Quiche- featuring Spinach and Gorgonzola.

My quiche. An adaptation of a French classic. For me this weather calls for it. Something that can be enjoyed hot or cold, with salad or vegetables, or in my case a side dish to accompany  an impromptu barbecue (how convenient it was to have a humble, freshly made quiche lying around when friends drop by with a disposable barbecue). So not planned.



 The word quiche is actually derived from the German word kuchen (meaning cake), and the Germans in fact had their own version of this dish before the French, the difference being the brioche dough that the savoury custard was baked in. Although the quiche as we know it, in the incarnation that I will be cooking today is French in origin.

So whether you want to call it French or German, it is what it is and that sure is tasty.

Quiche can be made with cream, milk or creme fraiche, many recipes I happened upon either chose cream or a mixture of cream and milk to mix with the eggs. I myself have only ever used milk alone to make quiche, and whist I can see the benefits of using cream, I feel that it is an addition of calories and saturated fats to my day that could be better utilised elsewhere- ice cream for pudding anyone? Also I will be loading this mother with cheese which will make up for the richness lost through using semi- skimmed milk. I’d much rather cheese than cream any day.

First for the pastry- shop bought ready to roll pastry of course works just as well but there is nothing like making your own for that fine sense of achievement you get when the quiche emerges soggy bottomless.

Note to self- heat wave is not the pastry makers friend. Perseverance is key to success when inevitable frustration ensues.

Two major points to keep in mind when pastry making.

1. Keep the butter cool. If it starts to melt or go greasy at any point rush it into the fridge as if its life depended on it. 

2. Do not overwork. Something that can not be reiterated enough in many forms of baking. Overworking aids gluten development through friction and body heat, leading to shrinkage and toughness, neither of which are desirable qualities in a good short crust.

Shortcrust Pastry 

170g Plain Flour

pinch of salt 

100g unsalted butter cut into little squares (about 1cm)

1 egg yolk

2 tbsps ice cold water

Mix egg yolk with water. Sift flour and salt into bowl. Cut butter into flour using scissor motion with two table knives. Rub flour into butter (dip fingers into flour, rub butter with flour using tips of thumb and fingers, pulling flour up above the bowl as you do this helps to keep mixture cool as it falls back into bowl through aerating it). When fine breadcrumbs achieved add half water and mix with table knife. Add the rest in bits until pastry comes together. Bring together into ball and press down to form disc. Wrap in cling film. Chill for 30 mins (at least). Dust flour over clean surface. Roll out and press into tart tin with due care and attention (or roll into weird higgldy piggldy oblong shape, tear and press pieces on to make circle shape required for tin- will one day learn to roll into circles for now I shall call my pastry rustic and leave it at that).


Instead of rubbing together with hands place sifted flour and salt into food processor with diced butter. Whizz until breadcrumbs, remove add eggy water and bring together with hands as above. A bit of a cheat, but less handling is always good and also means less body heat being transferred to the butter. Although in this case I still had to do a bit of rubbing to make sure butter and flour were properly breadcrumbed and had to give it a good rest in the fridge to cool it down a bit after all that action.

Next for the blind bake. I placed roughly ripped baking parchment into my prepared pastried tart tin and added dried chick peas to weigh it down. I refrained from poking the pastry as I did not want the wet mixture to seep through later. I then baked for 15 minutes with the beans in, then removed them and baked for another 10 minutes until golden brown. 

Leave to cool down if possible, a method of prevention for the soggy bottom.

Now for the filling……

200ml milk

120g cheddar cheese grated

70g gorgonzola

200g baby leaf spinach cooked

3 medium eggs beaten

1 onion (chopped and fried in a bit of butter)

nutmeg (whole)

Salt and Pepper

Combine milk and eggs. Add grated cheese. Roughly tear gorgonzola and add. Add cooked ingredients (spinach and onion). Season. Add freshly grated nutmeg to the mix. Pour into blind baked pastry case. Cook for about 40 mins on 180 or until set. Eat. Enjoy.

The resulting quiche is fully loaded with spinachy goodness with the odd hit of blue cheese. If you prefer your quiche less loaded- ie more custard less filling use 100g spinach and less cheese.Image

This was eaten fast!!


Steak Glorious Steak! Co-Starring, roasted broccoli, spiced potato wedges and garlic mushrooms.

I apologise in advance for my lack of exact measures, with meals like this I don’t tend to work like that, so any measures I do give are approximations. I usually just rely on eye adding if needs be and being stingy with things like salt that wield the power of ruining a meal with one shake too many, tasting as I go along.

