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All the way from the Emerald Isle!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

All for the love of Cheese....and eggs and pastry and salad and Wine.

Click on the cheese to read the story on 'Free Government Cheese' in Ireland.
There is a rumor going around the island that there will be free cheese for Christmas. This government-giveaway is designed to help the needy get through the hardship of Christmas by offering them a few blocks of cheese. I hate to sound even a trite sarcastic (because I love cheese) but how in the heck is a block of Calvita going to provide sustenance to a family in 'need' at Christmas. 
Click on image to read all about 'Lough Boora Organic Farm' 
Since growing and gardening season is winding down and a lot more time is spent indoors by the fire toasting our toes, the Chef has recently enrolled in a 'box scheme' at work. A nice farmer from Lough Boora Organic Farm drops off a basket every Friday (€20) brimming to the edges with a selection of what ever fruit and veg is in season right now. This week we received some nice big fat leeks, so the begging for one of my favorites 'Quiche Lorraine' began. Keep in mind that my handsome Chef never gives me what I ask for, but usually takes the idea and makes it better. So, I have learned to suffer in silence. It is what you do.

If you are going to attempt this dish (I am posting the recipe below) then either run to the nearest grocery shop and buy the ready made pastry crust OR you can try to whip up the one the Chef threw together, which made a very nice flaky crust. 


3 cups of flour
4 ounces of LARD (cookeen/crisco)
1/2 cup of water
Pinch of salt.


Mix the flour and the lard with your fingertips until it is all nice and lump free. 
Add in the pinch of salt then slowly pour in the water and mix until you form a nice ball of pastry dough. 
Take note, do NOT over work the dough by kneading it over and over again. 
It makes the dough tough. 
Now, put the dough in the fridge for 1/2 an hour to let it chill. This is very important. 
After it has chilled, take it out and roll to your preferred thickness for your (greased) casserole dish. 

This recipe makes a decent amount of pastry so just wrap up the remaining pastry and pop it in the freezer. This way you have no excuse to not be able to make a quick tart/pie when someone comes to visit........

Now for the custardy quiche mixture. This is a family size recipe - feeds a family of four kids and two adults and the occasional extra mouth at the table.


6 large eggs. (Splurge and get some local organic ones. The yolks are very orange in colour and it will tast better!)
1 1/4 litres of full milk.
12 ounces of grated cheese. (Cheddar/Gruyere works best, but go with what you like.)
2 Leeks, washed and cut into circles. (Keep in mind that there can be a lot of sand in leeks, so wash well)
1 1/2 pounds of bacon cut up into small pieces. (For the Irish: Use smoked Rashers - not a lump of boiling bacon)
Freshly ground black pepper.
* Note  * we are not including salt in this recipe because the bacon is salty enough.

First - pre-heat your oven to 220 celsius.
Fry the bacon and freshly ground black pepper and once it is nice and crispy add in the leeks.  Allow them to cook until soft and translucent. Once finished, drain off the fat. You can keep this fat in the fridge for several weeks and use it for cooking. Remember 'Fat is the train upon which flavor rides' ...

Now, with a balloon whisk mix the milk and eggs together in a bowl making a nice custardy mix.
Take your casserole dish with the all-ready-to-go pastry crust and throw in the leeks/bacon mixture, the grated cheese and then pour the custardy mix on top and you are ready to go.

In the heated oven, place the quiche on the middle rack and leave alone for twenty minutes. Then reduce the heat to 150 celsius and leave for another twenty minutes. Shake the casserole dish and if it still jiggles in the middle, it is not done.

BUT, you can turn the oven off and leave it 'still cooking' for another 15 minutes.

It will not burn. Do not keep opening the door of the oven to check. (or so I was told - a few times).
Click here if you would just rather pop over for dinner and get the Chef to make it for you ;0)
If you follow along and adhere to the rules, then you end up with the picture above here. A yummy custardy quiche, served with a simple end-of-summer salad and a fab. bottle of chilled white wine. If you are like me, and cannot follow a recipe to save your life, then either A). Marry a chef or B). Give the recipe to one of your great 'baking' friends and have them make it for you and then invite you over to try it for supper some evening. Either way, it is to die for.

Those are all the WiseWords I have this morning,



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