Summer Supper

Tarragon. A funny herb. I am simultaneously intrigued and slightly put off by it. Partly because I know that it can be quite overpowering. But also because I also know that its Latin name means dragon’s wort which is a bit weird, really.

I think I’ve decided that I prefer it mixed up with other herbs, as in fines herbes, or with loads of lemon, to teasingly jazz things up. Or balance things out by adding a tiny bit to chopped dill. But on it’s own, and in abundance, it just seems too sickly aniseed-y. But perhaps that’s just me.

This was a pie with broccoli, Gorgonzola (except that was a bit too pricey so I used a blue brie) and tarragon. And it was quite nice- crumbly and comforting. If you don’t mind liquorish with your cheesy broccoli, that is.

Some recent packed lunches

Healthy pick me ups for long work days.

Feeling Swedish with cheese and cucumber on rye and a frothy coffee

And Spicy with a cumin and lemon- packed lentil soup

It’s here, I found it.

Got back to the ranch late last night after seeing my friend Nick’s brilliant play, “If there is I haven’t found it yet” at the Bush Theatre and quite fancied a snack. I’d made this super sized quiche the night before and felt rather pleased with myself coming home to it.

It works on my basic quiche principle, which is a plain case filled with whatever you fancy and a 1:100 ratio of eggs to ml of single cream. For this particular one, I mixed things up a bit by using sour cream, one of my favorite ingredients (although not quite as great as creme fraiche). I’d been in the mood for some super strong flavours and this is the result.

Holy Moly Quiche

It’s called Holy Moly because it packs quite a punch- you’ve got anchovies, blue cheese and butternut squash, which I can find sickly sweet unless you pair it with something bitter, sour or punchy.

You will need
A medium sized butternut squash (peeled and chopped up into smallish cubes- bloody pain, but worth it)
Half a packet of baby spinach, washed
A strong blue cheese (I used Danish Blue as it’s what I had but Gorgonzola would be particularly nice here, I think)
anchovies (one tin), drained and finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
a big hand full of flat leaf parsley, chopped
300ml sour cream
3 eggs

1. First off, make your pastry, which isn’t as hard as it sounds. My mum taught me this recipe and although it wouldn’t stand a chance in hell at a pastry pageant, it’s easy and it works. I love the way it turns out- all crumbly and sticks to the roof of your mouth.

All you do is pour some flour into a bowl and add butter, mixing with your hands or in a mixer until you have a pale yellow dough with a large crumb consistency. Sprinkle this into your pie dish (greased if it’s not non-stick) and press with your fingers to form the pastry case. Prick with a fork before blind baking in a 200 C/ Gas mark 6 oven for about 15-20min.

2. In the meantime parboil your butternut cubes for a few minutes. Drain and fry in olive oil and chopped garlic cloves. It’s ok if it becomes a bit mushy.

3. Whisk together your eggs and sour cream, add cheese (adjust amount to your liking), anchovies and parsley. Season with pepper only as the anchovies are quite salty enough (if you don’t like anchovies, omit them and add some salt at this stage).

4. When the squash is cooked through, add the spinach and let this wilt. Pour contents of pan into your prepared pastry.

5. Pour over the eggy cheesy mixture and bake for 30 min. Serve with a a nice spinach and tomato salad with balsamic dressing. Nice.