If you’re vegetarian or vegan and have been to London, you’ve probably heard of Mildreds. In fact, even if you’re vegetarian or vegan but have never been to London, you’ve probably heard of Mildreds.
But, just in case you haven’t heard of Mildreds, Mildreds is a popular vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Soho, London that has been around since 1988. It’s so popular, I’ve personally only been a couple of times because it gets mega-packed and me and mega-packed don’t get on too well. They don’t take bookings either, so if they’re full (which they usually are), you have the option of either a) having a drink while you wait in their bar; or b) go away and come back later when they’re hopefully less busy.
The first time I went (one evening a few years ago), I went for option a and I’ve got to say, this wasn’t such a pleasant experience. The bar is more of a waiting area than a comfy place to wait (if you see what I mean) and the staff were aloof, acting as if they were doing us a favour by allowing us to wait. I can’t remember what I ate but I remember being less than impressed but I probably had a grump on by then because of the wait and the snooty staff.
However, the second time I went (lunchtime/mid-afternoon, a few years ago but not as many years as ago as the first time), friendly staff showed us immediately to a table and although, again, I can’t remember what I ate, I remember enjoying it and happy to make a return visit.
Mildreds: The Cookbook
If you’re one of the many thousands of Mildreds fans and have hankered after recreating your favourite dishes at home, you’re going to love this cookbook. And for those of you who are yet to visit Mildreds, now you can find out what all the fuss is about.
Mildreds: The Cookbook is set out in chapters and sub-chapters containing:
- Dips, Sauces & Dressings
- Gluten-free menu ideas
- Vegan menu ideas
with each recipe clearly labelled if it’s suitable for vegans and/or gluten-free.
The first recipe I made from the cookbook was a gorgeous feta, chilli & mint-filled aubergine escalope. Although the escalope was delicious, it wasn’t very photogenic, so I’m going to share instead the spanakopita I also made. I usually make spanakopita in one large strudel or in pie-form (you can see others I’ve made here and here) but this time, I put a bit more effort in and made individual ones.
As you can see, I omitted the sesame seeds. I also left out the caster sugar, didn’t caramelize the onions, and didn’t add any nutmeg or pine nuts either. Despite me leaving out most of the ingredients, these spanakopita were still delicious. They froze well, too, and were great cold for lunch the next day. I’m going to post below the recipe as it is in the cookbook and not the slapdash way I did it.
- 1 x 400g packet filo pastry, thawed if frozen
- 125g butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- Olive oil
- 2 large onions, finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 500g spinach, rinsed and drained
- 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
- 120g feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 bunch of dill leaves, chopped
- 25g pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Pinch of black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas mark 5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. For the filling, heat a splash of olive oil in a pan, add the onions, sugar and salt and cook over a medium heat; stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the onions are caramelized and golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Cook the spinach leaves in a pan of boiling water for 1 minute until tender. Strain and leave to cool, then squeeze out any excess liquid with your hands. Roughly chop the spinach and place in a mixing bowl with the caramelized onion and the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix together well.
- Cut the filo pastry sheets lengthways into 4 even strips about 7cm wide. Brush an individual strip with melted butter, place a small spoonful of the mix towards one end of the strip and fold the corner of the pastry over itself at right angles, making sure you brush it with more melted butter once more before you make the last fold to ensure it sticks together well. Place the triangle seam-side down on to the prepared baking tray. Repeat with the remaining strips.
- Brush the tops of the prepared spanakopita with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.
Visit the Mildreds website