Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Mushroom, Bacon And Spinach Quiche

When I first worked as a chef - all those years ago! - one of my main jobs each morning was making up 15 to 20 mini quiches for the deli counter in the shop. I used to love doing it and got to choose whatever fillings I fancied. Each morning I would wander into the chiller room and take out baskets and tubs of asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, fresh Atlantic prawns and loads of Jarlsberg or Gruyere cheese.

But one thing I always forgot to do was to scratch the filling combinations onto the bottom of the foil dish. So it was always a bit of a guessing game for the shop assistants and the customers - but they kept buying them so it can't of been that much of a problem! Perhaps they liked the suprise as well - it may have been a selling point! I doubt it but ........ who knows....

I used to love that job. It was my first job as a chef I was working for a small business that rang a restaurant, a delicatessens and a catering business in a little, sleepy Cotswold village -  it was just part time, during the summer. I would get up really early - needing to be in the kitchens by 5am - I'd light the ovens and get the bread proving for the shop, then make the quiches. At 8:30am I would load up my little mini with all the fresh breads, quiches, pies and cakes to deliver to the shop - all layout on trays covered in brown paper - they looked fantastic and the smell driving along was amazing! We all had such a great time working there - lots of laughs, good food and all working hard .....

So, what I'm trying to say through my trip down memory lane, is that I love to make a quiche and my love for it stems from that time ....

Recipe - enough for 8

300g plain flour
150g butter - cubed
cold water

100g Spinach
180g Smoked lardons
1 large onion - I used a Roscoff Onion but any white or red will do
150g closed cup mushrooms
100g grated cheese - Strong cheddar or Gruyere
4 eggs
150ml creme fraiche
150ml milk
salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven 180 C / Gas 4

First off you need to make up the pastry.  Sift the flour into a bowl, add a good pinch of salt and the butter cubes. Rub the butter in with your finger tips until they resemble breadcrumbs. Gradually add 125ml of cold water and bring it all together to form a dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.

On a floured surface roll out the pastry and line a greased, loose-bottomed flan tin. I like to uses a deep tin which gives you a nice high pastry crust.  Now double line the pastry with greaseproof paper, fill with uncooked rice or beans and blind bake for 12-15 minutes then remove the paper and beans, pop back in the oven for a further 8-10 minutes to golden up and dry out the bottom.

A good tip is to place a heavy baking sheet in the oven whilst it's heating up and then place the flan dish on this - it helps to stop a soggy bottom!

Whilst your pastry case is cooking you can prepare the filling. Peel and dice the onion, place into a frying pan along with the bacon and a little olive oil. Over a medium heat gently cook so the onion softens and the bacon starts to cook through.

Slice the mushrooms and add to the pan - keep cooking for a few more minutes then set aside. Your not cooking the mushrooms through just taking off the 'raw'.

Next make up the liquid. whisk together the creme fraiche, the milk, all the eggs, a good pinch of salt and loads of black pepper.

Wash the spinach and give it all a good shake to dry - a salad spinner is perfect for this.

And finally grate up the cheese.

Now you can assemble it all. Start off with a good sprinkle of cheese in the bottom, follow by a few spoonfuls of the mushroom and bacon mix and then add a layer of spinach.

Repeat until you have used up all your fillings and finish with a final layer of cheese.

Gently pour in your egg mix

And pop the quiche into the oven for 35 - 40 minutes. The quiche is done when the top has a golden colour and the liquid had set.

Leave to cool slightly and serve with a crisp green salad. Leftovers are great cold next day or you can make this quiche up to serve cold for a picnic or party.

Obviously you can change and add any filling for this quiche. Tomatoes, asparagus, peas, peppers, chicken, smoked mackeral and herbs all work well as quiche fillings.

Have a lovely day - My Mum and Dad are about to arrive to take me out for lunch
Love Lizx