Pastry sometimes seems like a bit too much effort but in fact it is a very quick and easy option, And you can make it in advance, wrap it in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to use it: you can even roll it out and line your tin with it as long as you wrap it properly and keep it chilled.
This quiche is very versatile and can be eaten hot or cold: it’s perfect for picnics or as buffet food and I made it to take to my friend Vana’s for lunch. For five days in June every year Ascot essentially shuts down for its most important horse racing event, and every year we watch the Queen and her guests go by in the carriages on the way to the races at Royal Ascot. Whatever your beliefs about the British royal family it is a really fun event and it’s impossible not enjoy the school children cheering and the royal party waving. Although it has to be said that the loudest cheers are usually for the hand puppets that the car drivers following the carriages wave at the kids, and the police bikes with their flashing lights!
Now that I live round the corner from the route I can go every day and as my brother was visiting I managed to convince him to come with me, very much against his will, on Tuesday. He has just started a blog about photography called Is My Camera Drunk? and if you are interested in the technical aspects of taking a great photo you really should check it out on the link here. When I tried to get a picture of the Queen on Wednesday I put my camera on auto (just to be sure of a good photo!) and it clearly was drunk: after one photo it put the flash on and refused to take any more. So here is one of Steven’s instead:
But back to lunch. Everyone brings a dish and we end up with loads of amazing food: salads, savoury dishes, desserts, cheese – I’m still full… This will be Vana’s last week of Royal Ascot lunches, however, as she is moving and I know we will all miss her hospitality: thank you Vana!
As for the quiche, I used some spelt in my pastry as it gives it a short, crumbly texture but you could use all wheat flour if you prefer. You could of course also use frozen spinach instead of fresh.
150g plain flour
75g spelt flour
Pinch of salt
50g white vegetable fat (or lard)
Cold water if necessary
225g bag of spinach
1 tablespoon crème fraîche (or cream)
Salt, pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg
About five cherry tomatoes to decorate
Make the pastry:
Put the flours into a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the flour, along with the vegetable fat.
Rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Beat the egg and add to the dry ingredients. Mix with a knife until it starts to come together. I used a large egg, which was enough to bind the pastry but you may need to add a teaspoon or so of cold water.
Knead very briefly so the pastry forms a ball.
Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the quiche:
Set the oven to 190ºC.
Steam your spinach until it has all wilted. Allow to cool and then squeeze out all the water, chop and put into a bowl.
Chop a small amount of chilli very finely and add to the spinach.
Add the ricotta, crème fraîche, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the spinach and chilli and mix it all together well:
Serve hot, warm or cold.