Monday, 16 November 2015


Shortcrust pastry. These words used to terrify me. A LOT. No, I am NOT kidding. Until about a year ago I had never even attempted to make a shortcrust pastry. Then something happened. I took the kids to see their grandparents for the afternoon and my father in law was watching Rachel Allen making a quiche Lorraine. I found it fascinating. Rachel was phenomenal, she made it look so simple and easy. I was inspired. I went out and bought a quiche tin the very next day. You see, I had to buy it because then I had to make the quiche. Of course I was worried I will get the dreaded 'soggy' bottom. Of course I was worried it would end up falling apart as you try to take it out of the tin. But I had a go nonetheless. The effect was spectacular. Crisp crust
, rich velvety filling, seasoning just right. Hubby asked me to make it again. And again. And again.... As I like experimenting I tried to incorporate seasonal veg.

So here it a recipe for a vegetarian quiche: Yellow pepper and courgettes quiche (Red pepper was used for decoration only)
Ingredients for 7'' tin Shortcrust pastry:
1 lightly beaten egg
180gr plain flour
100gr cubed very cold butter pinch of salt

Filling: 1 medium sized onion 2 medium sized courgettes 1 yellow pepper 2 lightly beaten eggs 50-60gr grated cheddar 250ml cream (single or double is up to you) sage salt and pepper My tin is 7'' or 18 cm. I found this one to work best for my family of 4, no leftovers. Shortcrust. I know you just want to go out and buy it ready made. Please do NOT. It is simply not the same. Trust me. Trust yourself, you can do this. It only sounds scary. It is actually quite fun. Lightly beat one egg and leave on the side. You will need it in about 5 minutes. Make sure your hands are cold as you don't want the butter melting. Put everything into a large bowl and mix it with your hands until it all resembles breadcrumbs. Pour a tiny amount of the egg onto the mix and bring it together to form a ball. (or something resembling a ball). Cut a long piece of cling film and put on your counter. Most chefs will tell you to wrap it in the cling film and put in the fridge. I am asking you to flatten it first - it is so much easier to handle later). Once flattened and wrapped up put in the fridge for at least half an hour. If you are pressed for time put in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Take it out and roll it out with a rolling pin, a wine bottle.... You need to make it larger than your tin. Keep it in the cling film, this way it won't stick to your rolling pin. Carefully tip over in the tin and press it to the edges. It should go over the edges - simply use your thumb to make a neat finish. Use a fork to make holes in the pastry to help it dry out whilst cooking. Put it back in the fridge for another half an hour. I find that I am always pressed for time so I tend to stick it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

Whilst it is chilling make the filling. Fry the onion until soft and translucent, add the pepper and courgettes (cut into manageable chunks) and fry for another 5-10 minutes until softened. Season with lots of nutmeg and salt. Allow to cool down. Oven to 180. I tend to cover the pastry with aluminium foil and put ceramic beans on top - the so called 'blind baking'. This helps the quiche to crisp up and does not allow it to raise. However, do not panic if you do not have baking beans. Just bake it a bit longer to make sure it is dry. I bake mine for about 30 minutes with the beans and then another 15 without. Once the pastry case is ready, it is time to fill it. Remember to beaten egg you used for the pastry? Add the other 2 eggs to it. Mix in the cheese and cream. Season with sage, salt and pepper. You can either add your vegetables to the mix or you can put the vegetables in the pastry case and pour over the egg mixture. It really does not matter. You can decorate your quiche if you want. I used a single asparagus spear and some red pepper that I had in my fridge. You can use anything you like. Or not bother with decoration at all. Your pastry case should be filled to the top. Carefully transport back to the oven and cook for about 40-45 minutes until a centre is just cooked. The easiest way to find that out - put a knife through - if it comes out clean your quiche is ready. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes then carefully lift out of the tin. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before slicing it. A salad works really well with it for a light meal or you can always make some bacon on the side. Hope you enjoy it.

Desi in the Kitchen

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