Salmon & Leek Quiche

This is another dish I made for my Apprentice viewing ‘party’. There’s a lot of great TV on at the moment and I’ve even got into The Masked Singer. I was absolutely shocked to discover that any of the guys from the band Westlife actually had any talent to the point where I thought they were actually Adam Lambert! Westlife were the scourge of my teenage years being at a girls school. I just used a food processor to do the pastry as I did the pastry on a lunch break and added the filling in later on.

Ingredients

  • 150g butter (block of butter – very cold)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 tbsp ice cold water
  • 2 fillets of salmon
  • 1 leek
  • 10g chives
  • 300g crème fraiche
  • seasoning

Method

1.) Make the pastry by chopping up the butter into small chunks.

2.) Add the butter to the food processor and then the flour. Blitz until breadcrumbs are formed.

3.) Separate the egg and tip in the egg yolk and the water.

4.) Blitz a little more until the pastry has become a ball in the food processor.

5.) Dust a surface with flour and a rolling pin.

6.) Roll out the pastry to about 0.7mm thickness. Roll the pastry up on the rolling pin and transfer over to a 25cm tart tin.

7.) Use a bit of the extra pastry that’s overhanging and roll into a ball. Push the pastry down into the tart tin so it fills all the corners. The pastry will shrink down when baked so this is important.

8.) Roll the rolling pin across the top to cut off the excess pastry.

9.) Cover in cling film and refrigerate.

10.) For the filling, wash and slice up the leeks and cook in a frying pan with a tablespoon of butter until completely soft.

11.) While this is cooking, dice the chives and add to a measuring jug. Pull the skin off the salmon and chop into chunks.

12.) Add the salmon to the pan with the leek and cook, turning around until all sides are pink.

13.) Turn off the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.

14.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

15.) Put some parchment paper over the quiche and weigh down with baking beads (you can use rice if you don’t do so much baking)

16.) Bake for 10 minutes then remove the parchment paper and baking beads and bake for another 10 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 180 degrees C.

17.) In the measuring jug, add the crème fraiche, 4 of the eggs, separate the other two eggs and add the yolks to the measuring jug. Season and give it a good whisk.

18.) Spoon the salmon and leeks over the quiche base.

19.) Pour over the egg mix but not over the top of the pastry.

20.) Bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is golden brown and set in the middle.

Festive Pasta

Here’s my last pre-Christmas meal before I get into the real unhealthy Christmas fare. I saw a recipe for sprout, hazelnut and leek pasta on BBC Good Food and I thought why not add some Linda McCartney imitation pulled chicken and it would practically be Christmas dinner on a plate with far less effort. I really love sprouts and can’t see why anyone wouldn’t unless they’ve been subjected to overcooked soggy ones.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • oil
  • 2 leeks
  • 200g sprouts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 50ml vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 350g pasta
  • 1 tbsp parmesan
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped, toasted hazelnuts
  • 1/2 pack Linda McCartney chicken

Method

1.) Wash and slice the leeks. Chop the ends off the sprouts, discard the outer leaves and quarter them.

2.) Cook in a frying pan with the oil for 10 – 15 minutes until softened.

3.) Peel and finely chop the garlic, zest the lemon and grate the parmesan and make up the stock.

4.) Put the pasta in a pan and cover with boiling water, cook until soft.

5.) Add the garlic to the frying pan and cook for another minute.

6.) Add the chicken and heat up until it’s defrosted.

7.) Stir in the stock and crème fraiche.

8.) Drain the pasta and add to the pan. Then stir through the parmesan, lemon zest and hazelnuts until everything is hot and the parmesan is melted.

9.) Season and serve.

