Easy Puff Pastry Ham and Egg Pie for Mother’s Day


 “Motherhood is a choice you make every day, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”
~ Donna Ball

It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 12.

This simple ham and egg pie (or quiche if you’d rather) is simple enough for kids and non-cooks to attempt. It’s easy to modify the recipe too, to incorporate other ingredients or to make it bigger or smaller.

It makes a delicious breakfast or brunch dish, and can be eaten warm or prepared in advance and eaten cold. Warning, if you use a lot of cheese the pie might be a bit gooey straight out of the oven. Letting it sit for fifteen minutes before you cut into it will help it firm up. Or, just enjoy it cheesy-gooey if that’s your thing. I certainly like it like that!

Serve it on its own or with a side salad, some crusty fresh bread and a good chutney or relish. Any leftovers will keep, refrigerated, for three days.

Don’t have a mum or a grandmother to bake for? How about preparing it for an elderly neighbour, an overworked mum you know, or someone who is mourning the loss of a parent or child.

It’s also perfectly fine to bake it for yourself!

Hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet of pre-prepared puff pastry (use gluten-free if that’s an issue for you) *Hint, have an extra sheet on hand just in case 1 isn’t quite enough for your dish
  • 1 medium onion, diced and softened in a frypan over medium heat with a small amount of olive oil to grease the pan (don’t let it brown, just colour it up slightly)
  • 1 cup cooked ham, chopped
  • 1 cup cubed or grated cheese (I love using Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese but use whatever you have to hand)
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup of milk or cream
  • optional but good – some fresh green shallots or chives finely chopped
  • butter to grease the dish
  • one pie or casserole dish at least 22cm in diameter, with sides at least 4 cm high

Want to make this vegetarian? Omit the ham and use a cup of other vegetables of your choice. Capsicum (bell pepper), mushrooms 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.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius.
  2. Rub a little oil or butter around the inside of your pie dish and then line it with the pastry making sure that you go all the way to the top of the dish. It’s okay to cut pieces to fit. Just overlap them a little and then press them together well. It’s even okay if the pastry sticks over the top a little. Rustic is good too.
  3. Layer the cheese, ham and onion or whatever ingredients you have chosen onto the pastry crust.
  4. Break the eggs into a bowl, add the cream and beat together with a fork. Add salt and pepper and fresh herbs if you are using them and mix again.
  5. Pour egg mixture gently into pie shell.
  6. Bake for thirty to forty minutes or until quiche is lightly coloured and firm to touch. How can you tell if it’s cooked? When you give the pie a nudge the centre of the pie shouldn’t move. If there is movement or a wobble it’s not cooked through. Put it back in the oven and give it a bit more time if it’s still wobbly.

Best Easy Chocolate Mudcake Recipe

“He showed the words ‘chocolate cake’ to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. ‘Guilt’ was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: ‘celebration’.”
Michael PollanIn Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

A friend on the other side of the world asked me for a foolproof but yummy chocolate cake recipe with easily obtainable ingredients that she could bake for her sister’s informal impromptu wedding, which just happens to be tomorrow.

My friend is not a baker, but she wanted to make a from-scratch cake in honour of love. I totally support that, don’t you?

This cake recipe fits the bill – it’s simple to make, and virtually foolproof. Plus soooooo yummy. (PS – Congratulations to Susanne and Adesh. I hope your wedding celebration is magical, and we all send our love!)

The picture above of is a double recipe.  This cake is a triumph – so easy, and it never fails to please.

Ingredients for cake:

250 grams unsalted butter (I’ve used salted and that’s fine if it’s all you’ve got), 200 grams good quality dark chocolate, 1 cup caster sugar, 1 cup soft brown sugar, 3/4 cup plain flour, 3/4 cup self raising flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, 1 teaspoon instant coffee, or one shot of espresso, 1 1/3 cups of water (a teensy bit less if you used espresso), 3 eggs

Method:

  1. Break the chocolate into pieces and dump into a large saucepan.  Add in the chopped butter, sugar, water and coffee.  Melt together until all ingredients are dissolved and then cool.
  2. Sift flours and cocoa into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Gently mix through the cooled chocolate liquid by hand with a large spoon.
  4. Finally, beat the eggs together to combine, then gently fold the eggs into the cake mix.
  5. Pour the batter into a double lined 20cm deep cake tin, and bake at 150 degrees celcius for 1 and 3/4 hours. **check cake towards the end so it doesn’t overcook.
  6. Allow to cool in tin before removing

Chocolate Ganache:

Melt together 250grams of broken dark chocolate and 1/3 cup of cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and allow to cool until it thickens, stirring occasionally and then pour/spread over cake.  (Don’t leave ganache in fridge and forget about it or you’ll have to eat the lot!)

