Last week I had wanted to make use of some bacon, eggs and milk that I was in abundance of. As we'd already had bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast I decided against it as it would hardly make for a balanced diet. Today however, proved to be the ideal opportunity to make a quiche.
We were going to be out in the late afternoon so needed to make a substantial lunch to keep out energy levels up - otherwise poor hubbs would get hungry and want to go home!
This was made up from guess work and scratch so I was pleased with the outcome - not all experiments in the kitchen turn out OK and these days I need to be quick in the kitchen and don't have too much patience to follow recipes and measurements strictly. (Baking aside though - that is a food science and I think you have to be fairly strict to the guidelines.)
The pastry shell was made from shortcrust pastry and I probably had 200-250g of pastry - you can use store bought for speed and convenience. Filling was simply a few things from the fridge, mushrooms, 2 rashers of bacon, a few sugar snap peas picked from my garden, shallots, eggs (from our own backyard hens), cheese and milk.
Bacon, Mushroom and Shallot Quiche
250-300g shortcrust pastry (I have seen ready baked pastry shells in supermarkets but find these too thick and too shallow for quiches and pies)
2 rashers of back bacon
few sugar snap peas
50g cheddar cheese (mine was a strong flavoured cheddar so I didn't use a huge amount as the taste would be overpowering)
Grease a loose bottomed flan tin. (Or if like me you want something a little deeper, use a 4cm deep loose bottom cake tin.)
Roll out pastry and line the bottom and sides of the tin. Prick the base of the pastry well with a fork and bake in the oven (Gas 6) for 15 minutes.
Cut up bacon, slice mushrooms and shallots and chop up peas. Fry in a pan with 1 tablespoon of oil until cooked. Season well with black pepper and a little salt (bacon might be salty).
When the pastry shell is cooked (it may begin to turn golden on edges) add the cooked mixture to the pastry shell.
Grate the cheese and scatter over the filling.
Beat the eggs together with the milk and pour into the pastry shell.
Return to oven turn setting to Gas 4 and bake for 35-45 minutes. The filling should be set and just be turning golden brown.
Serve hot with potatoes and vegetables, warm with salad, or take cold on picnics or at buffets and parties.
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Saturday, 26 June 2010
My mum always admires my results from craft class and I always replicate what I learnt in class as a bracelet for herself. Guess what? She likes the bracelet herself and has requested one for herself in purple! All I need is to source my materials and I'm threading and beading! I'm glad someone likes my efforts! I only wish I was creative enough and talented enough to devise these patterns myself!
Friday, 25 June 2010
Today, I have carried out my dutiful wife duties and made a home cooked dinner. We had a chinese-style dinner of steamed jasmine rice, fish fillets in with lemon sauce and stir-fried prawns with flat beans.
I love sweet and sour dishes and would be happy to eat them more often but my hubby is not a fan. So I do not indulge very often. I also don't like deep frying as I hate having to deal with the left-over oil afterwards. I occasionally shallow fry - but again not too frequent as I don't like clearing the oil splatters around the hob.
I have fried these fish fillets before and served them with sweet chilli sauce. I was amazed how delicious the fish was! I was a little dubious as I had never heard or tried the fish before. The fish is 'responsibly farmed' and comes from Vietnam (not very green-mile friendly given that it must have a 12 hr plane flight to get to the UK!). It's packaged as River Cobbler (I believe the name is Pangasius hypophthalmus and one supermarket calls it Basa). It comes as 2 skinless and boneless white fish fillets and has a very delicate taste to it. First time I ate it, I squeezed the juice of half a lemon on it, sprinkled with white pepper before coating in flour and frying. It was light and crispy and delicious!
Fried Fish Fillets with Lemon Sauce
265 g (2) fish fillets (I used River Cobbler, but I guess any white fish of your choice will be good)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons of cornflour
a little egg white (I used about 2 teaspoons although have omitted this in the past)
150ml cold water
50ml fresh lemon juice (this was one small lemon)
lemon zest from one lemon
2-3 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of chicken stock powder
3 teaspoons of corn flour mixed with a little cold water
I sliced the fish lengthwise (as it seems to have a natural split down the middle) then cut it into diagonal strips around 2 finger widths wide. I like it this way as I have a fear that it may not cook properly if too thick and also won't have a crispy coating.
When sliced, I added a shake of white pepper and a light sprinkling of salt before adding a teaspoon of soy sauce (light soy). I then dribbled some egg white onto the fish (to make it moist so the seasonings would mix more evenly). I mixed this gently until everything was lightly marinated.
