Spinach Strudel; Balsámico de Vinagre de Manzana; the Weekly Menu

I love new toys!

I decided I wanted to get these rings for making fancy stacks and gratins and things….

I thought I would have to go to a fancy food shop.

I was wrong. 

They were hanging right there with all the other standard kitchen utensils in my regular little supermarket. 

Some things are easy to find in France.

On the other hand, one of the reasons I wanted to go into Andorra to shop after Christmas was to buy soy sauce and Listerine. 

In France I can get little tiny bottles of mediocre soy sauce for a lot of money and no Listerine anywhere.

In Andorra I can get litre bottles of excellent, authentic soy sauce for very little money and Listerine in 6 flavors (who knew?).

When the douane (customs guards) inspected our car on the French border I had 3 litre bottles of soy sauce, 3 five litre bottles of olive oil and 7 litre bottles of Listerine.  

I would love to know what he was thinking….

Oh, and 2 bottles of this discovery: Balsámico de Vinagre de Manzana – Apple Vinegar made in the Balsamic style.  I can't wait to use it in salads this spring!

In the meantime, I tried it on our Pan-Seared Foie Gras last night…. And it was a good thing….


Of course, I run the risk of not having any left by spring…. I'd have to go shopping again.

When I was still part of the hose and briefcase brigade we had an expense account. This strudel recipe is based on a recipe from Pru Leith's Cookery School book. We've
eaten at her restaurant, Leith's, in London; wonderful food but we were
happy to be on that expense account!


Spinach Strudels with Carrot Tomato Sauce

6oz (175gr) fresh or frozen spinach
2 sheets of filo dough
1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) shredded cheese
1 tsp dried marjoram
pinch nutmeg
2 tbs butter

The Spinach:If fresh, take any thick stems off of the spinach. Rinse well with cold water – even if it doesn't need it, we want the water. Put the rinsed and drained, but not dry, spinach into a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it wilts. Remove, squeeze dry and roughly chop.
If using frozen, thaw and squeeze dry.
Put spinach, cheese, marjoram and nutmeg in a bowl and mix well, separating the squeezed spinach and fluffing it to combine with the cheese.
The Strudels: Melt the butter. Remove 1 sheet of pastry and re-wrap the rest. It's important to keep filo covered at all times or it will dry out very quickly. Lay the sheet out flat and brush all over with melted butter, starting with the edges (they dry out fastest) and working in. Lay the second sheet on top and brush with butter all over. Spoon the spinach mixture about 2" (5cm) from the narrower edge. Roll the end over the top and continue rolling it up, like a jelly roll. Carefully lift or roll onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush the top with the remaining butter and bake at 400F (200C) for 12 – 15 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
When done, remove to a cutting board. Cut in large slices and serve, with Carrot Tomato Sauce on the side.

Carrot Tomato Sauce
The carrots add a slightly sweet flavor to the sauce, nicely offset by the yogurt.

1 medium carrot 3oz (90gr)
1 rib celery
1 tsp dried basil
1 cup (8oz, 250ml) tomato sauce
4 tbs Greek or plain yogurt (2oz, 60ml), crème fraiche or sour cream

Roughly chop the carrot and celery, if using. Cook in rapidly boiling water for 12 – 15 minutes, until tender. Drain. Put carrots, celery, basil and tomato sauce in a blender. Purée until smooth. Pour into a bowl, stir in yogurt and set aside until ready to use.

Phyllo Dough on FoodistaPhyllo Dough

In addition to this, for the weekly menu for January 1 we have Salmon and Smoked Salmon Lasagne, Braised Chicken with Tarragon Cream, Hungarian-Style Pork Chops, Cuban Beef and Beans….

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12 thoughts on “Spinach Strudel; Balsámico de Vinagre de Manzana; the Weekly Menu”

  1. my this sounds good. Interesting to begin to get to know you. i was also a member of the expense account crowd for a very long time… Just now learning to really enjoy myself at home.
    Great post. easy to follow directions, and I hope to make this soon

  2. Hi Katie
    I love this site and recently blogged about it at
    I always seem to put on about 10Kg every time I visit though? Those Spinach Strudels sound gorgeous!
    Hope you had a great Christmas and a good start to the new year.
    All the best

  3. One thing that I cannot find in France is filo dough! I know it exists but I can’t seem to get my hands on it anywhere in Aveyron…I must say I’ve never missed Listerine or had a particular problem with French soy sauce. But where do you get these special items in Andorra? We used to go shopping there but I never noticed any particular food stores of interest…mind you I don’t think I’ve been there for ten years!

  4. Taste of Garlic – thanks for the post… You have lots of good expat sites reviewed… 10KG? I don’t believe it – Happy New Year!
    Thanks Lannae, to you too ;-))
    Betty, I find filo at Carrefour, usually, Intermarche, rarely, LeClerc, occasionally… I always found it at my old Hyper in the Vendee. I use a lot of soy sauce, so the little bottles here just don’t last, plus I think the Chinese has a better flavor than Japanese. And I just shop at one (or all) of the 4 supermarkets in Andorra – we lived there for 7 years….

  5. I love what you can find in French supermarkets. I actually found a very attractive scarf at LeClerc. Not that I can cook with it. I was certain I had seen filo dough somewhere.
    This carrot tomato sauce sounds great – I think you are on to something.

  6. Oooooooo, spinach strudel!!! That sounds lovely! What kind of cheese do you prefer to use? (I’m thinking crumbled young goat cheese might be good.)
    That apple balsamic vinegar sounds wonderful.
    Happy New Year!

  7. Mimi, that’s why it always takes me so long to do the weekly shopping!
    Elizabeth, I like to use the soft goat cheese with a bit of fromage frais… But I used Tomme in this version. I actually use whatever is in the fridge – which leans toward ‘stinky’.

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