"We have the occasional early summer flourish of stinging nettles, and find comfort knowing that eating nettles is our way to clean up the paddocks. But don’t worry if you don’t have them, because any decent green—such as silverbeet (Swiss chard) or a mixture—can work well too. I’ve used home-made filo because it’s just so different to the commercial stuff—sturdy and earthier, albeit without the finesse—but you can use ready-made pastry."
6–8 handfuls fresh nettle leaves, stalks removed, well washed (about 1 cup blanched)
1 leek, green part only, washed and finely sliced
1–2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped dill
100 g (3½ oz) good-quality feta cheese, diced or crumbled
200 g (7 oz) fresh ricotta cheese
lemon wedges, for serving
250 g (9 oz/nearly 2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
110 ml (3¾ fl oz) warm water
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Throw the nettles into a big pot with the lid on and wilt them over low heat; the water left after washing will help them steam. Let them cool, then squeeze vigorously to remove all the liquid.
2 To make the filo pastry, mix all the ingredients except the oil together to make a dough. Knead for 4–5 minutes to a smooth texture. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour before rolling. Using a generous amount of flour and a big rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 40 x 80 cm (16 x 32 inch) rectangle. Cut into 8 equal squares (don’t worry if they’re not perfectly shaped), brush oil liberally on each, stack them on top of each other (ensuring the top isn’t oiled, but rather floured), and roll this out to make an evenly thick piece of pastry 40 cm (16 inches) square.
3 Fry the leek well in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft, but not brown, and put it in a medium bowl with the nettles and the dill. Add the feta, ricotta, a generous pinch of salt and a good few grinds of black pepper. Mix well, then stir in the eggs.
4 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Make the pie by laying the pastry into a greased 30 cm (12 inch) pie dish lined with baking paper, or you could do it more free-form by using a baking tray. 5 Place the filling in the middle and spread it out a little so there’s enough pastry to bring up over the top to form the pie. Brush the top generously with more olive oil. Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden brown.
5 Cool in the dish. Serve at room temperature with lemon wedges.
Recipes and Images from Summer on Fat Pig Farm by Matthew Evans, Published by Murdoch Books