<![CDATA[It's a small world .... - Recipes]]>Sat, 26 Dec 2015 15:36:04 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[An Unplanned Quiche]]>Tue, 11 Nov 2014 00:09:05 GMThttp://vanillaink.weebly.com/recipes/an-unplanned-quicheThe Story
T and I had a conversation a few months ago (just before we moved) one  lunchtime, which went as follows:
T: "Oh yeh, it’s that potluck thing at work on Friday. I’d better remember to take something."
Me: "What do you want me to ma…hang on... Friday is tomorrow!"
Thursday afternoon was the one afternoon I had something planned.
Always the way.
This was the first time I had heard of a potluck – I’d always considered it to be a Jacob’s join. I thought potluck was a game a bit like a bran barrel lucky dip, not something to do with food...

Trying to think of something not only quick and easy, but which I wouldn’t have to buy to many ingredients for (using up the contents of the cupboards was the order of the day.)...

...we - I - no, actually it was a joint decision: we settled on quiche.

Now I like making quiche, but I always find it is one of those dishes which, whenever I make it just for T, turns out OK: crisp pastry, a light and fluffy filling. But whenever I make it for someone else, the pastry goes soggy, the crust burns, or the filling refuses to set…you name it, it happens.

But I have to get used to baking dishes for more than two people at a time... And now was clearly a good a time as ever...

The Recipe

This is my go-to filling for my quiche, I keep meaning to make the hundreds of varieties out there, but I always fall back to this one.
110g plain flour
25g butter or margarine, straight from fridge, diced
25g lard/vegetable shortening straight from fridge, diced
2-3 tbsp really cold water

A 20-22 cm round tin/flan dish.

1 potluck, or cuts into 8 slices.
1 dsp Oil
100g/ 6 rashers bacon, diced 
1 onion/bunch spring onions, diced/sliced
½ sweet pepper – any colour
3 eggs
250ml milk
3oz cheddar cheese, grated
1 generous tsp dried mixed herbs or just oregano, plus extra for sprinkling over the top
½ tsp smoked paprika
Black pepper
2 heaped tsp Dijon mustard

First, the Pastry:

Preheat oven to 200c/180c fan/gas 6.

Put flour into a bowl and add the fat. Lightly rub them together with the tips of your fingers until the flour resembles breadcrumbs. Don’t worry about a few larger lumps - say the size of a peanut or kernel of corn – I think it’s better not to overwork the pastry and leave a few in rather than uniform crumbs but an overworked mixture.

Add a tbsp water, and use a round-bladed knife to bring the pastry together. Keep sprinkling in a small amount of water until the pastry starts to stick together in large lumps, then use your fingers to lightly bring it together. (I err on the side of caution and leave a few crumbs in the bowl rather than adding too much water or overworking it.) Pat into a round shape, wrap in cling film and place in fridge for 30 minutes or so to rest.

Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and, with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is about 3mm thick/25-27 cm in diameter, turning it quarter turns every so often and dusting with a little more flour if it needs to prevent it from sticking to the board.

Lightly lay the pastry over your rolling pin and transfer it to your pan, and lay it over the tin pressing down gently so it lies against the base and sides of your tin. Cut off any overlapping bits of pastry with a sharp knife, but leave a reasonable rim as the pastry can shrink quiet a bit when cooked.  Use these scraps to fix any holes in the pastry case – dip a finger in water and put on both bits of pastry to acct as glue. (Don’t throw away any left over scraps at this stage, as you can use them to patch any holes or cracks which may appear during cooking.)

Lightly prick the base with a fork and put into pre-heated oven.
Ready to go in the oven
Most recipes will tell you to blind bake the pastry shell: covering the pastry case with greaseproof paper and cooking beans/peas. You should probably do this…I never do. Occasionally the pastry puffs up and then those air bubbles get squashed down with the weight of the filling, crack, the filling oozes out underneath in the oven and you end up with a soggy bottom. So, yes, you should most probably do this step.

When the pastry has just started to turn colour and lost its raw appearance (about 15 mins) take it out of the oven. If any holes or cracks, use the raw pastry dough to plug them. 
After being in the oven for 15 minutes
Turn the oven down to 180c/160 fan/gas 4.
Now for  the Filling:

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon and onions until cooked. Add the pepper and fry until it starts to soften and the bacon and onions have a golden tinge to them. Drain on kitchen paper.

Using a fork, whisk the eggs with the milk and then add half the cheese. Mix in the dried herbs, smoked paprika and black pepper.

Thinly spread the mustard over the pastry case, taking care not to press down to hard on the delicate shell. Sprinkle over the bacon, onion and pepper mixture, making sure it’s evenly distributed over the base. Pour over the egg mixture then sprinkle with the remaining cheese and then a pinch of herbs.

Place the quiche on the middle shelf in oven and cook for for 30-40 minutes or until the filling is puffed up, golden and set. (A knife should come out clean, maybe with a little clear juice, when inserted.)

Allow to cool slightly, around 10 minutes, before removing it from the tin. 

Serve warm or at room temperature. 

I think it’s tastiest when eaten on the day it’s made, as the pastry still has that crisp yet melt-in-the-mouth texture, but the quiche can also eaten cold the next day.

~Make ahead: The pastry can be made to the end of the first stage, before any water is added, and stored in a container in the fridge until needed. Or it can be blind baked up to a day ahead. 
The onions and bacon can be cooked the day before you want to make the quiche - perfect for when you know you are going to have a busy morning/want to make it fresh before your potluck...

~A little pastry tip: cold hands. My hands feel like ice even on the hottest of days. But my cold fingers make great pastry. If your hands are hot when you start making this, run them under a cold tap and dry thoroughly. Or just don’t have your hands hugging a hot cup of tea directly before you handle your pastry!

~Omit the mustard if you can’t stand the stuff, or don’t have it in. I personally think it adds an extra dimension, and you can’t really taste it prominently, but that’s my preference.

~Fry some sliced mushrooms with the pepper, or add a couple of tablespoons of tinned sweetcorn (taking care not to add the water from the can, as this can lead to a wet, sloppy centre and/or a soggy bottom situation.)