Savoury

Cheese & Sundried Tomato Quiche

I used to HATE quiche. I couldn’t fathom why on earth grown-ups thought a slice of stone-cold, flaccid, eggy tart – like a lifeless pizza substitute – was a viable choice for the buffet table at any family gathering or event. Mind you, I used to hate eggs in general and couldn’t stomach so much as an omelette, so I probably wasn’t in a position to judge.

As with many other types of food, I’ve grown to like eggs (apart from hard-boiled, blurgh) as I’ve evolved from a fussy child/teenager into a proper, fully-fledged ‘adult’ (on the outside anyway) with a more accommodating palate. While the pre-packaged, slightly deflated-looking quiches you find in the supermarket still don’t appeal to me, I really fancied having a go at my own version, with homemade pastry and served warm from the oven. How hard could it be? Well, not at all as it happens!

I’m all for buying pre-made pastry, and even just the thought of attempting my own puff or filo makes me want to go for a lie down, but making shortcrust from scratch is ridiculously easy. Obviously, if you’d rather use the bought stuff to save time that’s absolutely fine and will work just as well, but I’d recommend giving it a go yourself if you can.

My mum requested a veggie quiche for the buffet tea we had on her birthday, and the flavours here are gorgeous, but you could add anything you like really. Bacon, mushrooms or chorizo would also work well in place of the sundried tomatoes. I like this quiche best served warm, fresh out the oven, but it’s also delicious cold.

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INGREDIENTS

For the pastry:

  • 225g/8 oz plain flour
  • 115g/4 oz butter or margarine + a little extra for greasing
  • Splash of milk

For the filling:

  • 3 eggs
  • 150g/5 oz cheddar cheese, grated
  • 80g/3 oz sundried tomatoes, thoroughly drained from their oil and snipped into small pieces no bigger than a 5p piece
  • 300ml/10 fl oz milk
  • 1 tbsp plain flour

METHOD

For the pastry:

  1. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and then rub in the butter/margarine using your fingers until crumbs form.
  2. Add a splash of milk and bring together to form a ball of dough. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour and if it’s too dry and crumbly, add a splash more milk.
  3. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C (or 180 fan) and lightly grease a flan dish with butter/margarine.
  5. Roll the pastry out with a rolling pin on a floured surface until it’s about the thickness of a pound coin and place over the prepared flan dish, gently pushing it into the grooves.
  6. Trim off the excess pastry with a knife and squidge back into a ball, then roll it out again and cut out the heart shapes with a cookie cutter (or just keep the excess pastry for another time if you’d rather). Place the hearts on a rectangular baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  7. Pop the pastry case and hearts in the oven and bake for around 15 minutes until the pastry is dry and slightly browned. Turn the temperature down to 160 degrees C (or 140 fan).
  8. Place the flan dish and pastry hearts on a wire rack and allow to cool before making the filling.

For the filling:

  1. Beat the eggs together in a mixing bowl, and then stir in the cheese, milk, flour and sundried tomatoes.
  2. Pour the mixture into the cooled pastry case in the flan dish.
  3. Put the dish back in the oven and bake for a further 25-30 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the quiche comes out clean.
  4. Place the quiche on the wire rack and allow to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy hot or cold!
Categories: Savoury | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sundried Tomato & Feta Oat Bars with 5-Minute Microwave Chutney

I realise that I’ve been a bit rubbish at regularly updating my blog recently – what with work, writing, frantically making lots of pom pom bunting for a recent charity craft fair and the inevitable neverending to-do list that comes with the run up to Christmas I’ve been very busy! I’m planning on posting some more seasonal recipes very soon, but firstly I must share these super scrummy but non-festive (ruby red tomato flecks and snowy feta notwithstanding) creations.

The idea for these was spawned from the porridge bars I blogged about here: https://cloud9point1.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/virtuous-fruity-porridge-bars-sinful-nutella-porridge-bars/. This time I wanted a lunchbox snack that wasn’t sweet but I couldn’t be bothered to make bread…which I will attempt one day; actual, proper bread, with yeast. Not soda bread. Maybe. Anyway, while the sound of tomato and cheese porridge in the traditional sense sounds grim at best, I couldn’t see any reason why applying the same method as before, but replacing the sweet ingredients with savoury ones, wouldn’t work. I’m pleased to say that the experiment paid off and the results are very tasty, with a great medley of flavours; the closest thing I can think to compare them to is corn bread. They are delicious served hot or cold and, most importantly, they do not taste like savoury porridge!

I needed something with a mushy consistency to replace the apple compote/Nutella required for the sweet versions and ended up throwing some bits and bobs together to create a surprisingly flavoursome cheat’s chutney. It took all of five minutes to prepare in the microwave so I thought I’d share this recipe too. You could, of course, just use the shop-bought kind but this is so easy to throw together using only most basic of storecupboard ingredients.

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INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15 bars

For the bars:

  • 300g oats
  • 3 tbsp chutney (see recipe below)
  • 50g sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 50g feta cheese, chopped into small cubes
  • 225ml milk
  • Pinch of black pepper

For the chutney (yields roughly enough for the above recipe plus 1 small jar):

  • 3-4 apples (any kind will do)
  • 4 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 0.5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

METHOD

For the chutney:

  1. Peel and core the apples and cut into chunks no bigger than a 50p piece, then place in a heatproof bowl or large jug.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir, then place in the microwave on a medium to high heat for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir again and put back in the microwave for a further 3 minutes, or until the apple chunks are soft enough to squash with a spoon.
  4. Leave to cool before spooning into a clean jar.

For the oat bars:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a rectangular cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Pour the oats into a large mixing bowl, then add the chutney, sundried tomatoes, feta, milk and pepper. Stir until combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin then pop in the oven and bake for around 25 minutes, or until the mixture feels fairly firm and slightly crisp to the touch.
  4. Allow to cool and slice into bars with a sharp knife.
Categories: Savoury, Traybakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Low Fat Cornbread Muffins

Originally posted 19/01/2015

Like a lot of people I’m currently on a new year health kick. I’m not doing anything fancy, just trying to eat more wholesome and low calorie food and reduce my intake of sugary and fatty naughties in the hope of shifting a bit of weight and generally feeling better in myself. I’m useless at following any kind of diet as I love food so much but so far I’ve stuck to it as I’m really enjoying trying out lots of recipes that are sin-free but still delicious. The hardest part is not being able to make and consume my favourite baked goodies but being armed with some healthier substitutions like these muffins, which are genuinely scrumptious, really helps!

I adapted this recipe from one I found that used polenta; unfortunately I couldn’t find any in my local Sainsbury’s (shocking I know!) so I substituted it with finely ground matzo meal, which is very similar in appearance but traditionally tends to be used in Jewish cuisine. The result was a delicious bread with a lovely moist, tender texture and tasty flavour. I don’t think you’d guess they’re low fat if you didn’t know 🙂

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 10-11 muffins

  • 115g/4 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/4 oz ground matzo meal or polenta
  • 235 ml/8 fl oz fat-free yogurt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Half tsp of salt
  • Splash of milk (preferably skimmed)

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C (or 180 fan) and line a muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl then add the eggs, yogurt and milk.
  3. GENTLY stir the ingredients together by hand until just combined to form a dough – DO NOT OVERMIX!
  4. Drop the mixture into each muffin case using a teaspoon until they are filled right to the top (they won’t rise much in the oven).
  5. Bake for around 10-20 minutes until they spring back when touched and are slightly brown on the top.
Categories: Healthier, Savoury | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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