Thursday 22 April 2010

A Memorable Meal

Today's supper was inspired by tiny quiches that we ate from paper bags on a balmy summer evening in Paris. We bought them from a little artisan bakery in the shade of Notre Dame on the Ile de la cite. Mine was laced with tiny slivers of smoked salmon. I'd never had fish in a quiche before and it was delicious.

I made shortcrust pastry using:

  • 4 oz (about 100grams) of plain flour, sifted to remove any lumps 
  • 2oz of butter (or dairy alternative)
  • A teaspoonful of baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • A sprinkle of Herbe de Provence
  • One beaten eggs

......made in the usual way by rubbing the butter into the flour and baking powder. Sprinkling in the herbs, binding together with one beaten egg and then chilling for a little while.

I greased a bun tray. Rolled out the pastry and cut out twelve small circles of pastry to line the tin. Pricked holes with a fork in the base of each one. Then baked them blind in a moderate oven about 160degrees C for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Then the fun part of deciding on the filling. Everyone can choose their own. Firstly I filled each little tart case with red onion that I had cooked in olive oil until it was sweetly caramelised. Along with some cloves of garlic that I baked in their skins until a soft paste that can be squeezed out like toothpaste.

I had a selection of cheeses, Somerset Brie, Ilford Applewood Smoked Cheddar, and plain Cheddar. Smoky spicy sausage, that I cut into thin slices and quartered and then cooked in a little olive oil. Severn and Wyes Hot smoked Trout that I got from the fish market this morning and was my smoked salmon substitute.

I filled the tiny blind baked tarts. This was no easy task and at this point I wished I'd made them a little bigger as they were really fiddly to work with.
I then poured over the filling of organic free range eggs plus crushed black pepper. Three small eggs should be plenty for this. I used four medium sized ones for the twelve tarts and it was much too much. I didn't add any salt because cheese is very salty.

Then I topped them with grated cheese.

...As you can see pouring the egg mixture into the tarts is also difficult and I had to substitute using a bowl and spoon for a small jug...........this was also a little hit and miss....but that was because I was also trying to photograph the whole process at the same time! I then baked them at about 160c for about 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese had melted and was golden brown.
But the end result was really worthwhile..........tasty little tarts bursting with flavour.
' A' chose the sausage, with a combination of grated cheddar and smoked cheese. I opted for the Hot Smoked Trout with Brie and 'H' had caramelized onion and garlic topped with the Cheddar and Applewood Smoked Cheddar. All served up with a mixed leaf salad with lots of nice peppery rocket in it and ripe tomatoes and cucumber..........

...It was a winner and something I'll definitely make again......

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