Monthly Archives: January 2014

Quiche Veronique and a simple salade

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Quiche is a timeless,french classic. You can’t argue with the fact that it’s delicious and impressive. For a long time I have been shying away from it, thinking it involves way too many processes and it’s too hard to make, but hey- I was wrong and I stand corrected!

My primary inspiration for this quiche was quiche Lorraine. Which is basically : eggs,cream,gruyere cheese and bacon. Which on it’s own sounds incredibly amazing and almost food-porn like. I have decided to make a bit of a tweaked version of it, by adding some softened leek and onion, as well as some matured Gouda and some hot mustard to the filling.

The end result was indeed amazing, but I couldn’t call it quiche Lorraine anymore, as it differs too much from the original, so I decided to call it quiche Veronique instead 😉 hope you don’t mind.(it’s a bit of an ego boost 😛 )

for 1 quiche(serves  8-10slices)

300g of plain flour

150 g of cold butter, diced into cubes

1 tbsp of salt

2 small eggs(for the pastry)

250g of creme fraiche

150 ml of whipping cream

250 g of smoked bacon

1 small onion- diced

1 small leek- sliced into half-moons

1 heaped teaspoon of hot mustard such as dijon

salt,pepper,nutmeg to season

5 eggs(for the filling)

150g of matured gouda,grated.

quiche form 25-27cm

1)      You need to start by making pastry, pastry seems difficult,but it really isn’t, aspecially not this one. The only thing you need to make sure is to not over-knead it, because you do want it short,crumbly and not tough.

so, put your flour,salt and butter into a bowl,or onto your worktop, work it as if you were making a crumble- rub the butter between your fingers with the flour,until you get sort of oatmeal texture,you don’t have to work all the butter in so well that you can’t see it anymore- roughly is fine as long as you don’t have huge lumps of butter in the flour.

2)      once that is done, make a little well in the center of you mix and crack it one egg(sometimes the flour needs more,up to 2 eggs,but start with one and go from there,if the mixture is too dry, add the other egg). work the dough as you would normally,if it’s too dry add the other egg and mix again,knead until it’s well combined and smooth.  When it’s nice and smooth and not too sticky- wrap it tight in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.

3)      while your pastry is resting, you can get on with the filling. fry off your bacon until crispy, then remove it from the pan to cool, remove some of the grease(leaving about 1 tbsp) and fry off your onion and leak in that. season them lightly with salt and pepper, then leave to cool.

4)      whisk your 5 eggs in a bowl, season with salt,pepper,nutmeg and mustard, add the creme fraiche and the cream and once again,mix well until smooth and well combined.

5)      after an hour, remove the pastry from the fridge, roll it out onto a floured surface,making sure it’s evenly rolled out, to cover the quiche form you have, you can add some extra flour onto the surface and the rolling pin,to prevent from sticking.

6)      butter your quiche form well , then transfer the pastry into the form.press it down into all the nooks and edges,make sure there are no holes in the pastry. prick the base using a fork ( 10-12 times all over the bottom)it will prevent the pastry from raising too much and any of the trapped air bubbles will burst.

7)      cover the pastry with baking paper and tip some dried beans or rice onto it-to way the pastry down,and to stop it from rising. distribute the beans evenly and  ”blind” bake it for 15min in 190C,preheated oven.

8)      after 15min, remove the beans and the parchment and bake for 5more minutes,so the pastry dries out nicely,before adding the filling.

9)      after the additional 5 minutes take the form out of the oven and sprinkle in your bacon,leek and onion, cheese- then cover it with the egg/cream mixture. sprinkle some extra cheese on top if you want, then pop it carefully back into the oven for 25-35 min, 190C. the time may vary,depending on how big and how deep your dish is-so just keep watching it and when the mixture is set and the top is brown- just take it out.

10)   let it cool to room temperature before serving., then cut and serve with a simple salade of mixed lettuce,cherry tomatoes and a small drizzle of balsamic reduction.

enjoy! 😉

 

2014-01-22 15.58.19

Classic white loaf/bread dough/pizza dough

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Bread and bread dough always seemed very complicated to me. Loads of kneading, hours of rising, then knocking it down etc, seemed a bit too much for my liking.