I also made some chocolate leaves by melting dark chocolate and using a clean paint brush to paint camelia leaves.  Just peel the leaf away carefully when the chocolate sets.  Ivy leaves also look brilliant but any non-toxic leaf will work. I used smarties (chocolate beanies) to make flower patterns, although it looks a bit like I channelled my inner 1950s housewife, don’t you think!

♥ Serve in small slices (be warned – this is rich!) with some vanilla ice-cream or a good double cream.  It keeps well, but never seems to last.  Enjoy! xx

 

Cherry Ripe Slice Recipe

We’ve got a party to go to on the weekend – a neighbour’s son is turning eighteen! Like most parties in the country, people will be coming from near and far, and there will be quite a crowd to feed. I’m taking along a huge tray of of these delicious Cherry Ripe Slices and another big tray of my favourite Chocolate Brownies ( click here for the Brownie recipe  – it’s easy and fabulously yum, and I updated it yesterday for American measurements as well!)  .

The base of the Cherry Ripe Slice is a tasty chocolate biscuit, topped with a rich sweet coconut and cherry layer, finished with a drizzle of dark chocolate. It keeps very well, and also makes a lovely gift. It can also be made gluten-free very easily and still tastes heavenly.

Ingredients (American equivalents in brackets):

Base: 1 and 1/4 cups self raising flour ( or 1 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour with 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder) * Substitute your favourite gluten-free flour here if you have an intolerance – it works fine in this recipe, 2 tablespoons of cocoa, 3/4 cup dessicated coconut, 1/2 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar), 125g butter (1 stick or 4 ounces of butter), 1 egg

Cherry Layer: 2 and 1/2 cups of coconut, 200g glace cherries, quartered (7 ounces of glace cherries or 1 cup glace cherries, quartered), 1 x 395gram tin of sweetened condensed milk

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Your choice, dark or milk.  You’ll need between 150g to 200g (3/4 to one cup, or 7 ounces) melted.

I also make this in paper cups for easy individual serves.  I’ll show you both ways today!

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C (moderate or 355F), and line a 20cm x 30cm (8 inch by 12 inch) slice tin with non-stick paper, or grease it well. You may also use a muffin tin or similar and line with paper cups. (*If you are being fancy-schmancy, make this in a spring-form flan dish, and serve in small wedges as your next dinner party dessert!)

Melt butter and cool slightly.  Beat egg well.  Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, then stir through the butter and egg until well combined.  Press into the slice tin, or push a spoonful of the mix into each individual cup and press down with fingers to form a base.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes – check to see that it is firm and cooked through.  If not give it another five minutes.

Remove from oven but leave the oven on.  Cool slice for five minutes.

While the slice is baking, mix the topping ingredients together in a bowl.  Press over the chocolate biscuit layer and return to over for another 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely.

Melt chocolate and drizzle over top. Don’t worry too much about how it looks, let it be homespun and groovy. (If you are a total chocolate fiend, melt enough to spread a thick layer over the entire slice, adding a spoonful of vegetable oil or butter to stop it cracking when you cut it. This is divine but be warned, it is also very rich!) When chocolate has set, cut into small squares and store in an airtight tin.

This goes very well with coffee, tea or a glass of milk. It also makes a special dessert when served with some whipped cream, pouring cream, or a good vanilla ice-cream. ♥

Easy Lemonade Scone Recipe – for when friends drop by!

I call this recipe my ‘Hurry-Up Scones’.  I have much fancier recipes that call for delicate hands, careful measuring and so forth.  But I don’t have time for that today.  The phone has rung, friends are on their way, and my cake tin is woefully empty.  Hurry-Up Scones to the rescue!

Here’s the basic recipe:

Ingredients:  2 cups self raising flour, sifted, 1/4 cup of castor sugar (optional), 1/2 cup of cream, 1/2 cup of lemonade.

Method: preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius if fan forced, or 220 degrees celcius if not.  You want a hot oven so the scones get a good rise.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, add wet ingredients and mix lightly with a metal spoon to combine. Tip onto a floured board and pat out with your hands to about 4cm thick.  Cut into squares with a floured knife and place on tray leaving room for spreading (I line my tray with baking paper), or form into a round on tray and slice into wedges with a floured knife.

For individual scones, bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.  For the round, leave for  20 minutes, but drop oven temperature to 180 degrees after the first ten minutes.

Variations: 

Sweet – add a handful of sultanas and a dash of cinnamon or grated lemon rind, or a handful of chopped seeded dates softened in a tablespoon of hot water.

Savoury – substitute soda water for lemonade. Add a handful of grated cheese and some fresh dill or parsley (see picture below), or a handful of crumbled fetta, chopped sundried tomatoes and a little fresh basil.

These are great in lunchboxes, and travel well. I usually make a double batch, because they never seem to last long around here. (I say that a lot, don’t I…)

Today I made one batch of sultana scones, and one of cheese and herbs. We feasted after a walk around the wet farm in our boots. A hot cup of French Earl Grey tea and some scones in our belly, good conversation and shared laughter and we were ready for the rest of the day!