“Lunch makes me feel a bit better.”
~ Suzanne Collins
Recently my friend Carly and I popped in to her parents’ house for lunch, and then a tour of her mum’s garden. Jewel made a lovely salad with fresh greens from her vegetable patch, and I took over a simple quiche that I’d whipped up from bits and pieces I had on hand.
(I also took a slab of my favourite fruit cake for us to have with a cup of tea. Rosco, Carly’s dad is a big fruitcake fan!)
Many years ago, when I was a college student, I worked in my holidays as a shearers’ cook on big outback sheep stations. The shearers and shed hands were mad for my quiche, but I didn’t dare call it that – far too fancy a name for them! Instead I called it Bacon and Egg Pie and they’d eat it with lashings of tomato sauce and not a lettuce leaf in sight.
This is a simple meal to throw together, and the puff pastry makes for a yummy texture combination with the silky egg filling.
Serve it warm or cold. It is also great for lunchboxes, will freeze well, or keeps in the fridge for three days.
You can also vary the filling to make this vegetarian, or to use up whatever is in your fridge.
I used a 24cm springform pan to cook my quiche, but you can use any dish that suits your fancy. Just make sure the sides are high enough to contain your filling.
- 2 sheets of puff pastry or enough to line your serving dish
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup of cream
- 1 onion, diced and sauted in a little oil until soft but not brown
- 1/2 to 1 cup of diced ham
- 1/2 cup of diced swiss cheese (if you’re cheese mad use a little more)
- 1/2 to 1 cup of thinly sliced zucchini
- a handful of grated tasty cheese or parmesan for the top of your quiche
- salt and pepper
- a little oil or butter
Want to make this vegetarian? Omit the ham and use a cup of other vegetables of your choice. Capsicum (bell pepper) and broccoli are favourites of mine. Once you’ve made this quiche a few times you’ll be confident to change out the ingredients to make all kinds of flavour combinations.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius.
Rub a little oil or butter around the inside of your pie dish and then line it with the pastry making sure. It’s okay to cut pieces to fit. Just overlap them a little and then press them together well. Also make sure that the pastry goes high enough up the sides of your dish. (It’s even okay if it sticks over the top a little. Rustic is good too. Mine’s rustic because I only just had enough pastry to cover the dish roughly.) Then prick the pastry base all over with the tines of a fork.
Now use baking paper to line the inside of the pan, and add some pastry weights. I actually use uncooked brown rice. You could even use dry beans. This is called baking blind, and you do this to enable the base of the pastry to be firm instead of soggy.
Bake the pastry for 10 to 15 minutes and then remove from oven. Drop the temperature of your oven back down to 180 degrees or 170 degrees for fan-forced. Leave your pastry shell to cool for ten minutes and then carefully remove the paper and weights. Replace the shell back in the oven for a further 10 minutes or until the base is golden brown. (Don’t panic if it puffs up. The weight of your filling will sink it back down again.)
Prepare the filling for your quiche while your pie crust is in oven:
- Dice your onion and then saute the onion in a frypan until pale, soft and slightly coloured but not brown.
- Chop your cheese and ham into small cubes.
- Slice your zucchini or any other vegetables you are using.
- Break the eggs into a bowl, add the cream and beat together with a fork. Add salt and pepper and mix again.
To finish the quiche add the softened onion to the bottom of the pie. Then sprinkle the cheese and ham into the dish. Pout the egg mixture over and then add the zucchini slices to the top of the egg. Sprinkle a handful of grated cheese on top and return quiche to the oven. Bake for thirty minutes or until quiche is lightly coloured and firm to touch.
Serve on its own or with a crisp salad.
Here’s the process in pictures: