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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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Sticky Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Herbs

IMG_2126Sweet, sticky cherry tomatoes slow baked with fresh herbs. The flavour really intensifies with the long cooking! Serve on their own, as part of a salad, as a side dish with scrambled eggs for instance, or heaped on crusty bread as part of an antipasto platter.

Ingredients

15 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp caster sugar

Ground black pepper

A handful thyme sprigs and/or rosemary sprigs

1/2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar

Salad greens and Irish soda bread to serve

Method

Preheat the oven the 130 degrees C. *

Place the tomatoes cut side down in baking dish, sitting them snugly next to each other. Scatter with the fresh herb sprigs. Sprinkle over the salt, sugar and black pepper. Pour over the extra virgin olive oil, making sure all the tomatoes are covered.

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Place the tomatoes in the oven, then cook for 1.5 hrs or until the tomatoes are soft and slightly shriveled.

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Remove from the oven, dress with the aged balsamic and leave to cool.

Serve at room temperature, as a side dish or salad.

Or as I did with radicchio lettuce and my Irish soda bread with black treacle: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/04/27/irish-soda-bread-with-black-treacle

*If you wanted to cook the tomatoes really slowly, cook at 100 degrees C for 2.5 – hours.IMG_2090

 

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.

 

Hot Smoked Salmon, Pappardelle and Garden Greens Salad

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Another find at the wonderful Orange Grove Markets in Lilyfield – the hot smoked salmon stall selling salmon smoked on the stall as you watch! The salmon has a delicious, deeply woody flavour, and is succulent and moist. They also sell olives and smoked prawns and mussels.

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I made a lovely simple pasta salad with the salmon fillet and fresh spring salad ingredients.

I combined the flaked salmon fillet with pappardelle, cherry tomatoes on the vine (also from the markets) and a handful of a garden greens from my own garden. I gathered English spinach leaves, wild rocket, radicchio and chives. Sea salt, black pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil was the only dressing necessary as the smoky salmon has such a rich flavour.

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Roast Beef on French Bread with Sweet Onion and Raisin Chutney

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Roast scotch fillet on French bread with greens, cherry tomatoes and lashings of onion and raisin chutney. A perfect weekend lunch – my lunch today in fact! Very easy and quick to prepare, if you have the chutney already made and bottled.

Another early Saturday morning walk to the Orange Grove Markets in Lilyfield yielded some lovely produce – fat red and brown onions, Jerusalem artichokes, baby salad greens, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes and French bread. The artichokes will be savoured later this week.

Sweet Onion and Raisin Chutney from July 2013 delicious. magazine.

Ingredients

100 gms raisins

300 mls sweet fortified wine (I used Pedro Ximenez sherry)

100 mls sunflower oil

1.5 kgs large onions, halved, thinly sliced (I used 1 kg only – it seemed to be enough – and a combination of red and brown onions)

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

125 mls white wine vinegar

Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Place the raisins and and wine in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Immediately remove, then set aside to soak for 2-3 hours (or overnight).

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes or until the onions are soft and starting to colour and stick to the pan.

Add the sugar, cook, stirring frequently for a further 30 minutes or until the onions are a rich brown colour.

Add the vinegar and soaked raisins, including the soaking liquid, then cook stirring often, for a further 30 minutes, or until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat, and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Spoon into sterilized jars and seal.

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Roast Scotch Fillet

Ingredients

350 – 500 gms piece scotch fillet (this is enough for 1-2 large sandwiches)

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tbl olive oil

1 tbl butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Place a heavy based baking dish in the oven to heat through.

Thoroughly coat the fillet in salt and pepper on all sides. Drizzle with the olive oil over all sides. Place in a hot frying pan, searing quickly on all sides to caramelize the fillet. Turn the oven down to 180 degrees C. Place in the baking dish in the oven with the pan juices, adding the butter.

Cook 15 – 25 minutes depending on the weight of the meat and how well cooked you like it. The piece of beef I cooked was 350 gms, and I cooked it for 15 or so minutes for medium rare.

I used the skewer test – checking for “doneness” by inserting a skewer into the meat for a few seconds, removing and placing against my lip – cool means underdone, hot means cooked fine, scalding means overdone! I’m sure there must be a website somewhere that explains this principle a little more clearly!

Remove from the oven when cooked to your satisfaction and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing thickly.

Sandwich

Assemble the sandwich with the following ingredients or whatever takes your fancy:

French bread stick, butter, roast beef, cherry tomatoes, baby salad greens, sugar snap peas, sweet onion and raisin chutney, plenty of salt and pepper.

Can be eaten in the sunshine with a glass of something white and chilled or inside with a more robust red. I chose the latter…

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