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Cherry Tomato Quiche

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I haven’t made quiche in ages, and I was excited to have the excuse to make one again.

There was a farewell lunch at work for a colleague, so I thought it was time to dust off my quiche recipe! I usually do the standard quiche Lorraine, but, as tomatoes are pretty good in the late Sydney summer months, I decided to use beautifully ripe cherry tomatoes in my quiche. To make the whole thing fresh and summery, I used spring onions, rather than onions, utilizing the green tops as well as the white onion bottoms. For an extra tomatoey zing, I chopped up a half a dozen semi-dried tomatoes too.

The whole thing was much easier than a quiche Lorraine, the only cooking being the blind bake of the pastry and then the filled tart.

Very fresh, very summery, very delicious!

Ingredients
200g chilled unsalted butter
250g plain flour
135g sour cream

Method
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.
 Roll the pastry out to 3mm thick and place in a well greased fluted quiche 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.

To serve: a handful of fresh basil leaves and some slow roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine.

Method
Scatter the finely chopped spring onions over the base of the blind-baked pastry case. Chop the cherry tomatoes in quarters, leaving a couple of the smaller ones in halves. Scatter the quarters over the pastry base. Roughly chop the semi-dried or 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). At this stage, you can place the half cherry tomatoes artfully in the tart. But if, like my quiche, the halves sink during cooking – don’t worry! It’s just an idea to highlight the lovely cherry tomatoes.
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.

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Salmon Fillet with Spaghetti and Pesto

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I love the the hot smoked salmon from the Orange Grove Markets in Lilyfield, as indeed I love all the produce there on a busy Saturday morning.

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This was my first visit in 2014. So I made spaghetti with pesto and served it with the flaked salmon fillet. I also made a simpler version just with spaghetti and simple green herbs, served with salad including roast golden beetroot.

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The recipe for pesto follows, very loosely based on a recipe of Jamie Oliver: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/pesto

The rest is just assembly – what you feel like at the time!

Pesto

Ingredients

•    1 handful pine nuts, very lightly toasted
•    1 clove garlic, chopped
•    A couple of grinds of sea salt
•    3 good handfuls fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
•    1 good handful parmesan cheese, freshly grated
•    2-3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

Method

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes until they colour and start to release their oil.

I lightly toast the chopped garlic cloves too in the frying pan –  but this is definitely not traditional.

Pulse the pine nuts, garlic, salt and the basil leaves in a food processor.  Don’t over process. Add the parmesan. Spoon into a bowl and gently stir in the extra virgin olive oil – add  enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency.

Check for seasoning and consistency and add more oil if necessary.

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Avocado, Pear and Two Cheeses Pizza + Free Range Leg Ham, Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pizza

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Pizza on the Barbecue Revisited

I have been really enjoying cooking grilled pizza on the barbecue. I  recently posted my first efforts and am now posting a couple of variations that have worked well.

One quantity of the dough recipe below makes 2 pizzas. I sometimes freeze the other pizza dough and use later for either pizza or just plain grilled flatbread, served with a little olive oil with salad or with dips.

A tip – if you are freezing the dough – defrost and allow to come to room temperature but cook pretty quickly as the dough becomes soft and difficult to handle if you leave it too long.

The basic recipe:

Ingredients
Dough

2 ¼ tsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water (40.5 – 46 degrees C)
2 to 2 ½ cups Tipo 00 flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

Free Range Leg Ham, Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pizza 

1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 spring onions finely chopped
3 artichoke hearts, sliced
3 or 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 or 3 slices of free range leg ham, sliced
Basil  leaves

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Avocado, Pear and Two Cheeses Pizza with Chutney and Red wine Dressing

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used Dorset Drum, an English cheddar with a soft texture)
2 spring onions finely chopped
1 pear, sliced
Avocado half, sliced
A handful of crumbled blue cheese (Gippsland Blue is good)
Thyme sprigs

For the dressing Dressing, mix 1 tablespoon of good English fruit chutney with 1 tablespoon of red wine  and a glug of extra vrigin olive oil, and spoon over the oooked pizza.

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Method

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in most of the flour and the salt, stirring until smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until the dough comes away from the bowl but is still sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with lightly floured hands. Knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic and soft, but a little sticky, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to bowl lightly oiled with extra virgin olive oil, turn to coat. Cover with cling wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 2-3 hours. Press it with your finger to see if it’s done; an indent should remain.

Remove the dough from the bowl, divide in half and shape each half into a ball. This quantity makes 2 small pizzas. Or leave as 1 ball for 1 large pizza.

Brush with more oil and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat your barbecue to very high.

Stretch and shape the ball/s of dough into a rectangle or round – or any rustic shape! Brush the top/s with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let rest for 15 minutes. Place on the grill directly on the bars, oiled side down, and grill until lightly golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip over and grill for 1 minute longer.

Place the pizza/s on a baking tray and apply your toppings:

Scatter over your toppings, with the exception of the herbs.

Return to the barbecue, turn down the heat  to medium, close the cover and cook until the cheese has melted and the vegetables are heated through, about 5 minutes.

Scatter herbs over the cooked pizza before serving.

 

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