English garden quiche

English garden quiche

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I thoroughly enjoyed preparing this quiche. I spent a calm, cool and sunny Saturday afternoon leisurely creating this mouthwatering centrepiece! It is a whopper of a tart however, you can cut this into eight generous slices so it’s perfect for a summer dinner party however, you don’t just have to make this for gatherings I had no one visiting… no I didn’t eat the whole quiche to myself my family and I could only manage a third so I sliced up the rest and have frozen individual portions for future dinners when I’m in a rush. For some reason I find it so gratifying when I can cook or bake something that I know will last a sustain me for more than one meal. So regardless of how many are round the dinner table tonight there’s no excuse not to bake this divine, vegetable packed quiche!

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I called this recipe an english garden quiche because I crammed it full of summer vegetables that I think are traditionally grown in British gardens like tomatoes, rocket, watercress, broccoli and parsley. The baked egg filling is stuffed with naturally peppery watercress and rocket as well as, iron rich broccoli and fresh, grassy parsley. I’ve stuck with the simple, traditional common old extra mature cheddar to accompany my egg filling as well as adding a scant of english mustard a vital ingredient as it really accentuates the flavour of the cheese.

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The egg filling is encased within a simple 4 ingredient homemade shortcrust pastry. Spiked with warming cayenne this pastry has an added kick, yet the heat is only subtle as to not overwhelm the natural peppery taste of the leaves. This taste sensation is not complete yet, hidden in-between the pastry and egg filling is a layer of cherry tomato and spring onion sauce adding another dimension to the bake. I find it works perfectly in the quiche as it cuts through the creamy, rich egg filling due to the slight sweet acidity of the cherry tomatoes and spring onions lifting the whole dish.

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Quiche is great hot or cold so it’s a a superb dish to make in advance so you’re not rushing around before guests arrive if your hosting a dinner party. You can even make this the night before a picnic so that in the morning all you have to do is pack up a basket full of food, blankets and plates and off you can go!

(This recipe makes 23cm/5cm deep quiche which will easily serve 8)

INGREDIENTS:

cayenne pepper pastry

  • 250g gluten free plain flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • level tsp cayenne pepper
  • 125g cold butter (cubed)
  • 50ml ice water

tomato layer

  • 10ml oil
  • 100g spring onions (chopped)
  • 150g cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • pinch of salt

baked egg filling

  • 10ml oil
  • 100g watercress/rocket leaves (roughly chopped)
  • 50g broccoli (chopped into tiny florets)
  • tbsp fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 150ml thick double cream
  • 150ml milk
  • 3 large, free range eggs
  • tsp english mustard
  • seasoning
  • 100g extra mature cheddar cheese (grated)

METHOD:

1. Begin by making the pastry. In a food processor pulse together the flour, xanthan gum, cayenne pepper and butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor still running slowly add the water until the dough just begins to clump together. Remove the blade then squash the dough into a ball and wrap in clingfilm before placing in the fridge for 20 minutes. Try and handle the dough as little as possible to prevent it getting to short and crumbly. If you do not have a food processor simply rub and pinch the flour, cayenne pepper and butter together until it resembles bread crumbs (use the same method as you would to make crumble mix). Slowly add the water and stir it into the dough with a knife until the pastry starts to come together. Then wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees or for fan assisted ovens 190 degrees. Once the dough has chilled roll it out to the thickness of a pound coin on a lightly floured surface. The pastry needs to roughly be 5cm greater than a 23cm fluted, loose bottomed tart tin. Lay the pastry over the tart tin and gently press the pastry into the fluted edges. Once lined blind bake the tart case for 20 minutes, then remove the baking beans and parchment paper and allow it to bake for further 10 minutes until quite firm.

3. To make the tomato layer heat the oil in a small pan over a medium flame before adding the spring onions. Place a lid onto of the pan and leave the spring onions to soften stirring occasionally. This should take 4-5 minutes. Next add the cherry tomatoes,  puree and salt and stir until everything is coated in the puree. Leave to simmer gently for 5 minutes, you don’t want the cherry tomatoes to be completely mushy and the consistency should be quite thick. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.

4. Meanwhile prepare the egg filling. Heat another 10ml of oil in a pan over a low flame before adding the watercress/rocket, broccoli and parsley. Place a lid on top of the pan and wait until the leaves have wilted and the broccoli is slightly softer. Stir occasionally to make sure the leaves aren’t burning on the base of the saucepan. They should take about 5 minutes to wilt.

5. In a bowl whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, mustard, cheese, salt and pepper.

6. To assemble the quiche evenly spread the tomato layer across the base of the tart case. Then scatter over the wilted vegetables before pouring over the egg mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden and the centre doesn’t wobble. Leave the quiche to cool a for about 10-15 minutes to make it easier to remove the tart from the tin. Serve with new potatoes and a simple garden salad or I enjoy a piping hot serving of baked beans!

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