Kale, Spinach and Haloumi Quiche.

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I love making pastry and dough. This recipe uses a really simple shortcrust pastry which can be doubled or halved very easily. It’s pretty much half the amount of butter to flour with a few tablespoons of cold water added at the end to bring it all together.

For a 23cm quiche tin I used:-

200g plain flour

100g wholemeal plain flour

150g butter – cut into small cubes

6-7 Tblsp cold water

Mix the two flours together then rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water and mix until combined. You don’t want to over mix or you’ll end up with a tough crust instead of a melt in the mouth crust. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, flatten it a little then wrap and put in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.

Now roll  the dough out large enough to cover the base and sides of your tin. If you’re feeling creative you can crimp the edges.

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If not, don’t.

Put it back in the fridge for another 20 minutes to rest again (it’s very tiring being dough).

Next, cover with a sheet of baking paper, weigh down with baking beans or rice and bake for 20 minutes at 180oC then remove the beans and paper, prick the bottom with a fork and bake again for another 15 minutes until lightly browned all over

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While the crust is baking make the filling:-

7 free range eggs

200ml thickened cream

2 stalks of Kale – leaves stripped off the stalks

a couple of handfuls of baby spinach

250g haloumi cheese – cut into strips or cubes

2 Tblsp freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional but tasty)

1 tsp sweet paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

Salt and pepper

Lightly blanch the kale in hot water, drain well the roughly chop.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and cream together. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and cumin  then add the kale.

Take the crust out of the oven scatter the haloumi over the base, then the spinach leaves and finally pour over egg mix. Flatten down a little with a spoon or palette knife and bake at 180oC for about 50 minutes or until the centre of the quiche is firm and the top a lovely golden brown.

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Serve with a fresh salad and a glass of wine.

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The combination of texture is great. You have the creamy eggy and spinach bits, the chewy haloumi bits and the flaky, crunchy pastry. Lovely…

Perfect for lunch boxes the next day…

Enjoy…

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Anise Biscuits

I’ve been through The Cookbook Guru‘s book of choice for July and August, The Italian Baker by Carol Field, and put in little pieces of paper to bookmark all the recipes I want to try. The hard part is trying to figure out where to start.

I’ll definitely be making some of the wonderful breads and trying out the Biga (Starter Dough), but last night I felt like baking some biscuits.

These biscuits are wonderful.

They’re very much like Savoiardi biscuits. So light and crispy with a hint of aniseed.

They’re  also very easy to make too. Perfect with a hot cup of tea or coffee. Hard to stop at one….

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You’ll need:-

4 eggs

180g castor sugar

5g vanilla extract

grated zest of 1/2 lemon

200g plain flour

pinch of salt

3g baking powder

5-8g aniseed, crushed

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until very thick, about 8-10 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and lemon zest then gently fold in the sifted flour, salt and baking powder. Now stir in the aniseed.

Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm nozzle and pipe 10cm long strips onto a baking paper lined baking tray.

Bake in a pre-heated 190oC oven for 20 minutes then turn the heat down to 160oC and bake for a further 5-8 minutes until lightly browned and crispy.

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Cool on the trays for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Personally I’ll be putting in a little more aniseed next time I make these. But then I love the flavour of aniseed.

Light, crispy and easy to make….sounds good to me…

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Enjoy…

Sauteed Mushrooms on Soft Polenta

“The mind is willing but the flesh is weak”…

That’s what it’s like this morning for me.

My head is saying ‘it’s time to exercise. Get up! Move it! NOW!!!’

But alas here I am, sitting at the computer, looking out the window at the drifting fluffy white clouds and the sun reflecting off the neighbours TV aerial. For now, the laziness wins.

In my defense there are still many hours left of this day so my head will get it’s way. Besides, I need a couple of things from the local supermarket, which happens to be at the end of my usual walking route so exercise  will be done at some time today.

Until that time comes though, I thought I’d share with you what we had for dinner last night…

Sauteed Mushrooms with Soft and Cheesy Polenta

First make the polenta.

You’ll need:

1/2 cup polenta

1 cup water

1 cup milk

1 tsp thyme leaves

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

50g butter – cut into small pieces

a little salt, a little pepper

In a medium saucepan bring to a boil the milk and water then slowly sprinkle in the polenta while whisking continuously. Turn the heat to it’s lowest and let the mixture cook for 30 minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t stick.

Stir in the butter, cheese and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cover and leave to rest while tending to the mushies.

For the Sauteed Mushrooms you’ll need:

300g of whatever mushroom you like (I used swiss browns this time)

50g butter + 1 Tblsp olive oil

2 large garlic cloves – finely grated or crushed

2 tsp thyme leaves

a handful fresh parsley – chopped

a dash of white wine

2-3 Tblsp cream (although I didn’t have any so I used greek style natural yoghurt)

salt and pepper

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In a large fry pan melt the butter with the oil. Add the mushroom and saute for a few minutes until they’re soft then add the garlic and thyme. Cook for a couple more minutes before adding the white wine and cream(yoghurt). Finally stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

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To serve spread some of the polenta on a plate then spoon on the mushrooms and some of the cream sauce.

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Really simple but really tasty.

(I believe it’s now time for that walk…)

Enjoy…

Warm Roast Veg.and Quinoa Salad

I’m pretty sure just about everyone goes through the “What shall we have for dinner tonight?”  scenario all too often.

There we are standing in front of an open fridge, looking at what’s inside. What needs to be used up? What can do with this little bit of whatever? How can I turn that into a satisfying meal?  And the biggest question of all…What does my stomach feel like today???

Well yesterday my stomach felt like some roast veggies.

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I went through the fridge and the pantry and came up with a chunk of pumpkin, some sweet potato, a zucchini and other bits and pieces. So after looking at all these ingredients I got an image in my head and I acted on it…

I chopped up some pumpkin, a couple of potatoes, a zucchini, half an eggplant, a few chunks of sweet potato, a red onion and a tomato. (If I’d had some beetroot that would have gone in too. I wish I’d had some beetroot….oh well…)

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Into a large bowl went all the veg. along with some grated garlic, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a good glug of olive oil. A toss around to coat the veggies in the garlicky goodness then onto a baking tray. A sprinkle of salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, ground cumin and a scattering of fennel seed. Into a hot oven, 230oC for about 30 minutes until veggies are cooked.

While waiting for the veggies to cook I put 1/2 cup of quinoa into a saucepan with 1 and a bit cups of water. I added a little finely sliced onion and a couple of garlic cloves. This was brought to the boil then the heat was turned right down, the lid put on and it was left to gently cook for 20 minutes.

On the serving plate was arranged some baby spinach, a little green and purple kale. Then the quinoa IMG_1818

and finally the roast veggies. A drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and if you like some feta cheese.

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Oh and the left overs make a great lunch…

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Enjoy…