Dear Popeye…

Dear Popeye,

How I feel sorry for the children of the today subjected to crap like iCarly and Victoria Justice. How is that even a TV show as opposed to screaming, crazy pre-teens with canned laughter? I could go to a One-Direction concert and it would be more enjoyable to view it there :S

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I suppose I am really writing to you to tell you about the cartoons. It will hit you harder considering… well… you are one… but I hope you understand that I just need to tell you that wherever you are, you make sure that none of the modern-stuff ever even comes in contact with you. Imagine if you went all HD and animated. I shudder to think of it!

Popeye my old sea-dog friend, there is no more Warner Brothers style Flintstones or Road Runner or Bugs Bunny unless you watch the reruns on the 90s channel. There is no more ‘Steamboat Willie’ with film-noir Mickey, or even any 2D versions of the Disney gang left I believe. Just the odd reruns of the Princesses because little girls still love them so much. Though for how long is my question…

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Bananas in Pyjamas was not animated, I know, but the men who donned those suits and talked to very sweet teddy bears without opening their mouths are long gone to be replaced by animated, ultra yellow freakish bananas who don’t walk down those stairs properly.

Arthur? Arthur who? The loveable rat-come-guinea pig-come-mouse hybrid with his glasses, annoying sister and best friend Buster is also a distant memory, their school adventures filled with morals all shrouded in the back of the huge video closet TV channels keep…

Spinach & Feta Pie

Spinach & Feta Pie

Popeye, you of course know due to your lack of royalties that you are officially non-existent on television now too. I still remember your jutting jaw, your beautiful girlfriend who must have been quite light in the head to get captured each episode and your sailor’s cap. Your muscles bulged but only when you ate spinach of course. I wonder if, despite your greying beard and sagging belly, you still react that way to your favourite canned vegetable?

Popeye, this post is for you, your tattoo, your obsession with spinach and a reminder of all those shows long gone by with witty repartee, fabulous old-school clips and the traditional cartoon entertainment. As much as I adore you, I guess I have to communicate with you like this since my TV doesn’t provide a link anymore.

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Wherever you are, keep eating spinach!
Cheers
Uru

***********************************************************************To Popeye and his legacy of awesome cartoons that lit up the TV, I give you a Spinach Pie made to be devoured with tomato sauce. Crunchy filo pastry golden with butter, a filling with Popeye’s favourite flavours and a hint of extra cheesy goodness need no more description as to what makes it taste so awesome!

Enjoy :D

*My changes are in bold

Silverbeet Double Cheese Spinach Pie
Source: Mastering The Art Of Baking

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
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  • 545g silverbeet frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 tbs finely chopped dill cilantro
  • 2 tbs finely chopped mint (ignored)
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (lemon juice)
  • 310 290g firm, fresh ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g crumbled Danish feta cheese
  • 10 sheets Filo pastry
  • 100g butter, melted
  • Sesame seeds (1-2 tbs)
  • Lemon wedges and sauce to serve

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat
  2. Add the spring onions and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes
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  3. Add the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes or until heated through (If using fresh silverbeet, cook for 3 minutes until wilted)
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  4. Transfer to a colander to drain and cool completely – Use your hands to squeeze the mixture in the colander to remove as much liquid as possible
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  5. Combine the herbs, juice, eggs and ricotta in a bowl
  6. Add the spinach mixture and feta in and season with freshly ground pepper and salt
  7. Stir until well combined
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  8. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  9. Lay one sheet of filo on a clean work surface and keep remaining sheets covered with a damp tea towel to stop them drying out (become brittle!)
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  10. Brush the uncovered sheet with some butter then lay another sheet of filo on top
  11. Repeat with remaining sheets to make two stacks, each with 5 sheets of filo
  12. Cut each stack widthways to make 6 13cm rectangles (I did not measure, just cut each stack in 4 pieces and it was fine :P)
  13. Grease the base and sides of a round 22c diameter springform cake tin
  14. Place the filo triangles over the base and side of the tin to line it fully, allowing the filo to overhang the side of the tin
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  15. Spoon the spinach mixture into the filo-lined tin
  16. Fold the overhanging filo over to enclose the filling
  17. Brush with remaining butter, sprinkle with sesame seeds and cut a slit in the top to allow some heat to come through during cooking
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  18. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until cooked through
  19. Cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before removing
  20. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges and sauce while trying to find some Popeye episodes :D

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124 Comments

  1. I always like spinach from when I was young (my parents must have been proud!), and it’s such an excellent source of nutrition that I want to include in our diet often. Although I use it in Asian cooking, I definitely need to try this, especially I have phyllo dough in my freezer right now (and spinach in fridge). Crossing fingers that my kids will love it…no, they are not big spinach eater like me! :(

  2. OMG I love this! I’ve never shared this online but when I was a little girl everyone called me Popeye because I ate so much spinach. I love spinach and could eat it all the time. This reminds me a little of my Vegetable Torte or Torta Rustica mainly because of the springform pan. I love that you used filo dough. It’s like a large Spanikopita. Great recipe, I will definitely make this.

