Sunday, 23 July 2017

Courgette & Cheese Quiche

I 'found' an abandoned courgette at the allotment earlier this week.  Someone had obviously decided that it was too big and ugly to eat and thrown it out into the communal compost pile.

I hate throwing food away, and my courgettes aren't ready yet, so I salvaged it to make a quiche for Alresford Country Market.

Makes 4x 6in quiche

100g cold butter
175g plain flour

2 large courgettes or 4 little ones
120g strong cheese ie cheddar, parmesan, feta...
4 eggs
3/4 pint whole milk

Start by making pastry (or buy ready made short crust).  Cube the butter and place it in a food processor with the flour.  Add 1tbsp cold water and pulse for about 5-10 seconds.  Keep pulsing and adding water, a tablespoon at a time until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  You should not need to add more than 4tbsp of water.

Tip the crumbs out on to a clean surface and squish together into a block.  Place in a clean plastic bag and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Whilst chilling the pastry, prepare the courgette filling.  If using small courgettes, just thinly slice them and fry gently in 1tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan until they begin to colour.  My courgette was pretty much marrow sized so I had to peel off some hard skin, scrape out some seeds, and then grated the courgette in the food processor before frying it.  Leave the courgette to cool whilst you roll out the pastry.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Divide the pastry into 4 or how ever many quiches you are making.  I use 6" foils and know that this amount of pastry will make four.  Roll out on a floured surface to just slightly thinner than a £1 coin and fold into the foils.  Don't worry if it doesn't quite fit as any holes can be simply patched with off cuts from this or the next one you roll out.

Place the foils on a flat oven tray.  Share the courgette mixture between the quiches, sprinkle 30g cheese over each 6" quiche, and season each quiche with a pinch of salt and pepper.  In a pint jug, beat the 4 eggs with a fork then top up with milk all the way to the very top of the jug beating gently as you add the milk.  You will need just over a pint of egg & milk.  Share this out equally between your quiches.  Gently mix the courgette and cheese in the eggy milk without poking any holes in your pastry.

Bake the quiche for 40 minutes at 180C.  Cheese alway browns quickly so keep an eye on them, watching out for hot spots in your oven, and turning the tray and even the quiche during the cooking to ensure they all brown evenly.

Serve hot or cold.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Wagamama's Edamame Soya Beans

I bought a bag of frozen soya beans from the supermarket a few months ago on a whim, and still have not remembered the meal I had in mind to put them in.  So today, googling what to do with soya beans, I turned up a simple snack from Wagamana's website - Homemade Edamame

Serves 1

100g frozen soya beans
1 very small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 pinch hot chilli flakes
1 pinch sea salt

Cook the soya beans according to the instructions on the packet.  Mine were boil for 5 minutes from frozen.  Mix through all the other ingredients.  Eat.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Sweet & Sticky Rhubarb Chutney

The start of rhubarb chutney
I cut the last of this year's rhubarb this morning to ensure I have enough chutney for the Christmas Country Markets.

I found this recipe on the internet many years ago, and will put it back there for posterity.  It says it is good for end of season rhubarb

Makes 2.3 kg (5 lb)

Rhubarb - 900g (2 lb)
Garlic - 15g (½ oz) 4 cloves
Root ginger - 25g (1 oz)
Lemons - 2, zest only
Salt - 1tsp
Cayenne pepper - 15g (½ oz) 2 tsp
Sultanas - 450g (1 lb)
Demerara sugar - 900g (2 lb) 1.5lb
Vinegar - 600 ml (1 pint)
Finely dice the rhubarb.  Put the roughly chopped garlic and root ginger into a blender cup and liquidise with a little of the vinegar.  Add all the ingredients into a large pan and simmer gently, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens.  Pot the chutney while hot into sterilised jars.  Keep it for 3 months before using.

Penne with Arrabiata Pasta Sauce

We've had a meaty rugby, then cricket, club barbecue kind of weekend.  So Meatless Monday started early, on Sunday night.

