This leek, broccoli and cheddar quiche makes use of the current winter produce at the stores. It's full of goodness with softened, butter sauteed leeks, a head of broccoli and a final browning of grated cheddar on top! Count down the days until spring and picnics with this!
One of the wonderful things about this is that you can also make this crustless and turn it into a frittata if you can't be bothered rolling out the pastry or you're trying to eat a little lighter. For me, it was pastry all the way but I understand not everyone wants to have something heavy with spring coming up.
We ended up eating this after we got back from overseas. I had bought all of these ingredients before we left but didn't have time to cook them. I was amazed to see that they were still in good condition after 2 weeks in our fridge. It was an easy enough item to make while I was busy unpacking and editing my stories.
I was looking through my photos and smiling when I saw some that I took of a picnic in Siem Reap. We were on the back of a tuk tuk and driving down 60 Road which is the road to take if you want to go to Cambodia's capotal Phnomh Penh or Thailand. In the middle of 60 Road is a ditch with grassy raised areas above it. It was dark, around 7:30pm but there were plenty of street lights and action. People were perched along the grass on the edge of the ditch having picnics, their blankets unfurled, their backs relaxed and resting on their hands talking to family at the end of the work day. While we have picnics during the day, it's just too hot to do so in Siem Reap so they reserve this time outdoors for when the sun has receded. It is so different to when we tend to have picnics during the day.
It reminded me of when I was in Oman and it was raining lightly and we were driving along a highway. We watched as families sat on the rubbly stones on blankets eating. "Are they picnicking?" I asked and our guide said that rain is so infrequent that it would not hinder a picnic. In fact, rain is something that they look forward to. I'll never forget the expression of one man. The car had stopped and I saw him in profile. He had a large nose, dark eyebrows and a expression of pure bliss as the spring shower hit his face as he turned upwards.
As for me I'll take my picnic however way I can get it but as long as it comes with good food-like this quiche!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever had a picnic at night? And would you make this with a crust or without? Have you had enough of winter now and are you ready for spring? Or will you miss winter?
Leek, Cheddar and Broccoli Quiche
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 550g/19.43ozs. shortcrust pastry
- 50g/1.7ozs. butter
- 2 leeks
- 1 small head broccoli (around 300g)
- 4 extra large eggs (to add up to 1 cup)
- 2/3 cup milk or cream (I used milk, not skim)
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to season
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Roll out pastry and trim to edge
Dock with a fork
Line with parchment and fill with ceramic baking beads (or dried rice or beans)
Step 1 - Roll out shortcrust pastry until thin and fill a rectangular flan tin. Dock with a fork. Line with parchment and add ceramic baking beans (you can also use dried beans or rice). Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Step 2 - Meanwhile, slice the leeks in half lengthways and wash them to remove any dirt, drying them well. Cut into half moons. Cut the broccoli into small florets. Melt half the butter in a frypan and saute the leek for about 8 minutes adding more butter when needed, then add the rest of the butter and the broccoli and saute until tender. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Step 3 - Bake the pastry in the hot oven for 15 minutes. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a jug and then stir in the cheese. When the pastry is cooked, remove the parchment and baking beads and then spread the leeks and broccoli on the base of the pastry. Top with the egg mixture and then bake for 20 minutes on 190C/374F until the cheese browns. Cool for about 10 minutes and serve warm.