky, herby feta and, many years later, tried to recreate it in this recipe.
… and the perfect recipe for experimentation!
I have made this recipe using garlic, chilli and have chosen to use bay leaves, rosemary and thyme as my fresh herbs. However, you can change the flavour combinations according to what you have to hand and what you think tastes good. Don’t like chilli? Leave it out. Love garlic? Put more in! If you have other favourite herbs, why not try them instead?
Feta Cheese, marinated with garlic, chilli and fresh herbs, takes minutes to prepare and keeps for up to a month. It is fantastic as a nibble with drinks or spread on bread for a light lunch. It is also great for a picnic as it is easily transportable.
150 g feta cheese
3 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme (to provide 2 tablespoons of leaves)
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional)
300 ml good quality olive oil
Sterilise a 500 ml capacity jar by washing it in soapy water and then putting it in an oven at 120 C for 15 minutes.
Chop the feta into cubes of approximately 1 cm square and place them in the jar.
Tuck the rosemary sprigs and the bay leaves around the cheese. Strip the leaves off the thyme stems and add them to the jar.
Peel and slice the garlic cloves and add them to the jar.
If using, scatter the chilli flakes over the top of the cheese.
Fill the jar with the olive oil making sure that all the cheese is covered.
Put the lid on the jar and leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours, ideally several days, for the cheese to absorb the flavours of the garlic and herbs.
The marinated cheese will last for up to a month.
When you wish to eat the cheese, remove the jar from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. This will mean the oil is liquid and the flavours are fully developed.
Marinated feta is great on its own as a nibble with drinks. It can also be spread on bread as a light lunch. It is a good option for picnics as it can be easily transported in its jar.
Use this recipe as a basis and experiment with flavours that you like. If you don’t like chilli, leave it out. If you love garlic, put more in. You can alter the quantity and type of herbs used.
Feta Quiche with Roasted Peppers is the perfect easy lunch or supper dish. The peppers are roasted to bring out their sweetness and combined with salty feta and anchovies which provide a big punch of flavour. If you are a vegetarian, or simply don’t like anchovies, salted capers are very good alternative.
I love roasted peppers! I roast my peppers by cutting them in half and putting them cut side down on a sheet of silver foil under a hot grill. Once the skin has blackened and charred, I wrap them up in the foil and leave them to cool. The steam from the hot peppers will loosen the skins making it easy to remove them. The process of roasting intensifies the flavour and sweetness of the peppers and adds an extra smoky taste dimension. I often use this method to produce a simple Roasted Pepper Salad but the it is also a great way of preparing peppers for use in other dishes.
So many peppers…
There are many types of sweet peppers available in stores and in farmers markets today. I particularly like the long, pointed Ramiro Peppers or Romano Peppers. These come in red, orange and yellow and are sweeter and, in my opinion, more flavoursome than the more common Bell Peppers. However, any type of pepper can be used in this recipe and any colour – red, orange or yellow. Just make sure you don’t use green peppers as they do not have the natural sweetness you need in this Feta Quiche.
….and so many quiches!
I make a lot of quiches and savoury tarts. In my view, they are one of the most versatile and useful dishes. They are easy to make and easy to divide into portions, they can be made in advance, they can be served hot or cold, there are a lot of vegetarian options which still seem to please meat-eaters and there are lots and lots of possible flavour combinations. Some of my favourites from this blog include Asparagus Quiche (early summer on a plate), Caramelised Onion Tart (a classic), Carrot Tart (a successful experiment), Garlic Tart (double garlic, what’s not to like?) and Beetroot Tart (love it or hate it!).
This Feta Quiche with Roasted Peppers and Anchovies is an easy lunch or supper recipe which can be made in advance and served hot or cold. You can use salted capers instead of anchovies if you are a vegetarian.
For the pastry:
275 g plain flour
125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
A little water
For the filling:
4 red peppers
Salt and pepper
1 tin anchovies or 1 tablespoon of capers
100 g feta cheese
100 ml double cream
Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl. Add the fat and combine – either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
Roll out your pastry and use it to line a 25 cm quiche or flan dish. Bake for 15 minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”. This will stop the filling making it soggy and ensure that the base is crisp.
