There’s a bit of a campaign going on at the moment trying to highlight the benefits of frozen food. Whenever most of us think of frozen products the first thing that comes to mind is fish fingers but there’s a hell of a lot more to the freezer section than that! There’s a huge variety of produce on offer and it often is a lot cheaper – and doesn’t go off as readily as the the fresh equivalent.
I always have the following in my freezer…
• Frozen fish: did you know you can cook directly from frozen for a very quick and very healthy meal? I have been taking advantage of this while on a diet. Also perfect for fish pie and for homemade fish fingers.
• Raw peeled giant prawns: I always make sure to buy a few packs – I very rarely buy fresh prawns any more. Occasionally you can also find langoustines and even lobster…
• A selection of frozen fruit: ideal for smoothies so I always have a couple of bags of blueberries, mixed berries and mango. Also perfect for baking – and a lot cheaper than fresh.
• Chopped spinach: not just perfect in pies – I add it to soups and even smoothies.
• Frozen herbs: you can find some exotic herbs that are not available fresh (like kaffir lime leaves) but also chopped ginger and garlic… A lot less wastage as you only use as much as you need.
• Phyllo pastry and puff pastry. Although I prefer to make both myself it is very convenient to have frozen packets on standby. Pre-rolled shortcrust pastry is great for children cooking parties!
• Peas, soya beans and edamame (I was so excited when I found frozen edamame).
• Fish fingers. Yes, I know, but they are inescapable when you have young kids!
The recipe I make most often using frozen spinach and phyllo pastry is, you guessed, spanakopita (spinach pie). It is a staple of my Greek childhood and an absolutely fantastic snack or main meal. Although my mum’s traditional spiral spanakopita with homemade phyllo is superior, it involves a huge amount of work and so only gets made on special occasions (or whenever she visits). This version is so much quicker and easier.
Make sure to keep phyllo pastry covered while you work as it dries out quickly and becomes brittle. If you have a metal roasting tin to use it is better (and more authentic) than a ceramic one as the phyllo will cook better. Add chopped mint, toasted pine nuts or different types of cheese (such as ricotta or blue cheese) to add variety.
Easy spanakopita (spinach pie)
800g | 28oz chopped frozen spinach
400g | 14oz feta cheese, crumbled
I’m working with BritMums and Coolcookery.co.uk highlighting the versatility, economy and nutritional benefits of cooking with frozen food. All opinions are my own. For recipes and ideas visit http://bit.ly/coolcookery. Here are some more recipes using frozen products from the blog archives…