Mascarpone & Leek Stuffed Crepes

I’ve recently discovered the wonderful world of Meetups. Having social events where you just turn up and don’t have to harass people for availability has considerably lowered my anxiety levels. I’m enjoying a French exchange group and also a book club/games night. Tomorrow, we’ll be discussing ‘Woman on the Edge of Time’. Feminist dystopia is so my genre with the added benefit of being a warm pub as opposed to being in the arctic tundra of my house (the boiler has broken down). This delicious recipe was in Gino Di Campo’s cookbook ‘Gino’s Veg Italia’ which is highly recommended. I used tinned artichokes but proper ones or the nice jarred ones would be even better. I was proud of myself for finally being able to make a half decent crepe. The trick being a hot pan and plenty of butter.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 115g plain flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • salt & pepper
  • butter
  • 2 tins artichokes
  • 1 leek
  • 50g self raising flour
  • 150g mascarpone
  • 50g parmesan
  • 25g parsley
  • pinch nutmeg

Method

1.) Make the crepes by whisking together the plain flour, milk and 1 off the eggs. Add a pinch of salt.

2.) Melt enough butter to cover a frying pan and pour in 1/8th of the crepe batter.

3.) Fry until browning on the bottom then turn over (or flip if you’re feeling brave).

4.) When browned on both sides, remove to a plate.

5.) Repeat until all the mixture is used. Wash out the pan.

6.) Now, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

7.) Wash and slice the leek finely.

8.) Melt 1 tbsp butter into the pan and add the slices of leek. Open and drain the tins of artichokes and then wash the artichokes under the tap to remove the grit.

9.) Chop up the artichoke and add to the pan.

10.) While the leek is softening, separate the remaining two eggs into yolks and whites. Finely chop the parsley and grate the parmesan.

11.) Add the mascarpone, a pinch of nutmeg, the parmesan, some salt and pepper, the flour and the egg yolks to a mixing bowl and whisk.

12.) Once the leek is soft, remove everything from the pan and add to the mixing bowl. Give it a stir.

13.) Whisk up the egg whites until there is a light foam and then stir this through into the mixing bowl.

14.) Find an oven proof dish and start loading up with the crepes and filling. Do this by folding a crepe into half then half again to make a pocket. Stuff with the mascarpone mixture.

15.) Bake for 18 minutes to crisp up the pancakes.

DOuble baked potatoes with courgette Salad

Just sat watching the Eurovision semi-final today which is cheering me up after a hard day. Can’t believe how rude some people are. Reaalllly hope Russian Woman gets through, it’s too funny. Was half-tempted to buy a boiler suit for my Eurovision party on Saturday as that’s what the singer wears though it wouldn’t be great if she wasn’t in the final. This meal is really two side dishes but the double baked potatoes with Gorgonzola just sounded too tasty (they were). Gino d’A Campo specifies Gorgonzola dolce in his recipe though it’s the only Gorgonzola I seem to find in the UK. The courgettes are meant to be marinated but they’re tasty as is – my husband got the benefit of it more as he eats my cooking the day after as he doesn’t like waiting for dinner (or he just throws it away when he gets to work – who knows!). I used McCain’s frozen baked potatoes as I wasn’t organised enough to bake potatoes in the oven for an hour and a half. I would recommend getting them over microwaving standard potatoes for those of you who love the crispy skin.

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 3 courgettes
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp parsley
  • 3 tbsp oregano
  • 3 tbsp tarragon
  • 3 baking potatoes (I recommend McCain’s frozen)
  • 25g butter
  • 1 leek
  • 100g mascarpone (probably fine with sour cream/mix of cream and yoghurt)
  • 100g dolce gorgonzola

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Chop up the courgettes into large chunks as per my lovely picture

3.) Add to a bowl, chop up the herbs, peel and chop up the garlic and add them, the olive oil, the honey and the white wine vinegar and some seasoning

4.) Leave to marinade for 4 – 6 hours, turn over once

5.) If using normal potatoes, prick with a fork and bake on a roasting tray for 1.5 hours

6.) If using McCain’s, microwave them for the recommended time.

7.) While they’re cooking/microwaving, clean and slice the leek, melt the butter in a frying pan and fry until soft.

8.) Tip them out into a bowl, crumble in the gorgonzola, add the mascarpone and season with pepper

9.) Once the potatoes are done, scoop out the inside and mix up with the mascarpone etc

10.) Stuff back in the potatoes – they will be full to the brim!

11.) Bake for another 20 minutes until going golden.

12.) Serve with the courgettes.