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Get me some quiche


I’m pleased as punch to be starting a new collaboration with Balance Garden this week. Have a look at what they've got going on, there's aplenty.

Here’s a rustic and comforting quiche to get the ball rolling. Packed with sweet roasted squash, vitamin king broccoli and salty, tangy blue cheese, this makes a nourishing and colourful slice to brighten up a wintry day. Rather than a plain shortcrust, I’ve jazzed up the base a little with a hazelnut pastry, providing a pleasing hint of nuttiness. You could, of course, use shop-bought pastry if you’re pushed for time. If you’re not (yet!) in the habit of making your own pastry, get to it. It really does only take an extra ten minutes or so and makes all the difference for that crumbly, flaky crust. Plus your guests/family/lover will be super impressed. Also, it seems that if you use the term ‘rustic’ (cf above), any presentation worries can pretty much go out the window.*

* Disclaimer: if I'm being entirely truthful, the pictures on this post are from my first attempt at this recipe where I used a regular shortcrust pastry and went for a more 'galette' approach (where the pastry coming up over the sides of the filling). This doesn't really work with a pre-baked shell for boring reasons which I won't go into. I made the final, hazelnut version quite late on a very dark day which was not AT ALL conducive to photography. The next morning most of it was gone. Anyway, don't be confused when your pastry doesn't look like the photos!

Roasted squash, broccoli and blue cheese quiche with a hazelnut base

Takes 25 minutes active time, 1.5 hours total. Serves 8

There are a fair number of steps to this quiche. Be not afraid, each one is simple in itself. It’s a good one for a lazy weekend/freelancer’s Monday.

You’ll notice there’s a choice of blue cheeses below. I’ve tried it out with both, and each has its benefits. Roquefort gives a stronger, tangier flavour, whereas the gorgonzola is creamier and more unctuous. See which you prefer. I tend to roast broccoli in general when I have the time. With just a drizzle of olive oil it becomes deliciously crispy yet tender in a hot oven, and makes a much more exciting side than your standard boiled florets.

For the pastry

* Plain flour - 150g

* Ground hazelnuts - 80g

* Butter - 120g (cold, cut into chunks)

* Salt - a pinch

* Egg - 1, beaten

For the filling

* Squash (butternut/kuri) - half

* Broccoli - half a large head

* Olive oil - a few drizzles

* Blue cheese - 150g (roquefort/gorgonzola)

* Eggs - 8

* Single cream - 120ml

* Thyme - leaves from a couple of sprigs

One 25cm tart tin

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C (180 for a fan oven).

Start by making the pastry.

Place the hazelnuts, flour, butter and salt in a mixer and pulse until you have a texture of fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and pulse to combine. Next add 2 tablespoons of cold water and keep pulsing until the mixture comes together in one large ball.

Remove the dough from the mixer, shape it into a disk, wrap it up in cling film or beeswax paper and place in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.

While the pastry is chilling, prepare the vegetables.

Remove the seeds from the half squash using a spoon. Cut the squash into half again and place on a large roasting tin.

Chop the broccoli into florets. Remove the stringy outer layer from the stalk and cut the flesh into batons (yes, you should be eating your broccoli stems!). Scatter the broccoli around the squash. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes the broccoli should be golden and crispy around the edges. Remove the broccoli from the pan and set aside. Return the squash to the oven for another 20 minutes, or until tender.

When the squash is nearly cooked, roll out your pastry.

Place the pastry disk on an open, clean section of worktop, scattered with a little flour. Scatter some flour over the disk and begin to roll. Turn the pastry over after every few rolls, scattering more flour as you go.

Once the pastry is large enough to cover the base and come all the way up the sides, carefully transfer it to the tin. A handy tip for doing this is to slide the rolling pin (or wine bottle, if that’s your vibe) under one side of the pastry, which helps support much of the weight as you transfer.

Use a fork to make a few pricks in the base of the pastry and then bake in the oven at 180 degrees (170 fan) for 12 minutes, until just starting to brown.

While the pastry is cooking, make the filling. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and add the cream and thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine.

Roughly chop the roasted squash.

When the pastry is out of the oven, evenly scatter the squash, broccoli and cheese over the base. Pour the egg mixture over the top and bake for 30 minutes.


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