Quiche is always a popular lunch or supper dish, winter or summer, served indoors by the fire or alfresco on a sunny day.
Great with crusty bread and a green salad, and a glass of wine!
This quiche is super easy as it’s made with filo pastry. I suppose it’s more like a traybake, cooked in a square dish, and it cuts into hearty slices.
This recipe calls for buttermilk in the custard, for a tangy flavour. But make it with full fat milk instead – it will still taste great.
8 sheets filo pastry
6-8 asparagus spears, trimmed
50g butter, melted
4 free-range eggs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
50g cheddar or feta
2 spring onions, trinm
1 large cooked salmon fillet*
6-8 cherry tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Butter a 20cm – 22cm square baking dish or pan.
Remove filo pastry from the fridge.
Lay a sheet of filo pastry in the dish or pan. Take the next sheet and lay at right angles to the first, to ensure even coverage. Liberally brush with the melted butter. Lay another 2 sheets in the same way, brushing the second sheet with melted butter.
Layer the next 4 sheets, brushing with melted butter after every second sheet.
Take the asparagus and microwave for a couple of minutes on low to medium to just cook. Alternatively stick the asparagus spears top side down in a pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until barely cooked.
Refresh asparagus under cold water.
To make the custard, combine cream, buttermilk, free-range eggs, salt, pepper and half the cheese, in a bowl, and beat with a fork or a whisk until thoroughly combined.
Pour the custard into the dish or pan. Lay the asparagus and spring onions on top of the custard. Break up the salmon fillet into chunks and put into the dish. Scatter the cherry tomatoes, whole, in between the other ingredients. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the custard is set looking, but not hard or cracked.
Remove from the oven to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the previous mentioned bread and a green salad.
* cook the salmon fillet on baking paper for 10 minutes with a little oil in a 180 degrees C oven.
Sourdough in all its forms is the best bread and I continue to add to my store of great stand by bread recipes. I don’t make as much wholemeal as I should – something I should do something about!
This is a lovely wholemeal sourdough loaf that is great for just about anything – fresh with butter or dipped in olive oil or toasted.
But it really makes great sandwiches. I’m particularly fond of an egg and mayo sandwich, as pictured here. But choose whatever filling you fancy.
It can be shaped as a batard in a proving basket and then baked in a pot, or equally baked in a loaf tin to make it easier to slice for the aforementioned sandwiches.
The recipe is based on my go-to sourdough method, with some tweaks for wholemeal. I have given instructions for both the batard in a cast iron pot and the loaf tin versions.
150g strong wholemeal flour
300g strong white flour
150g wholemeal sourdough starter
325g tepid water
2 teaspoons honey
Weighing, mixing, autolyse Weigh both flours into a large bowl. Weigh the sourdough starter and add, followed by the water. Add the honey. Mix everything together very roughly, in order to incorporate the ingredients.
Cover the bowl and leave for 30 minutes to autolyse. I use a clear plastic shower cap as a cover, as it fits nicely over most sized bowls. A plastic bag is fine too. The autolyse is an important step to activate fermentation.
After the autolyse add the salt to the mixture. Now you can choose to knead the mixture using a dough hook in an electric stand mixer, knead by hand or use the stretch and fold method, essentially a no knead way of developing gluten in the dough. I strongly advise using a dough hook in a stand mixer – I have a KitchenAid which I swear by. You can really develop the gluten in the dough, which makes the dough much easier to pre-shape and then shape. *
Kneading and proving Using a mixer, mix the dough for 6 minutes on the lowest speed, then 4 minutes on the next speed up. The dough should be lovely and stretchy, and pass the windowpane test. If you pull and stretch a small section, it should be translucent. Cover the bowl again and leave the dough in a warm place to prove for about 4 hours. I usually do a couple stretch and folds too – one straight after mixing, and one half way through the prove.
After the first prove of 4 hours the dough should have increased in size by about 50%.