So anyway I shall kick off with a lovely simple meal, rather a treat for my manfriend and I the ubiquitous Sirloin Steak!! (This sumptuous piece of meat wholly deserving of the capital letters it has acquired!)

The Sirloin is of course one of the greatest cuts of Steak one can acquire, and is without a doubt one handsome piece of meat. Something often eyed up, but seldom purchased due to the ever present lack of funds that usually besieges me. But not this week! The window shopper (food perv) in me was delighted to find fifty percent off in my local Co-Op, thank you there is a god!

After getting the steak home and eyeing it lovingly as it rested on my counter (bringing it down to room temperature ready to be cooked), I prepared my sides, which are of cause lesser in comparison, but just as important to the success of my meal. If I’m going to eat steak I’m going to do it properly!

First of all a couple of red skinned potatoes for some spiced potato wedges. I say spiced, in this case I am using my one stop, go to spice mix for these which is Caribbean Everyday Seasoning (or All-Purpose Seasoning depending on the brand). This seasoning saves a lot of dishes from the throwaway fate of the bland, perking it up with a mixture of salt, chilli, paprika, onion, celery, coriander and cumin (in no particular order). This should, however, come with a disclaimer as it can easily be overused, it is generally around 72% salt and so one should not be too liberal with this. I often mix it with extra paprika if I am going to use it for potato wedges, which I have done in this case. I have in the past made my own version of the spice mix in order to have control over the salt content using the spices listed above.

I recommend red skinned potatoes for everything!! They are especially great for wedges.


Spiced Potato Wedges

3 tbsp Olive Oil

Carribean Everyday Seasoning


Freshly Ground Black Pepper

couple of potatoes chopped into wedges

Put oil into largish bowl. Pour in seasoning (to taste). Mix to create seasoning coloured oil (red in this case). Add chopped potatoes. Dig your hands in and get messy until all potatoes are evenly covered. Transfer to baking tray in single layer. Cook on about 200 for at least 20 minutes. Poke with sharp object to check if cooked.

Next in my line up of sexy sides is roasted broccoli. This bits pretty simple just wash it, cut it, put it on a baking tray, drizzle with oil of choosing and roast until looks done, after about 10-15 mins (I am a little ad-hoc with these things but usually seem to get it right without looking at my watch, some might call it intuition, I call it a nose for smelling the almost burnt). Roasted broccoli is something only recently discovered by myself and has been gracing many a plate of mine ever since. This takes broccoli to a whole new level that I didn’t even know existed, silly me.

My final addition to this extravagant for the likes of me meal is a classic player in the sides game, the somewhat obvious choice, garlic mushrooms. Mushrooms and steak go together like, well mushrooms and steak, no analogy needed here to explain my choice, its pretty damn simple, yet always effective. Nevermind the fact that mushrooms are full of lovely nutrients such as selenium, copper, potassium and vitamin D and magically manage to retain them whether fried, grilled or microwaved, Oh My!

Garlic Mushrooms

4 tbsp Butter

Mushrooms, (about half a punnet)

2 Garlic Cloves

Parsley (fresh or dried, in my case dried)

Celery (or table) Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Slice mushrooms. Melt butter in pan. Add Garlic (crushed, or in my case grated due to lack of a garlic cutter). Add Parsley Add salt and pepper. Fry for a bit. Smell the nice smells. Add mushrooms. Stir until coated. Cook for around 5- 10 mins on low to medium heat (for me this is number three on the biggest ring of my electrical hob) until done.

Now for the Steak. This was cooked in a griddle pan so I could achieve the lovely liney effect Burger King is so good at. The griddle pan was then placed on the hob with the heat on high (about 5). I stroked my (room temperature) beauties in a little Everyday Seasoning and black pepper (black pepper will do if no Everyday Seasoning graces your cupboards). When the pan was hot I mercilessly threw my lovelies in and cooked them until medium rare. This is said to be around 3 mins on each side but a trick  as suggested by Harold McGee in his miraculous work of food reference and general knowledge, On Food and Cooking, is to turn the steak frequently in order to prevent overcooking, as this ensures neither side has the time to absorb or release large amounts of heat. This method unfortunately did not bode well for my of fancy lines (doh) but it does produce excellent results every time.

Steak glorious steak. A perfectly cooked Sirloin Steak is enlightenment ingested.Image