Sunday, 17 April 2011

Spinach, Feta and Olive Quiche - A Sunday Afternoon Lunch too good to resist!


Twas a Sunday afternoon and I decided lets make quiche. It isn't as difficult as one might think and the ingredients are easy to get. Naturally if you're in Malaysia, then it would cost you quite a bit. But the filling is normally what you can find in your kitchen so there is no fixed kind of filling. However, it isn't suitable for those allergic to eggs as the filling does contain quite a bit of it.

Ingredients:

For the pastry: 
2/3 cups milk
125gms unsalted butter - cubed
2 cups self-raising flour - sifted

Filling:
4 eggs
400ml double cream (whipping cream as an alternative)
at least 20 olives - doesn't matter the colour - sliced
400gms spinach leaves (two pre-washed packets from the grocery here in the UK)
250gms feta cheese - cubed
salt
pepper
100gms parmesan / cheddar cheese - grated

Method:
  1. Firstly, prepare your pastry dough. You can either use a food processor to quicken the process or your cake mixer using a dough appliance (usually looks like a hook) or a wooden spoon and a mixing bowl. Melt the butter in the milk over low heat until melted. Pour into the sifted flour and mix well until dough forms. Roll onto floured surface to knead for a few second before putting into cling film and leaving it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. Some recipes vary with asking for a longer resting period of up to an an hour.
  2. Crank up your oven to 190 Degrees Celcius.
  3. While waiting for the pastry dough to rest, prepare your filling. Firstly beat your eggs and cream in a bowl. Add in the grated cheese, salt and pepper. Leave one side.
  4. Next sweat out your spinach. How do you do this? On a cooking pan, add a little oil to a medium heat. When heated, put in the spinach and cover it. Wait for about 15 seconds before turning it. Add a little water to help with the sweating process. Then cover, and let the leaves wilt for a further 5 minutes. The leaves should by then turn into a deep greenish colour. Remove from the heat and strain with a sieve to remove any unwanted juices. Set aside.
  5. Slice your feta cheese and olives and set aside.
  6. Next, take out your pastry dough and place onto a floured surface. Knead for a little before rolling it out. Take out your pie dish and have it ready for the rolled out pastry. Using your rolling pin and rough guidance of how big your pie dish is, roll out the pastry as wide as you can but keeping in mind that it should not be too thin. So keeping to at least 3mm thickness is good enough.
  7. Now comes the not so easy part for the not so savvy pastry makers. I ain't that savvy either but it is always trial and error. When transfering your pastry to the pie dish, don't lift the pastry when it is flat as it would break. The easiest is to place your rolling pin on one end of the rolled out pastry, lift the end bit of the pastry on to the rolling pin and wrap the rolling pin up. Almost like how you would make a spring roll. Then place the pie dish in front of you and lift the rolled up pastry with the rolling pin and place it over the dish. Then unroll the pastry with the rolling pin. Voila! Pastry is now in pie dish! Next bit is to press the pastry onto the dish. Using your fingers, press to rid of any air that is stuck underneath. Don't worry if the pastry breaks a little, your fingers to mend it. or use any access pastry to cover it up. Using a butter knife, cut off any access pastry from the sides of the dish.
  8. Next, using a fork, prick the dough all the way through at the base of pie dish all around the base. This is to allow some air to escape from the pastry. Next, place some grease proof paper on top and pour into baking beans. It can be any kind of bean. As long as it is still in its dried state. Bake blind for 15 minutes. This means to bake the pastry case without the filling for a duration to allow the pastry case to cook slightly before adding anything else to it. It is a common cooking method for any kind of pastry.
  9. Take the dish out and remove the baking beans along with the grease proof paper. Next, distribute the spinach, olives and feta cheese even across the base before pouring in the egg mixture. Then pop it back into the oven for a further 40 minutes or until the centre is firm.
  10. Take it out and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. It can also be eaten cold as some do prefer it that way.
Now I'm set for lunch tomorrow as well! A good vegetarian alternative too :)

Next in line - Mackerel and Watercress Fishcakes

Being all adventurous,
The Innovative Baker

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