Friday, 31 October 2014

Sausage and Spinach Quiche

We have been needing a new fridge/freezer for a while now.  The one we had was in the flat when we moved in 2.5 years ago and it was not in the best shape.  Water always collected in the bottom of the fridge and sometimes it would freeze there.  Not so great for the vegetables.  Water would always be on the back wall too and if anything was too far back on the shelves it would get wet.  Kinda gross, no?  Then there was the freezer.  It frosted up so badly and didn't seem to be properly sealed.  Things were either too frozen or not frozen enough.  We would have replaced it ages ago if we'd been able to afford it.  Now, with a combination of wedding gifts and a decent salary we have finally been able to do it!  You have no idea how excited we were.  The Hubby and I can get a bit like that whenever we get anything big and new for our home.  We'll be so giddy when we can actually afford to put a deposit down on a house.

Anyway, the point of that little bit of exposition is that we had to clear out the old fridge/freezer the day before the new one came so it could be taken away.  To avoid having too much food to pack into a cool bag to go into the Hubby's Grandma's chest freezer, I thought I would use some of the things we had to make something.  And that something was a quiche.

What's this?  I hardly ever go savoury.  We all know I have a ridiculous sweet tooth (the number of fillings I have can testify to it).  And pastry?  I have a dislike of pastry.  Not when it comes to quiche though.  I'm actually rather fond of quiche, pastry and all, so I thought now was as good a time as any to try making one.  It would make for a nice lunch if it turned out well.  

My choice of filling was obviously influenced by what was in my freezer.  However, I decided regular old pork sausage was a little dull so opted to make them into Italian sausage.  This was something I had done a few weeks previously when making meatballs (and trying out my slow cooker for the first time).  The recipe I had been using then called for Italian sausage but I was unable to get a hold of it.  Luckily, in the vast pool of knowledge that is the internet, I stumbled across a DIY recipe for it over on Back to her Roots.  So easy to do and very delicious.  So I knew I wanted that in my quiche.  Also I love frozen spinach.  I am very picky about my veggies, disliking pretty much all of them.  Yet I know I need to eat them because they are good for me so I try to 'hide' them in my food like you would with a small child.  Chopped frozen spinach is great for this.  I can see it obviously, but there is no noticeable taste.  I mix it in to quite a few of my dinners to get some greens in me.  There are shallots in this quiche too, for a little extra veggie goodness.  I am very fond of shallots, especially as they are a good size and I can use just a couple to add some extra yummy flavour to a meal when a whole onion would be far too much.  Another note I will add is that there is no cream in this quiche.  Mainly because I forgot to buy any and didn't feel like going out to get some.  So it's just milk.  It worked perfectly well as a substitute.  

This quiche is delicious.  I was so pleased with how it turned out, given it was my first try and I was making bits of it up, and how yummy I found it to be.  I thoroughly enjoyed having it for my lunch.  Unfortunately it was too much for me to finish by myself (the Hubby is vegetarian) and some of it went to waste.  Next time I'll be sure to freeze some portions.  That was just a bit hard to do when we were waiting on a new freezer to be delivered this time!

Recipe - inspired by James Martin via BBC Food

  • 170g/60z plain flour
  • 75g/2.75oz butter, plus extra for greasing
  • Cold water
  • 300g/10.5oz pork sausage (about 6 sausages)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Knorr All Purpose Savoury seasoning (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 85g/3oz chopped shallots
  • 115g/4oz frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained)
  • 100g/3.5oz cheddar cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200ml/7fl.oz milk
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Parmesan for sprinkling
  1. Start by making the pastry.  Sift the flour into a bowl.
  2. Add the butter in pieces to the flour and rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Add enough cold water to the crumbs to bring them together into a firm dough.  Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Grease an 23cm/9inch loose-bottomed tart tin with butter.
  5. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line the prepared tin.  Do not trim off the edges and place in the fridge to chill again (about 20 minutes).  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
  6. To make the filling, start by removing the sausage meat from its lining and putting it into a large bowl. 
  7. Add the fennel seeds, basil, oregano, garlic powder, rosemary, pepper and savoury seasoning (if using) and mix well to combine.
  8. Cook the meat in a frying pan with a little oil over a medium heat until it has just started to brown.
  9. Add the shallots and spinach and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.
  10. Line the pastry base with greaseproof paper and fill with ceramic baking beads.  Bake the pastry case blind for 20 minutes.
  11. Remove the beads and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes.
  12. Grate the cheese and sprinkle over the base of the pastry.
  13. Cover the cheese with the sausage filling, making sure to spread it evenly.
  14. In a jug, combine the milk and eggs, season with a little salt and pepper and mix.
  15. Pour into the pastry case until it is full. Sprinkle with grated parmesan.
  16. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until set.  Once removed from the oven, leave in the tin to allow it to cool and set further.
  17. Once cool, remove from tin and serve.  Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.  Can also be frozen.

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