Quiche sometimes still gets a bad press but you can’t beat it as a make-ahead, take-with-you sort of dish. Any sort of gathering that requires guests to bring a dish, picnics and al fresco lunches will all often involve a quiche or two. They are easy to transport and eat, and they taste good hot or cold. We made a fleeting visit to see family in Wales over Easter and although it wasn’t picnic weather I wanted to take some dishes to contribute to lunch.
The Welsh mountains may not be the aspirational mountains of the Easter break: that would be more the Alps, and if you’re not sure about that just check your Facebook feed! But they are still mountains and the landscape invokes a sense of space and light and beauty. The days may be getting longer but there was still snow on the tops of the mountains when we were there and it snowed and settled on the roads overnight, leaving just a trace on the cars by mid-morning.
We managed to climb a very small hill, not a mountain, and it was windy and bitterly cold, much to the disgust of my 13 year old son. Despite himself, and not that he would ever admit it, I think he enjoyed it. A little bit at least. Which was exactly how it worked during my childhood, growing up on the Isle of Wight. We were ‘forced’ to go for walks, moaning and complaining, and despite ourselves we must have enjoyed them enough to want to do it as adults. And now I ‘force’ my own children to do the same. I’m hoping that when they are adults they will realise they like walking too.
It’s always good to go home to warm, homemade food after a cold walk and this quiche made a good lunch option. We had it warm with salad, amongst other things, but it also works hot with vegetables and potatoes or cold with salad. Unlike most quiches it is really easy to make it dairy-free without losing any of the taste: it doesn’t contain or need any cheese, and the cream and milk can be substituted for soya cream and milk (or your preferred alternatives), while the pastry can be made with dairy-free margarine instead of butter. It’s a great make-ahead option if you need to take something for a lunch or a barbecue. Or take it on your picnic. It freezes and travels well but just make sure it’s not too long a journey or it might not make it to its destination without being sampled…
200g plain flour
100g butter or dairy-free margarine
Two to three tablespoons of cold water
130g watercress, rocket and spinach
200ml double or soya cream
100ml milk or soya milk
Juice of half a small lemon
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika
Make the pastry: put the flour into a bowl and add the butter in cubes. Rub in with your fingers until the mixture ressembles fine breadcrumbs. (Alternatively you can make your pastry in a food processor).
Add the cold water and mix to a dough, adding a little more at a time if necessary.
Knead briefly, wrap in clingfilm and allow to chill for a while.
Set the oven to 180°C.
Roll out the pastry and use it to line a quiche tin. Mine was approximately 9½ inches in diameter.
Trim the edges: I use a rolling pin.
Bake the pastry blind: scrunch up a piece of baking paper and use it to line the pastry case. Then fill it with baking beans or rice.
Bake for around 15 minutes, then remove the paper and baking beans and bake for a further five minutes until the pastry is turning golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the case while you make the filling.
Reduce the oven to 160°C and make the filling:
Chop the watercress, rocket and spinach and put it into a frying pan.
Cook over a medium heat, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn. There is no need to add any water and the water from the leaves should be driven off.
Chop the salmon into chunks.
Combine the eggs, cream (or soya cream), milk (or soya milk) and lemon juice and add salt and pepper and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and paprika.
Put the cooked watercress, rocket and spinach into the base of the quiche and spread out evenly. Lay the salmon on top.
Pour the egg mixture over the top of the fillings. My quiche case had shrunk quite a bit as I didn’t have time to chill it for long before baking it but the filling all went in (I was afraid it wouldn’t!).
Bake for around 50 minutes, until the quiche is well risen, brown and set in the centre. I had to mop up some clear liquid from the top of the quiche with a piece of kitchen roll when it was cooked.
Remove from the tin to serve hot or allow to cool in the tin and then remove. This quiche can also be eaten cold or reheated. It can also be frozen: just wrap in clingfilm and then in a layer of aluminium foil.