A COLLEAGUE can often be heard remarking on the significant role bacon has to play in culinary pursuits.
"There are few meals that cannot be made better with bacon," he regularly proclaims.
I believe the same can be said for pastry.
A few simple ingredients paired with buttery flaky pastry - well you can't go wrong.
Using pastry is also my favourite way to dress up leftovers and I always have some puff pastry in the freezer ready for such occasions.
But filo pastry - the extremely thin flaky pastry - is not one I use often.
Probably because most of my pastry-inspired dishes are last-minute ones and filo does not freeze.
It also scares me a little - so delicate and fragile.
But this borek calls for filo and it is worth it!
Borek or burek is a filled pastry dish, thought to have been invented in Turkey but with variants throughout other European countries.
It can be filled with meat, cheese or vegetables and can be presented in squares, triangles, twists or whatever shape your heart desires.
The boreks I have had the pleasure of eating have been made with fresh filo pastry and they are delicious.
As I am yet to master freshly made filo, I have used a packet one but will work on my fresh recipe (and other yummy filo recipes) for this column in the future.
The filling is really up to you, spinach and feta, vegetables and whatever kind of mince you like. Even leftovers can be used.
Filo can be found in the freezer section of the supermarket and is also called fillo or phyllo.
Puff pastry Borek
24 sheets of filo pastry
½ cup butter, melted
500g beef mince
1 carrot, diced
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 zucchini, diced
½ cup frozen peas
1 cup Persian feta, diced
3 tbs sweet Hungarian paprika
NOTE: This recipe makes three large Boreks.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Heat oil in heavy-based pan and add onion and carrot.
Sweat over medium heat for about seven minutes or until onion is translucent. Add garlic and zucchini.
Cook for two minutes and then add mince. Cook mince until browned, stirring regularly to break it up. Add paprika, feta and frozen peas and cook until peas are warmed through. Set aside.
On a clean surface, lay out two sheets of filo pastry and baste with melted butter. Add another two sheets and repeat. Repeat until you have used eight sheets.
Spread a third of the mince lengthways across the pastry, leaving about 3cm at each end.
Roll the mince and pastry over once (not to too tight), then spread the pastry with butter.
Roll again and repeat until you get to the end of the pastry, sealing the end with butter.
Take the roll and gently twist one end into the centre of the roll so it makes a coil, being careful not to split the pastry.
Repeat to make two more coils. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, until pastry is crisp and has a little colour on it.
Serve each coil with a simple salad, cut in two.