Pre-shaping Carefully remove the dough from the bowl with the help of a dough scraper onto an unfloured work surface. Definitely no flour needed! I use an oversized wooden board, but a bench top will work too. The dough will be stretchy, and shouldn’t be too delicate, but don’t be too rough! Slide the scraper underneath the dough, lifting it from underneath. You will feel the scraper catch the dough as it lifts it up. I try not to remove the scraper, just move it round all of the dough in a circle. Sometimes the scraper sticks, and you need to pull it out, remove the sticky dough, and then go under again, but the more you move around the dough, the tighter the dough becomes and the less likely to stick. Do this circular movement with the scraper a few times until the dough forms a round, wobbly ball that roughly holds its shape. Leave for 20-30 minutes to let the gluten relax.
Shaping This is where you can shape for a batard in a proving basket to be baked in a pot or for a loaf tin. It’s important that you are super careful with the shaping as you don’t want to damage the dough you have worked so hard to develop.
Fo the batard shape, put the pre-shaped dough onto the work surface, lightly floured. Imagine the dough is sort of square shape. Take the two sides of the square shape that are opposite each other and gently stretch away from each other. Fold these stretched bits over each other in the centre of the dough. Turn the dough round 90 degrees and do the same with the other two sides of the square. Now that you have folded the 4 sides of the square, fold 2 of the opposing corners in the same way, and then fold the other opposing corners. Now roll up the dough like a Swiss roll, it doesn’t matter which side you roll up. Press the seam to seal.
If using a proving basket, carefully move the dough into a batard shaped proving basket, with the smooth side of the dough on the bottom and the seam side on top.
If using a loaf tin, butter a large loaf tin generously. Move the dough and place seam side down, into the tin.
Second proving While you can prove your dough for 2-3 hours at room temperature, I advocate the retarded or fridge prove, and this method serves me well. Leave the dough at room temperature for an hour then place in the fridge for 8-12 hours. Doing this at night works well as it allows you to bake your bread first thing the next morning.
Baking For the pot method, pre-heat your oven to really hot – 250 degrees C fan-forced. Put the pot in when you begin to pre-heat, and leave for 20-30 minutes.
Turn your dough out of the proving basket onto a thin flat baking tray or peel, well dusted with semolina. The pretty side of the dough is now on top. Open the oven and carefully take the lid of the pre-heated pot off. You can then slide the shaped dough into the hot pot.
At this point you can score the dough using a lame or a very sharp serrated edge knife. For a batard, score with 1 or 2 long cuts down the length of the dough. Put the lid back on the pot. Turn the oven to 220 degrees C fan-forced. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 20-30 minutes with the lid off. I have experimented endlessly with this latter baking time, and have come to the conclusion that the longer baking time gives a richer, browner loaf, which is what I prefer.
If baking in a loaf tin, pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees C fan-forced 30 minutes prior to baking. If you have one, use a baking or pizza stone. Place this in the oven at the time of pre-heating. Once the 30 minutes is up, to add steam to the oven, put a cast iron pan or a baking dish with water in it in the bottom of the oven. Put the loaf tin in the oven onto the heated stone.
Turn the oven to 220 degrees C fan-forced and bake for 45-50 minutes. The loaf should be dark brown on top.
For either the batard or the loaf, once cooked, remove from the oven, take out of the pot/tin and leave to cool for an hour.
Slice for sandwiches. Of course like any good sourdough, lovely with plenty of butter and home made jam!
*If you don’t have an electric mixer, I recommend the stretch and fold method – see previous post on Sourdough, Ultimate Bread here for how to do this. As for traditional kneading, there is plenty of information on the internet to guide you.
I posted this recipe from Australia’s wonderful Bill Granger during lockdown the year before last. It seems so strange to be talking about lockdown in 2020 when we are still dealing with the pandemic…
It’s quick and easy because it’s an oven baked risotto. It makes sense to let the oven do the cooking rather than spend all that time stirring on the stove top.
Recently, a friend told me that this dish is her go to recipe for risotto, as it’s so much easier than cooking risotto the traditional way.
So I thought it’s about time I posted it again, to encourage reluctant risotto cooks to give it a go!
Bill’s recipe has leeks and asparagus as the veggies. You could replace the leeks and/or asparagus with whatever you fancy – zucchini, peas, broad beans or even tomatoes for a red hued risotto.