Next prepare the peppers. Cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the stalks and seeds. Place the pepper halves skin-side up on a grill pan covered in foil.
Place the pan under a hot grill for around 10 minutes until the peppers are black and charred. Wrap the silver foil that you used to line the pan around the peppers and leave to cool. The foil will form an envelope around the hot peppers and the steam that they give off will help to loosen their charred skins.
When the peppers are cool enough to handle you should be able to peel off the charred skins.
Roughly chop the skinned peppers and scatter them over your pastry case. Finely chop the anchovies and crumble the feta cheese and add these to the pastry case as well. If you are vegetarian, or just do not like anchovies, capers are a good substitute.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the cream, and beat until combined. Pour into the pastry case.
Place your quiche or flan dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
This Feta Quiche can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.
Keywords: feta cheese, peppers, anchovies, quiche, tart
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Filo Triangles with two fillings – “Feta Cheese and Mixed Herb” and “Roasted Butternut Squash, Chilli and Pinenut”
These filo triangles are really easy to make and can be served hot or cold. I generally make a batch of 14 filo Triangles – half with each filling as they complement each other. The “Feta Cheese and Mixed Herb” filling is creamy, salty and allows the flavour of your chosen herbs to sing out. The “Roasted Butternut Squash, Chilli and Pinenut” filling is rich and sweet with a buzz of heat with texture provided by the pinenuts.
Both versions make a great lunch or supper, and are really good in lunch boxes and on picnics. They are also fancy enough to be served for dinner parties or more formal occasions. If I am trying to impress, I serve them with a Green Salad with Edible Flowers. This is easy (and beautiful!). Just take salad leaves such as lambs lettuce, maybe add additional bits such as cucumber or avocado – I tend to stick to green things so flowers are obvious – and dress with vinaigrette. Scatter edible flowers, such as violas or primroses, on top.
These crispy filo triangles, filled with tasty vegetarian fillings, make a great lunch or supper.
Ingredients: Filo Triangles
1 packet of filo pastry (270 g or 7 sheets)
100 g butter (melted)
Filling: Roasted Butternut Squash, Chilli and Pinenut
Half a butternut squash
1 red onion
Salt and pepper
75 g feta cheese
Half a fresh red chilli (finely chopped)
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
50 g pinenuts (roasted)
Filling: Feta Cheese and Mixed Herb
75 g feta cheese
75 g cream cheese
A large bunch of mixed, fresh herbs to taste (parsley, basil, chives, fennel fronds)
I spring onion
Black pepper to taste
Method – Feta Cheese and Mixed Herb filling
Crumble the feta into a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and mix thoroughly.
Finely chop the mixed herbs and spring onion and add to the cheese mixture. Season with black pepper (no need for salt as feta is very salty).
Method – Roasted Butternut Squash, Chilli and Pinenut filling
Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
Peel your butternut squash and chop into small chunks (around 2 cm). (You will only need half of the squash for the filling but I generally roast it all and serve the other half of the chunks as an accompaniment.) Cut the red onion into quarters leaving the skin on. Put the squash chunks and onion pieces on a baking tray, sprinkle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 30 minutes until soft and slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Roughly mash the butternut squash. Remove the skin from the onion and roughly chop and combine with the butternut squash in a mixing bowl. Crumble the feta cheese into the bowl with the vegetables. Add the finely chopped red chilli, the crushed garlic and the roasted pinenuts.
Method – Assembling the Filo Triangles
Cut each filo sheet in half lengthways and brush all over with melted butter. Put a spoonful of the filling at one end of the filo strip, and fold into triangles so that it is encased in several layers of filo.
Put the filled filo triangles on a baking sheet and brush the top of each with melted butter.
When you have made all your filo triangles, return the baking tray to the oven and cook at 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.
Remove the filo triangles from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. They can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature.
Keywords: filo pastry triangles, butternut squash, feta, chilli