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Quiche me up


Current cast member JL (my new biggest culinary fan) has requested a quiche recipe. So here you have it. I'm short on writing time as we're in the last flurry of preparations for our show - technical, orchestral and dress rehearsals PLUS the first night all in a matter of days. Yikes. All the more reason for some nourishing sustenance. Luckily we're in no danger of going hungry as we're kept sweet by the daily supply of deliciously British home made cakes provided by local supporters of the opera festival. I'll be keeping score and requesting the top recipes to take home with me, for you.

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Et en français...

Spinach, mushroom, and goats cheese quiche, with option to add bacon

Serves 4, takes 40 minutes plus resting and baking time

main / spring / summer / perennial / quietly smug / picnic / vegetarian / baking / party / brunch

This is a dense quiche, with lots of filling. You could easily eek it out by adding more eggs and cream if you want it to go further. If you're short on time, you COULD use shop bought pastry but I promise it won't be as good. JL, who requested this recipe, doesn't like goat's cheese, so I've included a mozzarella option for her. Or anyone else.

For the pastry

* Butter - 80g, chilled and cut into chunks

* Flour - 130g

* Salt - a pinch

For the filling

* Spinach - a bunch, thoroughly washed (or a bag of baby spinach)

* Bacon (optional) - 6 rashers smoked streaky, rind removed

* Olive oil - a drizzle

* Mushrooms - a couple of handfuls, thinly sliced

* Garlic - 1 clove, peeled and halved

* Eggs - 6

* Single cream - 120ml

* Basil - a handful of leaves, torn

* Nutmeg - 1/4 tsp

* Salt - 1/4 tsp

* Goat's cheese (or mozzarella) - 130g, sliced

25cm metal tart tin, greased

Start by making the pastry.

Place the butter, flour and salt into a mixer. Blitz to an even breadcrumb texture. (If you're making the pastry by hand, use Delia's technique of putting the butter in the freezer for half an hour, then grate it into a bowl with the flour and gently mix with your fingers to create the breadcrumb texture.) Add two tablespoons of cold water and mix until it comes together in one ball. Remove the dough from the bowl, press into a flattish disk, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to rest. It will keep for up to three days like this.

Remove the pastry from the fridge 20 minutes before you want to roll it.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Roll out the pastry on a well-floured work surface, turning and flipping it over frequently. You want it large enough to comfortably fit the tin and go all the way up the sides.

Carefully place the pastry into the tin and press it down firmly with your fingers all the way around the sides, removing any air bubbles. Prick the base of the pastry a few times with a fork.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the pastry starts to colour very slightly.

Meanwhile make the filling.

Boil up a kettle of water. Place the spinach in a colander and slowly pour the boiled water over the top, wilting the leaves. Leave to drain and set aside.

If using bacon, fry until quite crisp in a large frying pan over a high heat. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan and fry the mushrooms and garlic on a medium high heat, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a mixing bowl. Add the cream, basil, nutmeg and salt, and season with black pepper. Whisk to combine.

Squeeze as much water as you can out of the spinach and then roughly chop the leaves.

By now the mushrooms should be nicely browned. Remove and discard the garlic halves from the frying pan, then add the mushrooms, spinach and bacon (if using) to the egg mixture. Mix to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pastry case. Top with slices of your chosen cheese and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

Enjoy hot, warm or at room temperature with a crunchy salad, or as part of an al fresco spread.


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