2 tablespoons olive oil 500g chicken breast or thighs, cut into thin strips 1 onion, finely chopped 1 leek, sliced into rounds 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 250g Arborio rice 500ml chicken stock 250ml white wine + extra if needed 1 bunch of asparagus, sliced on the diagonal A handful of grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, plus extra to serve Sea salt Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large casserole dish on the stove top over a high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
Add the remaining olive to the pan, then the onion and leek, and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until the onion and leek are soft. Add the lemon zest and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat the grains in the oil. Add the chicken stock and white wine, and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
Cover the casserole and put in the oven for 20 minutes. At this point, if the risotto seems to have absorbed all the liquid, add a splash or two of white wine. Add asparagus, return the chicken to the casserole and bake for a few minutes or until the asparagus is just tender, the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Bill says to do this for 3-4 minutes, I found it took more like 10 minutes to fully cook the rice.
Stir in parmesan or pecorino and season with salt and pepper. Serve with extra cheese.
I’m a big fan of Claire Ptak and her bakery in London. It was a delight to visit last time I was able to travel to the UK, pre Covid! I love her book “The Violet Bakery Cookbook”, and some of the recipes in it have inspired this one.
These tasty morsels are a cross between scones and biscuits. They are quite dense, with ground rolled oats and blueberries.
The mixture is very crumbly and will be difficult to bring together into a dough, particularly with the frozen blueberries. But don’t worry, just pat the mixture into shape and by resting it, you can cut the rounds from the mixture.
Here’s my recipe. This makes 12 smallish scones. You could double the quantities for larger, more substantial scones.
Ingredients 100g rolled oats 150g plain flour 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1/2 baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 50g raw sugar or brown sugar Zest of half an orange 125g cold unsalted butter cut into 1 cm chunks 150g creme fraiche 125g frozen blueberries
Method Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C fan forced. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Blitz the rolled oats in a food processor until finely ground. Mix all the dry ingredients plus the orange zest in a bowl or in a food processor. Cut in the cold butter by hand until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs, or you can continue to use a food processor on pulse, but be careful not to overwork the dough.
Quickly stir in the creme fraiche until just mixed in. Stir in the frozen blueberries.
Turn the mixture out onto a floured board, and pat into a square about 3 or 4cms thick. Rest for 5 minutes at least, even 10 minutes.
Using a 6cm cutter, cut out rounds and place onto the baking sheet. You will probably get 8 or 9 from the dough, then you will need to gather up the remains of the dough and pat together (don’t re-roll) before cutting out the last few rounds.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the rounds are brown on top. You could check after 20 minutes to see how they are coming along. Take out of the oven and wait until the oat scones are cool before serving.
Serve on their own – they are sweet enough – or with homemade berry jam and Greek yoghurt.
I haven’t put up any posts on sourdough bread recently, which is surprising as I make a loaf one a week or so. Possibly because bread making is so much a part of my routine and I am making pretty similar loaves each week.
However recently I have been experimenting with nut and fruit sourdough – bread that’s somewhere between a savoury and a sweet loaf. I think my last couple of loaves have hit the nail on the head – full of earthy flavours of walnuts and the sweet/sour taste of dried sour cherries. I like to include a small amount another fruit too – either raisins or golden raisins, to add a little more sweetness.
The recipe is my go-to sourdough process with modifications to allow for the addition of the walnuts and dried fruit.
425g strong flour
150g sourdough starter
75g sour cherries
50g raisins or golden raisins
Mix Measure the flour, sourdough starter and water into a large bowl. Don’t add salt just yet. Roughly mix to a shaggy dough with a wooden spoon or dough whisk.
Autolyse Cover with a plastic shower cap or plastic bag or tea towel and leave for 30 minutes so the mixture can autolyse.
Knead and Prove Add the salt to the mixture. Using an electric mixer like a Kitchenaid, and the dough hook, knead on low speed for about 10 minutes or until the dough windowpanes when stretched.
Remove the dough from the bowl of the mixer and fold in the walnuts and fruit. I usually do this mixing in the nuts and fruit in 3 or 4 handfuls. Stretch the dough over the ingredients each time you add a handful. Don’t stress about having the fruit and nuts completely evenly distributed.
