Mini-me meal…salmon and quinoa filo parcels

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I try not to attempt a new Mini-me recipe unless I’ve got something else on hand in the more-than-likely outcome that The Girl outright rejects my efforts. In this case I had leftovers of her all-time favourite meal ready and waiting which I knew she’d devour, no matter how the new recipe was received. I wouldn’t attempt filo parcels every night of the week. In essence they are very simple but they do require you to be a little bit more organised than we busy parents often are as the dreaded 5pm witching hour approaches. I’d recommend you get these underway an hour before you want to dish them up. That way you won’t be breaking into a nervous sweat as your rugrats get hungrier and start climbing up your legs while you’re trying to cook.

I didn’t give myself enough time to get these ready but thanks to my trusty leftovers plan Thea was happily munching at the table while I finished these off. I don’t always get a raputurous reaction to my cooking but I was feeling pretty pleased with myself when Thea delightedly wolfed one of these down despite having already eaten a full meal.

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Of course, Thea is my ultimate disclaimer in all this. I won’t guarantee your little ones will love them with such gusto. The little blighters change their culinary minds like they change their underpants. It really is just a case of keeping on trying with different flavours and textures and taking lots of long, deep breaths in between to keep your patience. If your little one reacts even half as well as Thea did to these you can be pretty happy with that.

These parcels are nutritious, delicious and have a fun, flaky texture to keep them very engaged while eating. Give them a try! I cleaned up the leftovers quite happily…

SALMON & QUINOA FILO PARCELS

INGREDIENTS (makes 7-8 parcels)
100g quinoa (cooked weight)
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 small red onion – roughly chopped
1 small clove garlic – crushed to a paste with a pinch of sea salt
1/2 courgette – finely grated
40g feta
50g smoked salmon – roughly chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 egg – lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
Filo pastry – 7-8 sheets
Olive oil

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 175°C.
2. Put the cooked quinoa into a medium bowl and set aside.
3. Soak the frozen peas in hot water for five minutes to defrost. Drain well then place into the bowl of a food processor along with the chopped onion and crushed garlic. Blitz until a rough purée forms.
4. Squeeze the grated courgette tightly between your hands to remove as much excess liquid as possible then add it to the bowl of quinoa along with the puréed peas.

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5. Crumble the feta into the bowl then add the chopped salmon, flat-leaf parsley and egg and season well with freshly ground black pepper. Stir all ingredients until well incorporated.

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6. Lay one sheet of filo pastry on a clean, dry surface and lightly brush one half with olive oil. Fold the sheet in half with the non-oiled half folded over onto the oiled half.
7. Place a large tablespoon of the quinoa mix across the short end of the filo pastry sheet and fold the end of the filo over to cover the filling.

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8. Brush each long edge with a little olive oil and fold each side in towards the middle so the filling doesn’t fall out during cooking.

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9. Roll up into a parcel and place on a lined oven tray with the open end of the filo sheet positioned underneath the parcel. Repeat with the remaining filo sheets and filling.

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10. Brush each parcel lightly with olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack for at least 10-15 minutes before you let your little ones get their hands on them. Check before you serve as they can be very hot in the centre.

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