Alliterative Quiches

So this is just a quick post before I head to bed at the end of another busy day but, first, there are a couple of things I want to update you guys on:

1. Next week sees the Accidental Festival return to the Camden Roundhouse for its seventh year and on Sunday 3rd June there will be an excerpt from a play I’m directing, which is very exciting! It would be great to see some friendly faces, you can buy your tickets here.

2. Last weekend I had a great time cheffing with the Wild Food guys. Their supper club was so successful they’re back for more tomorrow night so get in touch if you fancy an evening of foraged food and some great entertainment!

3. I’ve just started a job at Mark Hix’s new restaurant, it’s mainly chicken and steak but my favourite dish is the cauliflower puree with Berkswell cheese, celery leaves and hazelnuts, mmmmm.

On with the good stuff! So, my actors pointed out that if my quiche was to be truly alliterative it would have to be filled with ingredients such as quail and quinoa, which, believe it or not, were not items I had lying around. However, I did have some beautiful organic chard, which I bought from London Fields’ School Market, and some salty mature cheddar to make: Eve’s Cheddar and Chard Quiche.

Every decade seems to have a food. According to this rule, quiche belongs in the Seventies when cholesterol-high French foods were all the rage and England was basking in an Elizabeth David inspired culinary glow. Then, the amazing Nora Ephron pointed out that ‘Pesto is the quiche of the eighties’ but I’m slightly stumped when it comes to pinning down a defining food of the nineties…or the noughties come to that. Thoughts?

Enough babble, here is the recipe.

Cheddar and Chard Quiche

100g plain flour

55g butter

2-3 tablespoons COLD water

a big bunch of chard

100g (or so) good cheddar

3 medium eggs

¼ tspn nutmeg

splosh of white wine vinegar

olive oil

paprika

salt and cracked black pepper

  • Start with the pastry. I have a food processor but, if you don’t, then you’ll need to rub the flour into the butter with your finger tips, quickly. If you overwork the  pastry then it will tough and we want light, flaky pastry.
  • Get rid of any big lumps by shaking the bowl and seeing if any big ones come to the top, if so, continue rubbing a bit more. When satisfactory, add a little water at a time so the dough just about comes together.
  • Then cling film and put in the fridge.
  • Meanwhile, turn the oven on to 180ºC, grease your tin/dish/old cheesecake foil, grate your cheese, beat your eggs and trim and chop your chard into chunks about two inches long.
  • Then gently fry the chard in olive oil and when wilted and slightly soft, season and sprinkle with nutmeg and a dash of white  wine vinegar to give it a tang. It makes such a satisfying hiss when it hits the pan…
  • Put your cooked chard, cheese and eggs to one side. Get your pastry out of the fridge, and roll out on to a floured surface. Line your dish, prick the base and place some greaseproof paper with baking beans or lentils on top to stop the pastry puffing up the oven.
  • It’s important this is done quickly and that the oven is at temperature, the dramatic change in temperature makes the pastry more flaky. Bake for 15 mins.
  • Then, take the lentil/beans out of the case and put it back in the oven for another ten mins to brown. You can brush the edges with some of the egg if you like, as this is really only for aesthetic purposes it doesn’t matter about the bottom of the quiche, I mean, you won’t see it when it’s filled with loveliness.
  • When golden brown at the edges, take out of the oven. Spread the chard around in the pastry case, which may have shrunken away from the edges slightly, then evenly put the cheddar on top. Season the eggs and pour into the case. Crack some  more black pepper on top and sprinkle a touch of paprika to give it some colour.
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins or until solid when shaken. Leave in the tin to cool.
  • This is great with some fresh salad and is just as good hot or cold!

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