Only recently , after watching one of the BBC baking shows, I have decided to face my nemesis, and give it another go.

Bread seemed all complicated and time consuming..and in reality it turned out to be a piece of cake..(or a piece of bread,should I say? 😉 )

This recipe is a basic,simple white loaf recipe. It’s very versatile, and you can change it any way you like it, add nuts,seeds,seasonings,herbs, take your pick.

Once you have mastered the white loaf- the world’s your oyster, you can experiment with bread all you like.

Another good thing about this dough-is that you can make it exactly the same as the bread dough,knead,let it rise etc, and then instead of letting it proof in a loaf tin, roll it out and use it as a pizza base. I’ve tried and tested both, and they’re bulletproof.

for a small bread or 2large pizza bases(for a large bread and 3 large pizza bases use 750g of flour,10,5g yeast,double the oil,salt and water as well as the sugar).

500g of plain,white flour

7g of dried active yeast

2 tsp of salt

3 tbsp of oil, vegetable,sunflower etc.

about 300ml of warm water

1 tsp of sugar

1)      put the warm(not too hot,important,as it will kill the yeast if too hot) water into a glass or a bowl,add the sugar and the yeast.Stir and let it stand for about 5min , until it’s foamy and smells very yeasty. The yeast needs to foam up-then you know it’s alive.If the yeast doesn’t foam,it’s still and you can’t hear it hissing when you put your ear to the glass- it’s dead,probably the water was too hot.Start again.

2)      after the yeast is foamed up, mix your flour,salt and oil in a large mixing bowl.You can sift the flour,but I honestly don’t bother with that step. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients, then pour in the water with the foamy yeast. mix with your hand until its starting to come together, then start kneading-about 15min by hand should be enough. You can use a standing mixer with a dough hook as well.

3)      after 15min of kneading in the bowl,the dough should be pretty smooth and elastic. Then tip it out onto a slightly floured surface and knead hard for about 10minutes. This stage is pretty important as you stretch the gluten in the flour while kneading the dough and stretching it on you counter top,so don’t be shy with it. It’s a good workout too, so don’t be afraid to break a sweat;)

4)      after 10min of kneading & stretching, place the dough into a clean,oiled bowl, and wrap with cling film. let the dough rise for about 1,5hours.

5)      after the dough is doubled in size take it out of the bowl gently,tip it onto your counter and gently knock the air out of the dough. this might seem strange,but that’s how it works,so don’t question,just do it 😉 after you’ve knocked the air out (gently) and the dough seems rather flat, take the longer end and roll it into a rugby ball shape,don’t knead anymore,just roll it tightly,tuck the ends in, and place into a greased loaf tin, cover with a cloth and let it proof for another 30min.

6)      preheat the oven to 220C fan, remove the cloth from the bread.it should be slightly risen back up. Now you have a few options-you can just score the top,and leave it as it is,lightly flour it, or brush it with beaten egg white and sprinkle with various seeds-that’s up to you.

7)      place the bread in the middle of the oven, and splash about 100ml of room temperature water into the oven-it will create some steam and the bread will cook better,it won’t dry out. quickly close the oven door and let it back for 30min.

8)      tip the bread out from the tin while still hot,tap the bottom with your fingers-if it sounds hollow-it’s ready 😉 enjoy!

Now,if you want to make pizza-make the dough exactly the same,let it rise until doubled in size, then knock the air down,roll out with a rolling pin or handle in your hands until it’s thin enough,then place onto a baking tray,lined with baking paper form a round shape, top with sauce and your favourite ingredients-bake in 220C until golden- about 15-20min,times may vary depending on the oven,so keep an eye on it.

This dough would also be great for making calzones, so give it a go, hope you like it, here’s some of my results: a traditional scored loaf with sesame seeds,a white,floured loaf and a pizza, enjoy & a very happy new year to you all 😉Image

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