Quite a Quiche

Late... Again ?
Late… Again ? (Photo credit: M_AlPhotography)

Ooops! Late again. I really have to get myself organised and get a post out on time. On time is sometime before last thing Sunday. Today is Tuesday!

Anyway, this time I’m going to do a cooking post as I can’t remember the last time that I did one. (It was 15th May 2013, actually). I cooked a quiche this weekend and it turned into two quiches. As I usually do I looked on the Internet for a recipe and came up with this one here. Yes, you are correct, I was using up some of the Christmas ham, but I do like quiches with ham in them. I also like quiches with leek or silver beet, but I didn’t have any of those at the time.

Ham and cheese quiches
Ham and cheese quiches

The recipe that I found doesn’t include the pastry and uses two 9 inch pastry shells, but my dish was around 10 inches across and I guessed that the area would be about the same. If I’d done the maths, I would have seen that one 9 inch shell would have an area of 81 * pi square inches, so two would come to 162 * pi square inches and the 10 inch pie dish would have an area of 100 * pi square inches, so I’d likely have around a third of the mixture left over.

imaginary calculation
imaginary calculation (Photo credit: monkeyinfez)

Anyway, I ploughed on, not realising the problem. I made some ‘short pastry’, which is basically just fat and flour and a little water to bind it. I mixed 5 ounces of margarine and 8 ounces of flour in a bowl. I used the technique of “rubbing in” the fat to the flour and this markedly changes the consistency of the mixture. It starts off with the flour being, well, powdery, but after mixing it with the margarine, the consistency changes to a more “bread crumb” structure. That is, the mixture has a more particulate structure, and the powderiness disappears. When just a little water is added and the mixture is kneaded a little it changes again to a smooth consistency and becomes a ball of dough. There are good reasons why these changes occur, physical and chemical ones, no doubt, but I find them fascinating. What early cook discovered these changes and thereby started the whole culinary business?

Baked pastry dough
Baked pastry dough (Photo credit: 3liz4)

I rolled out the pastry and lined the dish and stabbed the base of the pastry case with a knife. Then I put it into the oven (at around 200 degrees C for 15 minutes). As an experiment I didn’t line it or cover it and I didn’t fill the pastry case with beans or pastry beads or similar. It came out fine and that may be because the oven has a fan to circulate the heat.

The recipe calls for two cups of chopped ham and two cups of cheese. It also calls for dried onion, but I used half a normal onion, which I lightly fried first. Two cups of chopped ham seems a lot when you are slicing it off the bone and then cutting it into small bits. The cheese was OK, and grating that amount doesn’t take long. I had the cheese, ham and onion in a bowl and it already looked a lot.

Grated Cheese
Grated Cheese (Photo credit: Annie Mole)

I used two cups of milk instead of cream and added the four eggs to it. It became obvious that there was too much mixture for the pie dish that I had! I put a large part of the ham, cheese and onion into the pastry case and tipped a similarly large amount of the liquid mixture over it and put it into the oven for the requisite 35 – 40 minutes.

Large quiche
Large quiche

While that was cooking I grabbed a smaller dish and made some more pastry to line it. Half of the above quantities was enough and I put the pastry in the oven with the first quiche for 15 minutes. Again it came out OK, and I filled it with the rest of the mixtures and they filled nicely, so into the oven it went. At this stage I managed to burn myself a little on one of the oven racks.

Smaller quiche
Smaller quiche

Both quiches came out looking fine, and I’m pleased to report they tasted fine too!

Two quiches
Two quiches

Some people may be wondering what re-ignited my interest in cookery. Well, I’d been complaining for some time about my wife’s scales, as it is difficult to measure small quantities on them. So she bought me a small electronic scales for Christmas and I love them! They have an incremental function on them so that you can put a dish on the scales, set the scale to zero, add the correct amount of an ingredient, set the scales to zero again and add another ingredient into the dish and so on. The scales also have a timer function for the actual cooking.

Electronic cooking scales
Electronic cooking scales

Before Christmas I bought a heat pad, so that I could raise bread and other yeast doughs in a more consistent way. Watch out for more blogs about bread making!

Heating pad

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Silver Beet Quiche

I had a couple of large bunches of silver beet and while I love silver beet I wanted to try something a bit different. I haven’t yet made much pastry so I thought I’d give it a try. I went looking for a quiche recipe and came across this Bacon and Leek Quiche recipe which I used as a basis.

Silver beet
Silver beet

So, first of all I made some pastry, using the food processor, and put it into the fridge for 30 minutes. Then I started on the filling.  I put the silver beet on to cook, in salted water. I cut the silver beet into length of 10 – 15 cms. I know that there are people who slice it up small and maybe add it to a stir-fry, but I very much prefer it cooked by itself. Silver beet cooks very quickly so it is also very easy to cook it this way.

A little butter, some milk, cheese and eggs were called for and I used the proportions as in the recipe. However I should have read the recipe more closely – the butter was used to cook the leeks in the original recipe, so I should have melted it before adding to the milk cheese and eggs. Instead I blended the whole lot and it didn’t look too nice, sort of curdled. I reasoned that the cooking process would sort it out. I had no option, apart from ditching the lot!

I retrieved the pastry from the fridge and rolled it out and lined the dish with it. I put some paper in the dish and put some lentils in the paper, I then put the pastry on to cook blind for 10 minutes as instructed in the recipe. Well, it took a lot longer than that to cook, probably because I’d rolled it out a little thickly, I suspect. I’d say about 30 minutes before the pastry was lightly browned at the edges and not too soft in the middle. I’ve looked at various recipes for baking pastry blind since, and they vary tremendously. Some people recommend up to 30 minutes, and some say that it is not necessary to use lentils or beans while baking pastry blind.
So I took the lentils and paper out and filled the case with layers of silver beet and milk cheese and eggs mixture, topped it with some more cheese and put it back in the oven for the recommended 30 minutes. I was a little worried that the pastry edges would burn, but they didn’t and the quiche browned up nicely! Here it is, straight from the oven!

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Straight out of the oven

When I took it out of the dish it came out fine and didn’t break up, thank goodness.

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Out of the dish

Here it is plated up with a rustic salad!

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Plated up with a rough salad!