Monday, 2 April 2012

Spinach roulade

We've had spinach roulade twice now while we've been staying at my parents' - it's very nice. Quite a Seventies throwback, I'd guess (without having done any research). But it's not nearly as troublesome as it looks.

My mother leapt on this as a dinner solution when she and Dad were in their manic Atkins diet phase. My father is obsessed with his weight because he has been tremendously thin for most of his life. Really, one of those very tall, very skinny, bony giraffe people. Then he hit middle age and his love of dinner and sweeties was no longer a thing to be celebrated. He was no longer a furnace of a young man who merely converted millions of calories into dinner party conversation, spying on the Soviet Union and long legs: he was getting fat.

So when the Atkins diet came along (second time around) he fell on it literally like a starving man and we all ate nothing but bacon and eggs and ran screaming from potatoes for about two years.

And for anyone doing Atkins, this is a great thing to have. You can stuff it with all manner of things - I have had it once with smoked salmon and creme fraiche and once with mushrooms (just diced and fried with butter, thyme and cream).

I will just go through how to do the roulade thing here as the filling is really up to your imagination.

Two eggs per person
A large handful (cooked amount) of spinach
salt and pepper

Set your oven to 180C

1 Cook down very low some spinach until you have a handful of very surrendered leaves. This is going to be mixed in with beaten egg whites so it needs to be finely shredded. Take a pair of scissors to it if you fancy.

2 Separate your eggs, keeping the yolks somewhere safe. Beat the eggwhites until large, light and fluffy but not stiff (we're not making meringue).

3 Mix the shredded spinach with the yolks and season. Add this to the eggwhites and stir to combine but try not to overmix, (I hate this phrase - of course I'd never knowingly overmix something you stupid cow/bastard, why tell me not to? - but you know what I mean).

4 Spread this mixture onto a sheet of greaseproof paper - you're aiming for a thickness of about an inch. Bake for 8-10 minutes until soft and springy.

5 Spread with your filling and roll up as above. Easier than it looks if you're careful. Although my mother does have a degree in fine art.

As it happens I'm having a simply ghastly time. I'm rowing with everyone (what's new?), suspicious that my operation hasn't actually worked, ratty from post-operative pain, discomfort and inconvenience, neauseous from the post-op antibiotics, furious at hobbling myself by pulling at a bit of loose skin on my heel and carving a deep trough in my foot, which is sending shooting pains up my leg, maddened by my camera's shitty attitude, demented with anxiety about having to go on three separate family holidays - two of them foreign - apprehensive about the amount of time between now and September that my husband is going to be abroad for work, wretchedly poking at a huge under-the-skin chin zit I thought had gone away and despairing over the fact that our builder cut through our central heating pipes (by accident) this morning, sending a fountain of water gushing into the living room.

I would say that I want my mummy except that she's downstairs and it doesn't make a blind bit of difference. AND she absent-mindedly ate the rest of my lunch, which I had briefly abandoned to take a phonecall (about central heating pipes).

If things don't improve I'm going to have to start casting around for someone to fire. That always cheers me up.


  1. oh honey, you do sound totally fed up... the roulade does look wonderful though... and you will have a fabulous new kitchen soon... always worth going through anything!

  2. That looks PERFECT as a non-bread/pasta based snack with some semblance of solidity to it!

    What have you used there in the photos pre-rolling (presumably to make it stick)? Creme fraiche?

  3. I like to imagine myself as a bit of a hard-nosed bitch (like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada), in my head I'd go ranting and raving at those builders til they were cowering in their steel-toe boots. In reality though I'd totally work myself up into such a tizzy about what to say that I'd end up apologizing to them, and then probably offer them more money.

  4. When i saw the name of this I thought erghhh but this is a really interesting idea and I will definitely be trying it as i am an egg-aholic. Yum, thanks!

  5. OH MY GOD ESTHER! I do that thing with my heal also. And I thought I was the only one. I do it when I get anxious much like when some people have the compulsion to pull out their own hair (I imagine). Are there any psychoanalysts out there who could advise on how to stop this behaviour? I'd love to quit it. At least I feel less alone in this.

    This recipe looks lovely by the way, I've got loads of spianach atm so will make this for my tea tonight.Cheers.

  6. just realised my last comment was quite condescending in a thoroughly middle class way, as though a new kitchen is the answer to everything... which of course we all know is chocolate...

  7. Siobhan yes it is creme fraiche! But it doesn't really need anything to make it stick, it will just flop onto itself. Not sure why my mum put those dabs of CF on.

    Natacha yes, a course of CBT will help with that sort of self-mutilation. But it's terribly expensive and a hassle.

  8. You never fail to amuse! But I do hope things start getting better soon :)
    Where are you off to on holiday? Don't be anxious about it, enjoy!xx

  9. That is the worst when you pull a big deep bit out of your's seriously one of the most painful fucking things ever. I feel for you. Apparently if you put loads of moisturising cream on your feet and wear socks whilst you sleep it helps it a bit.

    Feel better!

  10. Can we have a guest post from your ma?

  11. I love how everyone is being so English and NOT asking lots of questions about the op. Was there lots of blood? Did it hurt?!
    All this politeness drives me demented.

  12. I don't know if there was lots of blood because I was unconscious due to the rivers of propofol coursing through me. Yes it hurts now. It was an op following minor complications during my labour with Kitty, which have recently become inconvenient. I can't imagine you want to know anything else.

  13. Apologies. I was being a child.

  14. Re your ghastly time: I think it's because the universe is in a 'fuck you' mood at the moment.
    My sister died unexpectedly late last week.
    Her funeral is on my wedding anniversary.
    Thanks for making me laugh out loud in the midst of all this shit.

  15. Michele that is TERRIBLE! I am so sorry, really how awful. My big chin zit doesn't really compare to an actual funeral. xxxxx

  16. I have only recently discovered your blog - really enjoy your writing. My mother used to make a similar roulade for dinner parties in the days before people had supper in their kitchens.....don't want to dwell on it but I too am required to have an op for some labour-related stuff soon so just wanted to wish you a speedy recovery. All the best KA

  17. Thanks KA - things are looking up actually. Finish the antibiotics tonight and am in less howling blind agony than I was three days ago... Xx

  18. I do love a roulade. Used to be a fave of mine to make. There's a brill one in the "Greens" cookbook that uses parmesan & some sort of herby ricotta filling. May now have to re-visit.
    Hope you feel better for Easter. Maybe chocolate will help to cure your ills! x

  19. Great to see this recipe. The spinach and mushroom roulade at the V&A is so dang yummy I've been wanting to attempt one myself. I hope your day improved, it sounds like you needed to make some brownies, waft the chocolatey smell in front of everyone and then eat them all yourself!