“Where’s Mummy, Daddy, where’s Mummy? She’s run away with my quiche before I had a chance to sample it! What a naughty Mummy!!! And I’ve had an eye on that quiche for a couple of hours now, waiting patiently for it to cool….Where’s my quiche?”
Finally, I get to have a taste! Human parents don’t seem to understand how hard it is for a poor baby birdie to wait so patiently for several hours for this quiche, without being allowed to take one single bite…. Now this is what I call willpower…. And I can definitely smell some of my favourite ingredients here: goats cheese, cherry tomatoes, and above all, that yummiest thing of them all, BUTTER! I can’t even remember the last time I had some butter – I have to be very sneaky now, you see, because my mean Mummy says it’s not good for birdies and won’t let me have it Sigh…. How can it not be good for you when it’s so yummy?
Mummy says it’s been ages since she last made a quiche and I can certainly verify that she’s definitely not made one over the past year. Who knows what other yummy things I’ve been deprived of?! She doesn’t quite remember why she stopped, as quiche is a wonderful spring/summer style dish, incredibly versatile (you could virtually make it out of anything you’ve got in the fridge) and it’s perfect cold the next day in your lunchbox – or your picnic basket if you’re lucky. Anyway, I know hope she has realised the foolishness and error of her quiche-devoid ways and this will return as a regular item on the Bistro menu….
We kinda cheated a little here by using ready-made pastry, but I guess that’s not too terrible if you’re short on time and have access to a good pastry brand whose quality and ingredients you can trust. We used Careme sour cream shortcrust pastry and were very pleased with the result. And, just between you and me, we’re also working on conquering our pastry making phobia and perfecting a recipe that we can share with our Bistro friends
This recipe is adapted from BBC GoodFood
1 sheet good quality shortcrust pastry
2 medium-sized zucchini, thinly sliced
1 bunch spinach, well rinsed, roughly chopped
1 cup podded broad beans
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 leeks, white part only, halved lengthwise and then thinly sliced
300ml milk (we used goat’s milk)
2 tbsp plain flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
110g goat’s cheese, crumbled
100 cherry tomatoes, quartered
Start by preparing the pastry case. If using frozen ready-made pastry, thaw this according to the packet instructions, then roll on a lightly flour surface until you have a square that’s about 1 cm thick and large enough to cover your quiche pan, allowing for several centimetres overhang. We used a 24cm loose based round tart pan, but a square or rectangular shape would work just as well.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Place the pastry in the dish, ensuring the base and sides are well covered – press the pastry firmly into the sides. It is a good idea to allow approximately 1/2 – 1 cm of pastry to extend above the edge of the pan, as this will compensate for any shrinkage in the pastry while it bakes.
The next step is called blind baking. Prick the pastry base with a fork in several places, then cover with baking paper, the thoroughly fill the case with baking beads. If you don’t have any of these little beauties handy, dried beans or chickpeas will do the trick as well. We’ve even heard that some people have successfully blind baked using rice, or indeed any other grains on hand. The essential thing is to fill the pastry case to the top and to ensure even weight distribution – this will keep the base flat and will prevent any unnecessary shrinkage. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for approximately 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, place the chopped spinach in a large heated frying pan and cook for a few minutes, until it wilts and turns a vivid green colour. Remove from pan and sets aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then chop finely.
Meanwhile, wipe the previously-used frying pan clean and then melt the butter. Place the leeks, zucchini, beans and peas in the pan and cook over medium heat for about 7-10 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with flour, the stir gently to incorporate the flour. Add the milk, stir and cook over gentle heat for a few more minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken.
Remove from heat, give it a few moments to cool dons a little, then pour in the bean egg and stir to incorporate. Pour the mixture into the prepared pastry case, then top with the crumbled cheese and the quartered tomatoes.
Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for approximately 40 minutes, until the top is golden and the filling is set. Delicious served with a crisp green rocket salad with a Dijon mustard/white balsamic dressing. Serves 5-6 as a main meal.