Cover the dough again and leave somewhere warm to prove for about 4 hours. After this first prove the dough should have noticeably increased in size, but not doubled.
Pre-shape Carefully remove the dough from the bowl with help of a dough scraper onto an unfloured work surface. Definitely no flour needed! I use an oversized wooden board, but a bench top will work too. Sprinkle a very little water on the surface. The dough will be a bit delicate, so no rough treatment. Slide the scraper underneath the dough, lifting it from underneath. You will feel the scraper catch the dough as it lifts it up. I try not to remove the scraper, just move it round all of the dough in a circle. Sometimes the scraper sticks, and you need to pull it out, remove the sticky dough, and then go under again, but the more you move around the dough, the tighter the dough becomes and the less likely to stick. Do this circular movement with the scraper a few times until the dough forms a round, wobbly ball that roughly holds its shape. Leave for 20-30 minutes to let the gluten relax.
Shape It can be tricky to shape a loaf so full of fruit and nuts, so shape carefully and don’t be too aggressive with the dough. You are shaping the dough into a boule or round loaf.
Lightly flour your surface and your hands. Flip the pre-shaped dough over onto the floured surface.
Imagine the round of dough is a clock face. Take one edge of the dough at 12 o’clock and gently pull towards you, and fold into the centre of the dough. Move the dough around to 3 o’clock and pull and fold again. Move to 6 o’clock, then 9 o’clock, pulling and folding. Do this process a couple of times until the dough feels tight and a little bouncy. Scoop the dough into curved hands and rock the dough backwards and forwards on the floured surface several times until the dough feels tight and smooth.
Carefully move the dough into a round proving basket, sprinkled with flour, with the smooth side of the dough on the bottom and the seam side on top.
Second Prove While you can prove your dough for 2-3 hours at room temperature, I advocate the retarded or fridge prove, and this method serves me well. Leave the dough at room temperature for an hour then place in the fridge for 8-12 hours. Proving in the fridge at night allows you to bake your bread first thing the next morning.
Score and Bake This bread is baked in a round cast iron pot. Sprinkle a handful of semolina inside the cast iron pot. Pre-heat your oven to really hot – 240 degrees C. Put the pot in the oven when you turn it on and leave for 30 minutes.
Once the oven is hot, turn your dough out of the proving basket onto a thin flat baking tray or peel, dusted with semolina. The nice side of the dough is now on top. Open the oven and carefully take off the lid of the pre-heated pot. You can then slide the shaped dough into the hot pot.
Now score the dough using a lame or razor blade or sharp knife. Scoring with a cross is good, or you can score with 2 parallel slashes, giving the bread more of an oval shape.
Put the lid back on the pot and close the oven door. Turn the oven down to 220 degrees C. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 25-30 minutes with the lid off. The loaf should be a nice burnished brown, but if it looks too dark after 25 minutes take it out.
Remove the bread to a wire rack or board and leave to cool for an hour before cutting.
Serve with a lot of good butter. This bread doesn’t need jam but it’s up to you! It would also be good with a nice cheddar, or perhaps cream cheese or Brie or Camembert.
Sydneysiders are really looking forward to next week when we are allowed to meet friends outside for a picnic – a little easing of our long winter lockdown.
So picnics are the go! And what better for a picnic than a portable tasty treat like a quiche.
Quiche – that versatile combination of short crust pastry, savoury custard and tasty fillings. Great for lunch, dinner or indeed a picnic.
So cherry tomatoes are the basis of this quiche, as well as a handful of sun dried tomatoes. To make the whole thing fresh and light, I used spring onions, rather than onions, utilizing the green tops as well as the white onion bottoms.
The base is shortcrust pastry, for this particular recipe I used Maggie Beer’s Sour Cream Pastry. The savoury custard is the traditional filling for a quiche.
Filling 2 spring onions, finely chopped 250g cherry tomatoes (a punnet) A handful of sun dried tomatoes 4 free range eggs 1/2 cup cream 3/4 cup milk Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, 170 degrees C fan forced. To make the sour cream pastry, pulse butter and flour in a food processor until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Using your hands, shape pastry into a ball.
Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Grease a medium sized fluted quiche tin with a removable bottom. Roll the pastry out to 3mm thick and place in the tin.
