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History > Photography > Wild Greens Pie

History > Photography

submitted by Sydney Magazine on 17.12.2005

Wild Greens Pie

Wild Greens Pie
Copyright (0000)

1kg mixed greens (such as English spinach, chicory, endive, rocket)
3 leeks (white part only), washed and thinly sliced 1 tsp sea salt
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
200g sheep’s milk fetta, crumbled
*50g Kefalotyri cheese, grated, or an extra 50g of the fetta 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup short grain rice Freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg, to taste 6 sheets fib pastry, thawed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Heat oven to 180G. Remove larger stalks from greens and wash well.
Shred finely and place in a very large bowl.
Add leeks and toss with salt.
Set aside for 30 minutes.
Squeeze out excess liquid then combine greens with the remaining ingredients, except filo and oil.
Lightly oil a 30cm baking dish.
Layer with a sheet of pastry and brush with oil.
Layer with a second sheet of pastry and brush with oil, then a third, brushed with oil.
Place spinach mixture in dish then cover with 3 more sheets of pastry brushed with oil.
Gather and crimp the sides of the pastry to ensure filling is encased.
Brush the top with olive oil and bake for 50-60 minutes or until cooked and golden.
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6-8.

*Available at Greek delicatessens

what i cook when....

Peter Conistis

Sydney Magazine, Issue #33, January, 2006.

Words Scott Bolles

Photography Jennifer Soo

Styling Trish Heagerty

Recipes tested by Lynne Mullins

For chef Peter Consistis, entertaining is very much a Greek family affair.

In a world of duplicated dishes and homogenous hors d’oeuvres, Peter Conistis is an original. With teasing creations such as anchovy baklava and confit tomato with truffled lobster pilafi, Conistis delivers the inspiring and the difficult to define. It is food that drags the anchor on his Mediterranean roots; perplexing purists and delighting the food adventurer.

Evidently it’s a family tradition. Conistis’s father, Kyriacos, joined the stream of immigrants working on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme in the late 1950s, where he mastered the diversion of more than just water.
“He used to cook us things like steak and eggs,” Conistis remembers, “And fried rice. But he didn’t use soy and he’d put tomato, eggplant and zucchini in it. He’d make it Greek.’

This playfulness with ingredients was copied by the next generation, albeit in a more refined way. Conistis’s most famous dish, scallop moussaka, was conceived with equal measures of inspiration, daring and chance.

“[Seafood supplier] John Susman brought some scallops in to try. I was working in the kitchen later making taramasalata and the flavours were still in my mouth and I thought, ‘that might go with this’,” he says. “I was in Greece recently and went to two restaurants that had it [the dish] on the menu.”

Not that cooking was the plan. Conistis, 38, wasn’t supposed to be in a professional kitchen at all. “Medicine and law were what they [Greek families] wanted for their children. It wasn’t the kudos. It was more ‘we’d love you guys to have what we didn’t’.” He lasted two semesters studying law.
“I remember walking out of a tort lecture thinking, ‘I don’t care about this’.” He switched to communications, mixing study with work in restaurants and a spell in the bar at Paul Merrony’s former restaurant at Circular Quay. “I asked him if I could work in the kitchen. I worked for free. Three months later I opened my own restaurant. I had more balls than brains.”

His first restaurant, Cosmos in Darlinghurst, was a revelation. It divided opinion, confusing Greek traditionalists who couldn’t put a finger on the food and delighting its legion of fans with its originality. It also offered a public glimpse of Conistis’s relationship in the kitchen with his mother, Eleni. “I wanted to pick her brains. But I didn’t want it to be a Greek restaurant.”

In the family home in Marrickville, everyone in the Conistis clan has their specialty. “Mum makes filo like no one else. There’s no such thing as a vegetarian in Greece, but she doesn’t like meat much. Her vegetarian dishes are always great. And the outdoors is Dad’s domain. Lamb on the spit, or he’ll go to the markets and buy half a swordfish.”

It’s usually left to Conistis to produce the more intricate dishes. It is, after all, his ability to jump from the simple to the serious that earned his city
restaurant, Omega, two hats and the gong for Best New Restaurant in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2005.

Conistis has done much for the promotion of Greek food, waving the culinary flag at the Olympic Games in Athens and hosting food tours to Greece. But at home it’s a more low-key affair, with people the most important ingredient. “My parents’ house was always a revolving door,” he says. “It wasnt entertaining, it was sharing with friends or relatives. When I entertain, it’s usually on Sundays for the people I really like to be with.”

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