My family have been quite enthusiastic about this culinary world tour and they insisted on helping out, so I let Sar and my brother Dunc take the reins on Albania. The made an absolutely delicious Albanian Byrek (they also attempted another dish and we all learnt that a stick of butter doesn't mean the whole packet, but I won't go into detail on that).
It's no secret that spinach, cheese, and pastry make a delicious combination. Personally, this is my ultimate hangover food as it is salty, a little bit oily, and you don't get the lead belly that usually accompanies a Whopper with cheese. Having spent my uni years in Brisbane, I can say that the best place to try said combination is the German Bakery at Gailey 5-ways, St Lucia, however I must concede that the more cosmopolitan cities down south can certainly give just as good; and, as it turns out, so can Sar and Dunc.
The Byrek is quite a common dish around the Mediterranean and Arab states. It is essentially a pastry that can be filled with many different ingredients and can be served as individual triangles or as a full sized pie. It is the Albanians though, that fill theirs with the spinach and cheese combination that you will find below.
Byrek Shqiptar Me Perime
1 Cup olive oil
1 1/2 Packets (about 30 leaves) filo pastry
700 g Spinach, chopped
1 Cup diced feta cheese
1/2 Cup chopped spring onions
1/2 Teaspoon salt
Brush a medium sized rounded baking pan with oil. Layer pastry leaves two at a time, brush with oil, and then lay the next two until you have used about half. Make sure they cover the whole pan and hang about an inch over the edge of the pan.
Sprinkle spinach with alt and mix by hand. Then mix in the feta, onions, eggs, and salt and combine by hand. Spread the mixture over the laid pastry leaves.
Use the rest of the leaves to cover the pie, repeating the process above. Roll the overhanging leaves on top of the pie to form a crust.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius (until golden brown).
Serve with beaten yoghurt.