Friends are the family you choose! Quiche for lunch.

Ok, this is actually a quiche recipe post. There is a bit of story behind my quiche making this week, so join me on my expat life adventures, or not… I won’t be offended if you skip down further straight to the recipe!

One challenge of expat life and moving abroad is leaving your friends back home, but especially leaving your family behind. Now we have children, it’s even harden to balance vacation time trying to ensure time with grandparents and wanting our little angels to grow up knowing the people who greatly shaped our lives and the people we are today – with our ‘family time’ and new experiences of the 189 other countries out there in the world.

Living so far away, extended family visits seem to be all or nothing. Grandparents and family when here for vacation are around 24/7, or sadly not here and reduced to a two dimensional figure on Skype (thank goodness for Skype!). Yes it’s our choice to live here. No we don’t want to move ‘back home’ the next time you ask me. BUT let it be known we think about our family back home … a lot. We talk about you a lot and you are everyday part of the conversation we have with our children.

There is a saying I love, that is “Friends are the family you choose”. It’s one of the things I use to summarise living abroad to people we meet who have never lived as expats abroad and ask me what it’s like. It rings so true for us and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the amazing support and love of our close knit circle of friends. From a shoulder to cry on, to arriving on my doorstep with a remedy for a broken heart [chocolate/wine/DVD collection/insert other necessities here], my expat friends are (and probably always will be) my closest friends.

Now, just this week I have had the honour to cook lunch for a good friend’s mum who is in town and had a day free to spend some time with us. Let’s call her ‘Granny D’! Granny D unfortunately has lost her sense of taste and smell a few years ago so deciding what to cook for her is a whole different kettle of fish. When it’s not about the taste, I realised texture and visual appeal became important. Nutrition is still high on the list for me packing in green bits and colourful veggies, but add in Granny D’s false teeth and the menu design just became university assignment! I settled quickly for my ‘go-to’ easy luncheon recipe of quiche packed full of veggies which I love the taste of, it has different colours peeking out of the top and the kids will eat at least two helpings if there is sufficient cheese and pastry involved.

Margaret Fulton is THE quiche recipe of all time that my mum has been making for years. The pastry is flaky around the edges, but the dough only just enough to fill the quiche dish that it has be rolled super thin.

IMG_6382

The filling is fully flexible to suit your mood or palate, but the recipe for the ‘custard’ is just that. A custard. It sets just enough to be sliced but so soft and delicate that it surrounds the vegetables or filling with velvety eggy goodness.

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This recipe is from The Original Margaret Fulton Cookbook (published 1968) – with a few of my own adjustments.

IMG_6384Quiche (Serves 6-8)

You can really add anything as the filling. For my quiche here we used – bacon, onion, spinach, asparagus, roasted pumpkin and mushrooms. Just take the Short Pastry Flan Case and fill it with as much or as little as you like. You may need to slightly adjust the custard amount if you have less/more filling.

Sorry there is only the half eaten quiche picture and not the whole one! It was eaten so quickly that we didn’t have time to get a shot before it was gobbled up. Must be a good sign though 🙂

 

 

Short Pastry Flan Case

  • 1 cup (4 oz) flour
  • pinch of salt and baking powder
  • 60g (2 oz) butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons iced water
  • Good squeeze of lemon juice

Sift flour salt and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in butter lightly and evenly until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Beat egg yolk, 1 tablespoon water and lemon juice until mixed, and sprinkle evenly over flour, stirring with spatula or knife to form a dough. Don’t over work it! Add a little extra water if necessary. Knead lightly on floured board, wrap and cill for 30 minutes or until required.

Roll out between two layers of plastic wrap or baking paper to fit 20-23cm (8-9 inch) fluted flan ring. Press pastry well into flutes being careful not to stretch it. Using a sharp knife, cut pastry level with top of flan ring. Chill while preparing the filling.

Note: the flan case may be brushed with a little egg white if desired, as an extra precaution against filling seeping through. The amount of pastry seems rather small, but the point is that the tart should have a very small amount of crisp pastry to a large amount of creamy filling.

Filling

  • 2 eggs + the 1 leftover egg white from making the pastry
  • 250-300ml cream
  • 250-300ml milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional) or Sumac is nice for a lemony spice zip
  • Parsley or watercress to garnish
  • About 1/3 cup grated cheese (optional – traditional classic Quiche Lorraine contains no cheese!)
  • Other filling ideas: 3-4 rashes of bacon cooked, 1 small chicken breast cooked (cubed or shreaded), caramelised onion, leek, steamed broccoli, sliced mushrooms, roasted pumpkin, crab or prawns, kale or spinach, or anything else that takes your fancy!

Preheat oven to 200 oC (400 oF). Beat together eggs, flour, nutmeg, salt, cayenne (if using), cream and milk, only until combined. Over-beating causes bubbles on top of your quiche, a faux pas in Margaret Fulton’s eyes apparently! Stir in the melted butter.  The total wet mixture should be approximately 500ml – 550ml to fill your quiche depending on the size of the flan case and amount of fillings you have chosen. I have a 500ml jug that I mix it all in which seems to be just the right amount for my flan case.

Add all your chosen fillings to the flan pastry case, then sprinkle over the cheese (if using) and pour over the wet egg/milk mixture until just below the edge of the pastry. Don’t forget it will rise slightly on cooking with the egg. Bake in hot oven (200oC / 400oF) for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to moderate oven (180oC / 350oF) and bake further 20 mins or until a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean. Garnish with parsley or watercress and serve warm with a tossed salad.

For the kids, there are things they can help with here (see list below), but I must admit that my main reason for making quiche a.) because it’s so tasty and b.) it’s a good way to get whole lot of unidentified vegetables into the kids using pastry as the carrier and of course the addition of cheese definitely helps! And pastry is always fun to make with kids…

  • Measuring out the ingredients and adding them to the bowl
  • Stirring and mixing
  • Cutting the mushrooms with a bread and butter knife
  • Tearing up the spinach
  • Cracking the eggs – just crack them into a small bowl first so you can remove any stray bit of shell!
  • Rolling out the pastry
  • Grating the cheese (with adult supervisor!)

If you like this recipe, then follow me on Instagram or Facebook for other cooking tips and food adventures.

From my kitchen to yours. x

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