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Tag Archives: portable food

Very Cherry Tomato Quiche

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.

Ingredients

Shortcrust Pastry
200g chilled unsalted butter
250g plain flour
135g sour cream

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

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.
 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.

Very fresh, very light, very delicious!

Beef, Tomato and Pedro Ximinez Pasties + Sundried Tomato and Persian Feta Pasties

IMG_2611These winter warmers are great as portable fare and can be made as bite sized treats or more substantial picnic food.

I used store bought puff pastry sheets as I was a little short on time to make my own rough puff.

Beef, Tomato and Pedro Ximinez Pasties

The filling was some slow cooked beef cheeks, cooked in Pedro Ximinez sherry. I added in a chopped fresh tomato and and handful of chopped sundried tomatoes. I reduced the tomatoes with the cooked beef until the mixture was thick enough to be used a pastie filling.

Recipe for the beef cheeks follows.

For a dozen pasties, you would need about 1/3 of the recipe quantity. The rest is great served with mashed potato or pasta, root vegetables or green salad.

Ingredients

1.5 kg  beef cheeks
125 ml  olive oil
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 garlicky bulb, halved
1 brown onion, sliced
500 ml  Pedro Ximenez sherry
500 ml  red wine
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C or even lower if your oven is hot (like mine).

Trim the beef cheeks to neaten them up and remove any sinew and silver skin. Season well.

Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy-based baking dish over high heat. Brown the beef cheeks for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, then remove from the pan.

Add the remaining olive oil, then add the carrot, garlic and onion and sauté over high heat for 12-15 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in the sherry, wine, bay leaves, thyme, sea salt and 500 ml water.

Reduce the heat and add the beef cheeks.  Cover and place in the oven to cook for 3-4 hours, or until the cheeks are beginning to fall apart.

The sauce from the beef cheeks should by now be reduced and glaze-like. If it needs further reducing, remove the cheeks from the baking dish, cover with foil to keep them warm and simmer the sauce over high heat on the stove top until nicely reduced.

Increase the oven to 190 degrees C. Take 3 puff pastry sheets, and using a plate as a template, cut out 12  20cm circles; you may have to gather up the trimmings and re-roll them to get all your circles. Don’t worry if you don’t get 12; just get as many as you can from the pastry sheets.

Spoon the stew on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp well to seal.

Place the pasties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Eat pasties warm or cold.IMG_2584

Sundried Tomato and Persian Feta Pasties

Simply chopped sundried tomatoes and crumble some Persian soft feta. Add a sprinkling of fresh herbs like coriander or thyme to taste.

The quantities are up to you – I used 6 sundried tomatoes and 3 small pieces of feta to make 2 large pasties from 1 pastry sheet.

Spoon the filling on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp to seal. These pasties may open during cooking, but as the filling isn’t liquid, they stay intact.

Place the pasties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. These ones are best eaten cold. IMG_2571

Chicken, Leek and Bacon Pies

IMG_2434These little pies are great portable fare when you’re on the go  – small enough to carry, substantial enough to be satisfying.

I made the pies with bought butter puff pastry. I think they would be nicer with home made rough puff pastry – I have made beef and red wine pasties with rough puff and they were really tasty.

The filling is Nigel Slater’s recipe from his Dish of the Day series from the episode Simple Treats:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nq1yv%5B/

It’s pretty easy – you poach the chicken in milk before combining with bacon and leek.  Nigel used chicken thighs on the bone which I also used, giving the pies a lovely flavour.

Ingredients

2 chicken thighs on the bone

6 peppercorns

2 eschallots

1 bay leaf

Milk (enough to cover chicken pieces)

3 rashers of free range, chopped

15g butter

1 leek sliced

1.5 tbsp plain flour

1.5 tsp Dijon mustard

1 packet of Careme butter puff pasyry

1 egg beaten, for glazing

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Place the chicken, peppercorns, eschallots and bay leaf in a saucepan. Cover with the milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

Put the bacon in a large frying pan with the butter, add the sliced leek and cook until the leek is soft.

When the chicken is cooked, remove from the milk and pull the meat form the bone. Put into the frying pan with the leek and bacon.

Add the flour and cook for about two minutes then add the milk through a sieve to remove peppercorns and bay leaf. Add the Dijon mustard. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

Roll out the puff pastry on a board. Cut circles from the puff pastry  with a cutter or plate as guide, big enough to line the holes in a regular muffin tin. Grease the holes, and gently ease the pastry circles into the holes. Brush each pastry circle with the egg wash.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the pastry is lightly brown and puffed. Remove from the oven to cool.

Fill the pastry cases with a generous amount of the filling.  Try not to fill the cases with too much sauce. These pies need to be eaten with fingers so they shouldn’t be too runny!

Cut out circles from the remaining puff pastry, big enough to cover each pie. These pies are rustic, so a perfect lid isn’t important. Brush the lids with more egg wash.

Return the pies to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the pastry lids are lightly brown and puffed.

IMG_2465

Berry Jam Shortcake Traybake

IMG_2306Traybakes or slices are my current baking obsession. Portable, easy to whip up, and always popular, they suit my life at the moment where I need to create something sweet on a regular basis for the hungry hordes or just to keep this quirky writer sane!

So I have adapted my shortcake recipe as a traybake. I left out the whole fruit and just used jam. I cooked for a fraction longer to ensure the bake was firm when sliced. And of course I substituted a square tin instead of a tart mold.

IMG_2263

Ingredients

125 g unsalted butter

125 g castor sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

175 plain flour

50 g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

4 tbls good whole strawberry conserve

2 tbls good raspberry jam

Milk, to brush the pastry

1 tbsp demerara sugar

2 tbsp flaked almonds

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and line a medium sized square cake tin.

For the shortcake, beat the butter and castor sugar until thick and creamy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour, almond meal and baking powder, then stir until combined. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to just bring the mixture together. Divide the dough in half, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough portion into a square about the size of the tin, then press one square into the tin. Spoon the strawberry conserve over the dough, then the raspberry jam, leaving a small border around the edge.

Top with the remaining dough square and press the edges together to seal. Brush with milk and sprinkle with demerara sugar and flaked almonds.

Bake for 30 minutes or until until golden (cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly). Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before carefully removing from the tin and cutting into slices. IMG_2286

 

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