Rest for 15 minutes in refrigerator. This helps reduce shrinkage when cooking. Remove from the fridge, place some pie weights on baking paper inside the tart, and bake blind in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and baking paper.
Decrease oven temperature to 170 degrees C, 160 degrees C fan forced.
Scatter the finely chopped spring onions over the base of the blind-baked pastry case. Chop the cherry tomatoes in quarters, leaving some of the smaller ones in halves. Scatter the quarters over the pastry base. Roughly chop the sun dried tomatoes, and scatter these between the cherry tomatoes.
In a bowl or large jug (the latter is very useful as you can pour the custard into the quiche tin easily), beat the eggs, cream and milk together until thoroughly combined. Add salt, pepper and grated Parmesan.
Carefully pour the custard mixture into the quiche tin. (I find it easiest to place the tin in the oven first before pouring). Place the remaining cherry tomato halves carefully in the custard. Hopefully they will sit artfully displayed in the cooked quiche, but don’t worry if they sink!
Bake until the custard is just set but still wobbly – about 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. Carefully remove and leave to cool slightly before serving.
The quiche is fine as is, or you can serve with a few basil leaves, and/or some cherry tomatoes on the vine, which you slow roast for a couple of hours until wilted.
To make dough, mix all the wet ingredients together. Stir in the flour and bicarb with a wooden spoon until you have a sticky dough. Put the dough onto a floured board and knead by hand for a few minutes until the dough is smooth. Divide the dough into 4 balls.
You can use the dough now or put in a bowl and cover with cling wrap and leave for an hour.
You could even stick in the fridge for a few hours.
To make the filling, chop all the greens, herbs, spring onions and garlic finely. Sprinkle over the salt and pepper.
Chop whatever cheeses you are using into small pieces.
When ready to make your cheat’s gozleme, take a ball and roll out into circles as thin as you can.
Spread equal amounts of cheese onto half of each circle. Then cover the half circles with all the green ingredients.
Fold the dough over the filling to make a semi circle kind of pastie shape, pinching edges together.
Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Cook each cheat’s gozleme for about 3 minutes on each side or until brown and speckled. Pressing down the gozleme once you’ve turned them over helps to amalgamate and cook the filling inside.
Remove from the pan and serve hot with lemon wedges.
We’re in lockdown in Sydney, so it’s back to isolation cooking!
The weather is chilly, so perfect for some hearty fare. I found 4 dishes that fit that description, all cheerful and easy to make. Chilli beef, Yorkshire pudding, treacle glazed steak and chicken risotto.
Granola Dust is a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s healthy take on food Everyday Super Food. It’s basically a granola mix blitzed in the food processor until the mix becomes pulverized. Great for serving with fresh fruit, or just sprinkling over muesli to add another texture.
Breakfast Trifle is a heathy and easy brekkie idea, using Granola Dust that you’ve already made up and have in the store cupboard.
To make a Breakfast Trifle, start of with a layer of Greek yoghurt, then add any mixed mixed berries you like, scatter some Granola Dust on top and finish with a drizzle of honey. You can make this in a jar or in a bowl. You don’t have to limit yourself to berries – stone fruit in summer, or poached apples or pears in winter would be great!
You can adjust the quantities depending on whether you’re making breakfast trifle for one or a large one for the family! The idea is to have fairly equal layers of Granola Dust, fruit and yoghurt.
The quantities for Granola Dust in the recipe are what Jamie Oliver specifies in his book. I thought that sounded rather a lot, so I made a quarter of the mix – this gave me half a large jar’s worth of Granola Dust.
1kg porridge oats
250g unsalted mixed nuts such as walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews
100g mixed seeds such as chia, poppy,sunflower, sesame, linseed, pumpkin
250g mixed dried fruit such as blueberries, cranberries, sour cherries mango, apricots, figs, sultanas
3 tablespoons quality cocoa powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place the oats, nuts and seeds in a large baking tray. Toss together and roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway.
Stir the dried fruit, cocoa and coffee into the mix, finely grate over the orange zest, then in batches, blitz in the food processor till the mixture forms a rough powder or dust.