  3. Hey CCU that is green, not chocolate!!! Just kidding I love the change and it is just beautiful. I love the fact that you can make this dish in advance and great for a gathering or a brunch or a nice dish to pass. Miss you! BAM

  4. Kim Bultman says:

    Uru, my complaint about “modern day” cartoons is how whine-y (and/or outright disrespectful) the characters are. Give me Popeye, Wylie Coyote, and Mighty Mouse any day. :) And please give me some of this fabulous spinach pie!

  5. cakewhiz says:

    i grew up with all the old cartoons and have fond memories of watching them with my little brother but i started watching arthur with my son recently and i love that show now too!

    great recipe uru… i am not much of a spinach person but give it to me hidden in a pie and i wouldn’t mind devouring it ;)

  6. I know what you mean about the cartoons, my kids know and love arthur. They sometimes watch old cartoons on you tube and I am very selective when it comes to what they are allowed to see
    Love the spinach pie, with all the cheese it must be irresistable

  7. What a stunning pie, CCU, just healthy enough but with enough cheese and pastry to make me happy to eat me spinach:D I grew up on all of those cartoons and then watched the new ones make the rounds as a teacher. I hadn’t thought about it, but it must be a sad little Saturday morning without all these favorites shows to watch! xx

  8. Zoe says:

    Your post reminds these often conversations with my son convincing him to eat spinach at home….
    Mum, eating spinach is not cool…
    Popeye is cool!
    Who is Popeye?
    Can’t blame him for saying that… you know at least I think that your spinach pie is cool!

    Zoe

  9. Tisa says:

    Beautiful job, Uru- I love those phyllo encrusted spinach pies. And I always talk about old school cartoons- how I miss Popeye and the Jetsons! Fun that you took me through nostalgia lane ;-)

  10. Dear old Popeye was born 1919, just a year after my mother. He’s such an old fellow and a dear friend of me and my children. Popeye would love the dish you’ve presented us with today, CCU. Absolutely scrumptulicious and so-o colorful. Beautifully done.

  11. Jorie says:

    Looks great, Uru! I know precisely what you mean about cartoons! I was raised on the Disney gang, plus the princesses, and Arthur every morning until about 8th grade (shhh haha). It’s interesting that so many cartoons seem geared toward “fame” or achieving fame even as a teen. Very weird.

  12. YUMMM!!!
    This was one of my favourite recipes when I was a vego (10 Years) !! The combination of cheeses and spinach is an absolute winner… Thanks for reminding me, I really have to make this again :)

  13. You will not believe this. My fiancee and I had Cheese and Spinich pie at his Mum’s house yesterday and today he asked me if I could make one this weekend as he really enjoyed it. I knew I would have to look up a recipe and as I was reading through my blog list, I found this! Thanks a million, I am making it this weekend!

  14. Veronica says:

    YUM! This is certainly a Popeye-worthy treat, and it’s so cool to hear you watch the same cartoons in Australia as we do/did here. I guess Popeye is universal!

  15. I don’t know which made me laugh harder–your description of Olive Oyl or Arthur. I chuckled all the way through reading this, and your observations are the best! I do miss those old cartoons. And I hadn’t thought about how long it has been since I’ve seen Popeye! Now you have me missing him! :-) But this spinach pie is an excellent recipe I can’t wait to make. I love it! You are such a clever cook!

  16. I grew up with the old cartoons, Popeye, Warner Bros and all and yes the new kid’s shows are not funny to me. Spinach though, now spinach is funny. I mean good for you ;). Great recipe, Uru!

  17. I agree show like iCarly are definitely examples of bad TV (like where are the parents anyway). We have banned the Family channel in our house because my daughter develops a bad attitude when she watches. Now about that spinach pie…. I must make it! Love the sesame seeds on top too!

  18. Preaching to the choir!! What is all of that Japanese cartoon crap they subject the kids to? So boring. I loved bananas in PJs and care bears the most. Your pie looks so good. My Mum used to make something similar with pinenuts through it. So yummy!

  19. Sophie33 says:

    Waw! You have done a beautiful & very appetizing job! Well done you! :) I love the classical combo of spinach & ricotta, but I prefer fresh low-fat sheep’s ricotta for added flavour here! :) I see you also use fresh ricotta cheese!

  20. Carolyn Chan says:

    Hey CCU! Sorry for the hiatus, been in the US for the last 3 weeks (for work unfortunately not for play) but waiting at the airport for my long flight home with the prospect of the usu dire airline food and all I want is a big slice of this pie!!

  21. Acacia says:

    I miss the old TV shows, and I really dislike Victoria Justice. Immature, gross and irritating. I am never ever going to make any future children of mine watch Banana in PJ’s, considering that they scare me just by appearing on my Television. Your pie looks very yummy, I love the ricotta combination.

