Perhaps it’s my frozen feet, but I’m back thinking about world food and looking for inspiring ways to warm my cockles. I’m figuring that a country with large chunks of permafrost might be able to give me some good guidance.
So what do the Russians feed their kids in those early years before Vodka becomes the staple diet? Well, the freezing climate and general poverty makes for a fairly grim culinary history (of course, this is just my opinion), but a fish pie or ‘kulebyaka’ is a bit of a bright spot. Traditionally it’s made with a thicker pastry, but I’ve got a great filo version that is so nice and crunchy that the kids are guaranteed not to notice the range of vegies which combine with the rice and boiled eggs to provide a complete nutritional shot.
Now, fearers of filo, I hear your pain. It can be a nuisance to work with. But if you give it plenty of time to defrost you’ll have a better chance of success. Once thawed, open it out, cover it with a clean, damp tea towel and be a bit patient. Your first one or two might not be quite so gorgeous, but they’ll still be yummy and that’s the main thing.
Filo ‘kulebyaka’ cigars
1 packet filo pastry
250g packet microwave rice
415g can red salmon (pink will do, but red is much nicer in this recipe)
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 small carrot, peeled, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, diced
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp dill
Leave the pastry out to thaw – read packet for product specific instructions.
Preheat the oven to 190C, line two trays with baking paper.
Cook the rice according to packet instructions. Set aside leave to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine all of the vegies, salmon (crush any bones), eggs, zest, dill and pepper. Add in the rice and mix well.
Open the (well defrosted) filo out. Spray a sheet then fold it in half, so that it’s almost a square. Dollop ¼ cup amounts of mixture in a line parallel to the fold line. Allow about 3 centimetres free at either end. Roll the pastry around the mix. Don’t worry if you get a tear. Just keep gently rolling until you have a nice cigar shape. Squeeze the ends closed.
You can make these to this point then refridgerate until you want to cook them. Just give them a spray of oil and store them between layers of baking paper.
When you’re ready to cook them, pop them on the trays. Spray with oil and bake for 20 minutes until golden and crunchy.
Makes about 16.
Did you see that I’ve birthed the latest Vegie Smugglers product? It’s a ‘Craft for non-crafty’ e-book. I’ve collated up all of my favourite projects and added a bunch more, covering food, fun & learning. It’s available now at the shop…