Sunday, 15 September 2013

Recipe CVIII - Cheese, Leek & Bacon Quiche

So, how long does it take me to write up a recipe? All week, actually; sometimes longer, depending if I have thought of something to do or not. Which is why I don't post every week any more - I do a lot of experimenting and some weeks I don't think it's good enough to post. Anyhow, I'd say it takes up to 5 days for a recipe to ferment in my head, about 2 hours shopping (sometimes more, if I have to go to a city for ingredients), and most of the afternoon making it, taking photos that don't reveal the chaos that is my kitchen, but then a good hour to upload photos and type up the recipe on here. So I hope you appreciate this one - I have to say it's one of my top ten, and I thoroughly enjoyed eating it after!


For the pastry:
220g of plain flour, sifted
a pinch of salt
130g butter, chilled and cubed
1 medium-sized egg, beaten
A roll of clingfilm
Some baking beans for blind baking

For the filling:
You can make up your own, but here are mine:
200g bacon lardons, finely chopped
60g fresh cheese (I used the French sheep's cheese Brébiou but Cheddar, Manchego, Mahon, Pecorino, even Stilton would all be fine - just taste a couple at the cheese counter and take one)
1 onion, 1 leek, 3 spring onions, 3 cloves of garlic, (some courgette, optional), chopped
Some chives (optional)
3 eggs
200ml double cream
100ml single cream
Some fresh herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 180°C and grease your pastry tin.
Make some pastry by putting the flour, butter, fresh from the fridge, or it won't work, and the beaten egg together and kneading it into a crumbly dough. Alternatively, put it in the mixer and pulse. Then wrap it up in clingfilm and let it prove for 30 to 40 minutes.

Afterwards, spread clingfilm on the countertop, put more on top of the pastry and roll it out until it is as wide as your baking tray. Put the pastry inside carefully and cut off the excess. Fill it with baking beans and blind bake it for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, cut up all your vegetables and cheese into blocks, fry the bacon (bit of black pepper too), then remove and put on some kitchen tissue to drain the oil; do the same with the other vegetables. Then take the creams and eggs and mix them together to make a consistent gloop. Put the other ingredients in there, and spread them about until there are no clumps of one particular ingredient. 

Remove the pastry from the oven and let it cool so you can remove the beans. It should be quite hard now, so that when you spoon the creamy gloop into it, the base remains unaffected by getting wet.

Put the whole into the oven for between 30 and 45 minutes - mine needed 40. Make sure the quiche is cooked through by putting a knife into the middle. If it comes out clean, it's done. If not, put it back for more time.

I like to keep the cheese bits a little bigger than normal, as it makes the pleasurable experience of eating melted cheese as real as possible.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Recipe CVII - Veal Cutlets in Tomato-Pepper Sauce

There comes a time when even such a humble customer as myself can force (or embarrass) a supermarket to expand its sorry variety of wares at the meat counter. And so it came to pass, that in the last month or so, my local supermarket has cut down on painting all their best meats some orange-red hue of tasteless marinade, and tried very hard to make pork just one of the meats on offer, not the main meat on offer. And to my surprise, they had veal cutlets there yesterday. As soon as the woman offered them to me, I didn't even bother looking at the rest. This is a flexible recipe, and you should add ingredients as you see fit, but here is the skeleton.

Some veal cutlets
*Some tomatoes
*A red pepper but if you like bitterness, a green one
*a few slices of leek
*3 to 5 cloves of garlic
*A glass or two of red wine
*A tablespoon of vinegar
*Salt and freshly ground black pepper
*Some fresh herbs (I used 7 leaves of sage)
An onion, roughly chopped
A courgette, cut into thick pieces
Some pasta or boiled potatoes.

An electric blender

Put all the ingredients above highlighted with an asterisk (*) into a blender and give it a good go until the pieces are very thin and there is a drop of liquid from it. 

Put the veal in a high-sided pan with some hot butter or olive oil, and seal it. Remove from the pan and put in the onion and courgette. Sweat them nicely, put the veal back in the pan, and pour the mixture over the meat.

Cover it and cook it on a low heat for as long as you like. I gave it 2 hours, to let the flavours really run.
Due to the choice of my guests, I used penne for it, but tagliatelle or potatoes would be a lot better.

I really apologise for the terrible photo above, but I had to improvise because the photos of the original presentation somehow deleted themselves!!