Spinach is an impressively versatile ingredient. Graced with heaps of inimitable flavour and significant nutritional value – a trait famously demonstrated by Popeye – this superfood has no trouble stamping its unique mark on many a dish. Despite this, simplicity is the key when attempting to unlock the full potential of spinach; a knob of butter is all that is necessary to bring to the fore its vibrant colour and delicious, though complex, flavour. Once wilted, this iron and calcium rich plant serves very well as a topping for toast, morning, noon and night – throw an expertly poached egg into the equation and what you have is a meal fit for any occasion.
Waste is not something I’m accustomed to. In fact, there isn’t a word less synonymous with ‘frugal’, than ‘waste’. It’s the reason why we drag three meals out of one chicken every weekend and the reason why I refused to throw out spinach that was past its best. It’s really rather awful that the society in which we live promotes such an atrocious thing as waste. What I’m about to say may appear to promote the antithesis of what my blog is about, but supermarket deals aren’t all they are cracked up to be. By offering you more for your money the supermarkets aren’t attempting to be nice, or to give something back to the consumers. They are partaking in an act of commerce, otherwise known as marketing. By handing down offers the only thing big business supermarkets are doing is luring the consumer into buying one more of each item. If treated carefully and respectfully, indulging in the offers of a supermarket can be a very positive thing. However, buying more of an item, which is then thrown away, will always wind up having a negative effect on one’s wallet – whether you realise it, or not.
Anyway, that got a little heavy didn’t it? It may come as a bit of a surprise to you all, but I do hate preaching. Being preached at tends to awaken some form of primal urge within me. An urge to treat the small, condescending man standing on his soap-box in front of me with more than a little rage. However, far be it from me to destroy his beliefs and knock him from atop his rather altitudinous horse. Indeed, I don’t necessarily expect you to agree, or comply, with what I am saying. But, wouldn’t it be rather nice if people approached the ‘big shop’ with a little more understanding and a little more frugality? After all, waste is not only an issue for one’s wallet, but also an issue morally and environmentally.
Baked Spinach Balls with Yoghurt Dip
• 300g fresh spinach
• 100g breadcrumbs
• 50g parmesan cheese, grated
• 1 egg
• A knob of butter
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 5 tbsp greek yoghurt
• A handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
• Olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Wilt the spinach in a large saucepan with a knob of butter and half of the garlic. Transfer the spinach to a mixing bowl and add 80g of the breadcrumbs, the parmesan cheese and the egg. Give the ingredients a thorough mix. Form it into 8-10 little balls with clean hands and coat in the left over bread crumbs. Drizzle with oil and bake for 30 minutes.
2. While the spinach balls are baking mix together the rest of the garlic, the coriander and the yoghurt. The balls are done when they are a little crispy on the outside, but firm and springy on the inside. The best way to make sure of these is to give them a gentle squeeze. If they return to their original shape they are perfectly cooked.
Cost: Spinach is incredibly cheap, though it wilts down to very little. However, considering this is probably enough lunch for 2-3 people and makes a lovely starter, the price of £1.90 isn’t too bad. Enjoy!
In my last post I talked about doing more recipes for pasta dishes, as they are cheap and easy to make. So, I thought I’d begin with a recipe for basil pesto, something which is really easy to make and which goes quite a long way. Indeed, one need only add a teaspoon of this sauce to a bowl of pasta to make a quick, easy and fairly wholesome meal. When I was young I went through a phase of eating this simple, yet tasty, dish pretty much every day of the week, sometimes twice a day. It really is that nice, and if you’ve never tried it… do.