  22. Uru, this looks blow-my-mind amazing! Love spinach pie and this one is just jam-packed with goodness. That gorgeous golden crust looks tooth shatteringly delish. I can lament the state of today’s kid-centred tv for hours on end. I’m an 80s baby so I grew up watching Transformers, GI Joe, Carebears, Disney afternoon (Duck Tales – my favourite!), Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, X-Men, Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, Saved by the Bell… Man, those were good shows. The new stuff does not compare – it’s horrible. It’s all CGI (which I hate) and beyond ultra-violent. The stories don’t even make sense sometimes! Ok, I’ve really aged myself with this post but I wanted to let you know that i totally agree with you :)

  23. A_Boleyn says:

    Great looking pies. I don’t like a lot of veggies but for some reason, when I was growing up, my mom came up with a spinach, rice and onion dish (served with chicken livers) that I always loved and started my relationship with spinach in various dishes.

    By the way, I make a similar Greek dish filled with a sweet semolina based custard, bake and cool and then eat. It’s called galactoboureko. Yummy

  24. Growing up with brothers, Popeye was a definite favorite in our house. Since “Gomer” from Gomer Pyle was just in the news recently, I was mentioning the program to my 16 yr. old. There was a clip of the show. My son looked at me like he just could NOT believe that is what we watched when we were younger. I must admit…I have to scratch my head too!!

  25. I watched Popeye when I was a kid – when each episode was new! (TV, that is; the movie Popeye is even older than I am!) I remember being fascinated by him eating cans of spinach, and persuaded my mother to buy some. I have to say canned spinach – cooked for half an hour, the way my mom usually cooked veggies – is really vile stuff! Put me off spinach for years, until I first tasted fresh. Anyway, fun post, great recipe – thanks.

  26. Susan says:

    There are so many things that resonate with your post…and I totally agree about the crap that is on television now that children view! The Spinach pie (spanakopita) looks amazing and my hubby could probably eat the whole thing! XOXO

  27. Here’s a strange piece of personal trivial: I was actually never allowed to watch Popeye, because my parents thought it was too violent and sexist! Ah, how far television has fallen since then… That’s nothing!

    Anyhow, bad cartoons aside, I’m loving the looks of your rich spinach pie. I always have phyllo dough on hand for just such inspirations!

  28. petit4chocolatier says:

    This is beyond incredible my dear! This is magnificent on all levels. I love it! And it is good for you :)

    I hope you don’t mind if I reblog your link on my reblog page?

  29. I just love spinach pie, and yours is beautiful draped in phyllo. I like the changes you made to the original recipe. Totally agree about the kids programming these days. I guess I am revealing my age but I grew up watching not just popeye but those Warner bros cartoons, silvester and tweety, yosemite sam, bugs bunny. Have to admit some of them were quite violent but I enjoyed them.

  30. Aw man…I agree…..I miss the old days of children’s shows.
    Although, as a babysitter, I’ll say this: iCarly and Victoria Justice are pure enjoyment in comparison to the Disney Channel shows….*sigh*.

    Anyway. This pie. Um YUM! I adore spinach + cheese +scallions +buttery, flaky filo!

  31. Ohhh I remember Popeye and I agree with you that kids these days don’t really have the kind of cartoons and shows that we use to have! I use to love Captain Planet do you remember that?

    Your spinach pie looks amazing as usual :) I really should eat more spinach since I’m relatively low in iron ~

  32. Mmm, yum. I love spinach. And cheese. And phyllo. Don’t be surprised if I come over.

    And YES kid’s shows are total crap these days. What about Wishbone, the beloved Jack Russell that taught kids to love classic literature? I will always remember your Sherlock Holmes episode, Wishbone. *sniffle*

  33. kellysiew says:

    I love Spanakopita! :D Spinach is so delicious, and I must say kids these days don’t get all those quality cartoons we used to get back in the days, it’s all about mind numbing stuff now. Sigh.

  34. Your letter to Popeye.. LOL! You are a crazy girl. :) My favorites from back when I was a kid (ages ago..no not the ice ages)… Flinstones, Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, and Tom and Jerry. But who doesn’t love a this “huck, huck, huck” Sailor Man. :)

    This is a beautiful dish… making mental note to work with phyllo dough… it’s gorgeous. :)

  35. Lisa says:

    This is similar to the first dish I ever made using phyllo. It was a spinach pie with feta, like yours, but contained red peppers and some other stuff I can’t remember. I do remember the layering of each buttered piece of phyllo in the pie pan..and I had to keep referring to the diagram with the recipe. The finishing touch was rolling the remaining phyllo into a buttery ball and slapping it in the middle. It was supposed to look like a rose, but it looked more like a crumpled piece of paper. If that pie had turned out as lovely as yours…I’d make more phyllo pies! It looks fabulous, Uru!

  36. Saskia (1=2) says:

    Yep, we’re completely freaked out by the new Bananas, not to mention the new Fireman Sam… yikes. Both my boys love Arthur, thanks to me pushing him on them. Arthur rocks. We thought he was an aardvark, but I guess he is a questionable being, like Goofy. Love the look of this pie, and I love that you crossed out silverbeet and replaced it with DOUBLE cheese and spinach. YUM.

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