Arrabiata (Angry) sauce came to mind, but without my Mum's trusty Elizabeth David books to refer to, I had to google it and of course was swamped with options.

I ended up making my basic tomato pasta sauce and adding a pinch of hot chilli flakes, and a small handful of fresh basil leaves to the sauce just before pureeing.  Simpler than I thought!

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tin of of chopped tomatoes
1/2 can recently boiled water
Pinch of chilli flakes
Small handful of basil leaves (optional)

Gently soften the onion in the olive oil over a low-medium heat.  Add the garlic once the onion is transluscent or begins to brown.  Add the tomatoes and rinse the can/pack out with the boiling water.

Cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or more for a stronger flavour.  If the sauce is too watery after 20 minutes, take the lid off and simmer to reduce a little.  If the sauce is too thick add a little water.

Before serving, add the basil leaves if using, and puree with a stick blender.

Arrabiata sauce is traditionally served with penne.  I cooked 600g of dried pasta for our family of 5 and this amount of sauce was perfect.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Rhubarb Cordial

I was inspired to make this after enjoying 6 pints of Rhubarb Cider at our local Alresford Music Festival.

So far I have added a shot glass full to a Vodka & Tonic, and a half pint of cider.  It's full range of uses are still work in progress.

500g pink rhubarb
300ml water
300g caster sugar
Zest & juice of 1 orange
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
1 slice of root ginger

Put all the ingredients in a pan.  Cover and bring to the boil.  Simmer until the rhubarb has completely fallen apart.

Pour through a clean muslin into a heatproof jug and then into sterilised bottles.

Keeps in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Add 100ml of sparkling water to 25ml of cordial, or to taste.

Elderflower Cordial

I found this recipe on the internet many years ago and printed it out.  It is a self styled 'best recipe ever' and I have to say that I agree and post it here so I can keep on refering back to it many years after I've lost the print out.

35 medium sized elderflower heads
2 oranges
2 lemons
3 pints water
3lbs sugar
50g citric acid
1 campden tablet (optional)

Heat the water and dissolve all the sugar in it.  Leave to cool.

Roughly slice the oranges and lemons and add to a container (saucepan, wine making bucket) large enough to take the sugar solution, fruit, and elderflowers.  Stir in the citric acid.  Cover with a cloth and leave to infuse for 2-3 days.

Strain through a muslin or clean drying up cloth (I save the orange & lemon slices to make St Clements Marmalade) leave for another 2 days.

Siphon the cordial, leaving behind the sediment/dregs, into another container adding 1 crushed Campden tablet per gallon of cordial if using.

Shake well, and then leave for 3-4 hours to settle.  Siphon into sterilised bottles, leaving behind any more dregs.

How to sterilise bottles
* Microwave – 2-3 minutes should kill anything.
* Oven -  put glass bottles into your cold oven. Run it up to about 140C, keep it there for 10-15 minutes and then leave it to cool.
* You can also use Milton or even just very hot water.

How long you can store your cordial:
* With no acids or tablets – 3-4 weeks in the fridge. Freeze in plastic bottles for longer storage.
* With the citric or tartaric acid it will keep for 3-4 months in the fridge.
* With the Camden tablets, elderflower cordial keeps almost indefinitely (years) in a cool, dark place.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Vegan Chinese Braised Tofu & Soya Mince

Still trying to stick to a vegan Monday, I found this on a vegan recipe site.  Kids thought it was 'okay' and asked what the meat was

1tbsp sunflower oil
1 large handful dried soya mince
3 finely chopped spring onions (I didn't have any and only managed to find a few chives in the garden)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
500ml vegetable stock
4tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chilli sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2tsp chilliu flakes
350g firm or silken tofu

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients minus the tofu and simmer for about 20 minutes until the soya mince has fully hydrated.  Cube the tofu and add 5  minutes before serving.  Firm tofu will keep it's shape whereas silken tofu will break down and crumble as mine did.

Serve with rice.