This year I actually purchased hideous Halloween sweets from Mercadona for the lovely children next door who knocked incessantly on my front door last year. I studiously ignored them because I didn’t have any sugary, chemically, teeth-rotting unhealthy products to give them. They repayed my kindness by chucking eggs at our front door, so The Washer Up went mad and chucked them back at the neighbours front door. So this year I bought sweets. I hope they’re happy.
So anyway, this is my kind of treat, filo pastry cigars filled with roasted sweet potato, feta cheese, spring onion, fresh coriander, parsley and red chilli. Unsurprisingly Middle Eastern in origin and unashamedly Ottolenghi of course, who else? He has a new TV programme starting in November on More4, needless to say we are very excited.
The tahini yoghurt sauce is one of my favourite things, it is totally delicious. You can serve it just as a dip with flatbreads or raw veggies, or I have served it with these Cauliflower Fritters, these Baked Falafel Cakes and these Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut) Cigars too.
Sweet Potato & Feta Cigars Recipe
Makes 6 cigars, serves 3-4, vegetarian. Adapted from Ottolenghi for The Guardian
- 1 large sweet potato (about 400 g), scrubbed clean
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 75 g Greek feta cheese, crumbled
- a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
- a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 red chilli deseeded & chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 6 sheets of filo pastry (defrosted if frozen)
- olive oil for brushing
- sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 200C. Prick the sweet potato a few times with a knife and place directly on a rack in the oven. Roast for 45-50 minutes until soft and cooked all the way through. Cut in half lengthways and leave until cool enough to handle.
Scrape out all of the sweet potato flesh into a bowl and mix with feta, spring onions, herbs, chilli, salt & pepper mashing with a fork. Taste for seasoning and leave to cool completely.
When ready, preheat the oven to 200C, line a baking tray with parchment and brush with a little oil. Unroll the filo pastry sheets and cover them with a clean tea towel to stop them drying out. Remove two sheets together and place them on top of each other on your work surface with the short end facing you, so you have a double layer sheet. Cover the rest back up with the tea towel.
Cut the two sheets in half lengthways this will make two cigars. On the left hand double layer strip, put a few heaped tablespoons of the filling in a sausage shape about 2 inches from the end of the pastry nearest you, leaving a centimetre free at each side end. Brush the pastry with a little olive oil and start to roll up your cigar around the filling, fold in the two side ends at about half way through and brush with a little more oil every now and then while you finish rolling up the cigar. Brush the top with some oil and place on the lined baking tray. Continue with the rest of the filling, you should get six cigars. You can refreeze (or refrigerate) the unused pastry.
Sprinkle a few sesame seeds over the tops of the cigars and bake for 25 -30 minutes until golden brown and cooked.
Tahini Yoghurt Dipping Sauce Recipe
Serves 3, vegetarian, gluten-free
- 1 pot (125 ml) goat’s or greek yoghurt
- 1 heaped Tbsp tahini paste
- the juice of half a lemon
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint or parsley
- salt & black pepper
- cumin or sumac to serve
Mix all the ingredients together well making sure the tahini is mixed in and taste. Adjust lemon, salt or tahini to suit. Serve in bowl sprinkled with a little cumin or sumac and a few fresh herb leaves.
These are the perfect sweet treat for an evening huddled on the sofa with all the lights turned off pretending you’re not in…