Taking each piece of fish individually, I pressed both sides into a plate of cornflour so it had a light coating, shook off the excess and placed to the side of the plate and continued until all pieces were coated.
I heated some oil (sunflower) in a small frying pan and placed each fish fillet in one at a time until the pan was full. After a minute or two (when the bottom looked set and crispy - but not brown) I flipped the fish over and cooked for another minute or so. I let the fish drain on kitchen paper before frying the next batch.
Stir-Fried Prawns with Flat Beans
12 raw king prawns, peeled, de-veined
handful of flat beans (about 8)
1 shallot, sliced
cornflour liquid (1 teaspoon of corn flour mixed with a little cold water - optional)
I washed, top and tailed the beans before slicing into 1inch diamonds.
I heated 1 tablespoon on oil in a wok and when hot, I added the beans and sliced shallot. I stir-fried these for about 1-2 minutes before adding about 1/4 cup of water to the wok, added a shake of white pepper, splash of soy (1 teaspoon) and a blob of oyster sauce (about 2 teaspoons). I placed a lid on and let this cook for about 2-3 minutes so the beans would cook.
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
So, it took me a week (or two) to finally get round to making the jam. I saw 2 punnets of apricots on discount at the supermarket and bought those thinking apricot and mango sound divine! Thought my sad little mango probably wouldn't be enough so bought a cheap small one to join it.
When it came to making the jam yesterday, my unripe mango (sitting sadly naked in the fridge - well, it was peeled and had nothing but clear cling film to shield it's modesty!) was beginning to look a little brown and squishy in places. I cut the unsightly portions off and proceeded to sample the fruit. Still did not taste good. Still sour and now a nasty aftertaste (mango prob past its best). OK, bin time for the poor mango!
When I was sure the sugar was dissolved (this is very important because if there are undissolved sugar crystals, they will stick and burn on the bottom of the pan when you do the next stage - boiling), I turned up the flame and let the mixture come to a rolling boil (that won't go down when stirred). Careful! Use a large pan to make the jam as boiling hot sugar is very hot and can scald! Boiling jam does spit too!
Mmmm...! It's surprisingly good! An intense fruity hit of apricot and peach which is pleasantly sweet and tangy without the sweet sickliness of store-bought apricot jam. I think the golden orange hue comes from the cherries I added! :0) I think this would delicious on warm buttery scones or even a simple swiss roll. I'm pleased with this batch of jam!
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Yesterday we had Stuffed Peppers for dinner and as I had some left-over minced beef and tomato filling, I thought I'd keep with the Greek theme and make moussaka. It's a layered dish with aubergine and potato and topped with bechamel sauce.
Wednesday, 9 June 2010
That recipe abandoned, I tried a new one from a book I bought 6wks ago - Cakes & Bakes from my mother's kitchen.
We ate the warm brownie with scoops of vanilla ice-cream and strawberries. I don't have to tell you that it was g-o-o-o-o-o-d!
I usually take my baked creations to work or craft class so it can be enjoyed - this brownie is a bit too good to leave home but, it's too much for two people to eat even if hubby needs fattening up and I'm eating for two! ;0)
I think we'll have to keep some at home to eat over the weekend and maybe I can spare some to sweeten my work colleagues with!
Recipe: (from Cakes & Bakes from my mother's kitchen)
makes 16 brownies
100g walnut pieces (I used 75g)
4 large eggs (from my own hens so they are probably medium sized)
300g caster sugar (this horrified me so I used 250g)
140g unsalted butter, melted (I only had salted butter so used that)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
140g plain flour
75g cocoa powder
(I also added a small kid sized bag of milk choc buttons and white choc buttons leftover from decorating cupcakes - I guess around 25-50g?)
brownie tin, 20.5 x 25.5 cm, greased and base lined with baking paper.
Preheat oven to 170 C (325F) Gas 3
Put walnut pieces in ovenproof dish and lightly toast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Don't turn off oven.
Break eggs into mixing bowl. Use hand-held electric mixer to whisk until frothy, then whisk in the sugar. Whisk for a minute then, still whisking constantly, add the melted butter in a steady stream. Whisk for a minute, then whisk in the vanilla.
Sift the flour and cocoa into the bowl and stir in with a wooden spoon. When thoroughly combined, stir in the nuts. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and spread evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes until a skewer inserted halfway between the sides and the centre comes out just clean. Remove the tin from the oven.
Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin nad cutting into 16 pieces. Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.
The Greek salad I made has cucumber; green pepper; tomato; red onion and feta cheese. We first had this 5 years ago when on honeymoon in sunny Santorini, Greece. It really brings back sunny memories of the deep blue sea of the Mediterranean and cloudless blue skies.