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Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Kitchen Antics; really began in October 2009 and my first recipe quiche lorraine is a fairly simple dish really, simple ingredients and with quiche you could add or substitute lots of different ingredients if you wanted to, for example you could add mushrooms, or you could just add smoked salmon and asparagus for something a little posher…. The possibilities are endless, it’s very versatile and leftovers can be eaten for lunch the following day, warm or cold the choice is yours.


2 Tbs butter

1 onion, chopped

6 thick slices of bacon, diced

1 cup (125 g) grated Gruyere cheese

1 cup (250 ml) light cream

2 eggs, beaten

salt and black pepper


1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour

4 Tbs butter

about 1 tbsp cold water

8-in (20-crn) quiche dish

or pan

dried beans or pie weights

1. Make the pastry, by sifting the flour into a large bowl, rub the butter, gently, into the flour so that it looks like breadcrumbs, now add the water and mix together with a tableknife, you should have a soft dough. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

2. Now you need to roll out your pastry onto a lightly floured work surface, not too much or it will incorprate into the pastry and change the consistancy. Then line your quiche or pie dish. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork, this is to prevent bubbles.

3. Next line your pastry with foil or baking paper, and with dried beans, rice, or pie weights if you have them. Place the quiche dish in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, at 425°F (220°C) remove the foil and dried beans after about 10 minutes, then put you pastry back in the oven for the final 5-10 minutes.

4. In the meantime, make your filling: melt the butter in a skillet, add the onion and bacon, and cook gently, until the onion is golden and your bacon is crisp.

5. Once your pastry is done, put the onion and bacon mixture into the pastry base and sprinkle with the cheese. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and then add the milk and whisk together, again, add salt and pepper to taste, then pour it into your pastry base as well.

6. Reduce the heat in your oven to 350°F (180°C) and bake the quiche for 25-30 minutes, until the filling is golden and set.

Servings: 4

The only issue I had with this recipe, was the pastry making, for two reasons, A) I am totally rubbish at anything to do with baking (although I am practicing) and B) I am one of those unfortunate souls, whose hands are too warm and no matter how hard I try, and I have tried a variety of methods, from sticking my hands round a carton of milk to putting them inside the freezer, still nothing works……. So cheating and store bought it is!! :o)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

As you will discover throughout this blog, whilst I cook with fresh ingredients often making my own sauces, or chopping and mincing fresh garlic, I’ll also use cheats and short cuts, I mostly buy frozen vegetables and cheap cuts of meat, usually pieces which I can cut up into, two people size portions, simple because, yes! We eat a massive variety of meals but something has to give somewhere, unless of course money is of no concern, like most people though I have to watch what I spend, so I keep my eyes out for a bargain and buy things which won’t spoil in a hurry, this doesn’t mean you have to skimp on flavour.

Try new things, just because you don’t like an ingredient one way, doesn’t mean you won’t like it done another; for example my husband didn’t like the avocado in the Apple, Spinach and Brie salad I made but will perfectly happily eat it in the guacamole which makes up a layer in my five layer dip.

Remember that not everything will come out perfectly, that doesn’t mean it’s a total disaster, just that next time it needs a little tweaking and the ones that are inedible need to be regarded as a learning curve and something to laugh about later. Mine was so, so bad that we had to order out for pizza, it couldn’t be saved, I will blog the recipe later….. At the time I was very disheartened and disappointed, but I have learnt to take mishaps in my stride, we all have them. That said I too have had mishaps which leave me cross – I admit to few but at least two where I have stepped on my peddle bin and emptied the contents of my saucepan into it, in hind sight this is a travesty and a total waste in the moment of anger and frustration.

The following recipes are MY story, my failures as well as my successes. I want to tell how it all came about, to show that with a little ambition and by putting those ‘kitchen fears’ to one side, you can achieve anything from the very simple to the more complicated, and that a few short cuts by no means any less effort or love went into the dish – although I am sure some would argue the toss on that one!  
I’m a 30 something woman who up until 2008, loved the thought of churning out weird and wonderful meals from my kitchen, collecting cheap recipe magazines and little cookbooks here and there, which I would read cover to cover, but the actual cooking of meals was slightly repressed, until Christmas ’08. My husband was living and working in the U.S.A at the time and I had gone over to visit for two weeks. All of a sudden I found myself cooking up a storm, using simple ingredients that whilst common place, seemed totally foreign to me. Two weeks later I was back in Germany and I found myself not only missing my husband but also my kitchen. It was nine months later when I was finally able to move to America and my love of food and cooking became an obsession. Suddenly my cookbooks which were either passed onto me by my mother or weedy little things, started becoming more extensive as did the list of different meals being cooked everyday.

 I am no Chef nor do I know anything more about cooking than I have read in either my cookbooks, magazines or online… This blog is not geared out to be preachy with do’s and don’ts in the kitchen and apart from the obvious, like if you have a dog the likes rolling around in all things dirty, then don’t eat off your kitchen floor, health and safety is not an issue I intend to comment on, not because I dismiss it, but because I am a housewife, I haven’t done any classes on cooking or health and safety in the kitchen. My aim, plain and simple is to show that if I can do it anyone can and that home cooked meals can be and more often than not are just as delicious as those from a restaurant.

 I want to show that just because a recipe is there in black and white written by a professional chef, by no means, means you can’t change it to suit you, in fact the more cookbooks you read the more you realise that just because it’s called Spaghetti Bolognese, doesn’t mean that anyone recipe is going to be the same. I regularly show wanton disregard to recipes these days, (with the exception of baking recipes) substituting ingredients I don’t like with something I do, or adding a little something here or just omitting an ingredient there. Nothing about cooking is set in stone, and there are no rules about what ingredients may or may not go together, for example if you want to eat gherkins and capers with chocolate, caramel topping and a side of pasta and chips (fries), who am I or anyone else for that matter, to tell you, you can’t?

Just the other day, I added chunky bacon bits to my mushroom ragout, that doesn’t make it any less of a ragout, just because I added them, just as it wouldn’t be any less of a ragout, if I had omitted the onions and garlic. It’s all about personal preference. I found myself skipping over recipes because they had ingredients we don’t like, I don’t remember now which recipe it was, but I couldn’t find an ingredient I needed and substituted it with something else, which is when I realised I could and can cook anything I like! Your substitute ingredient doesn’t even have to be something similar in taste, for example there is little point in something that tastes similar to a red pepper if you don’t like them? I try to keep in the boundaries of what I am cooking to a certain extent. If I was cooking a Mexican dish I would take out the red pepper and add an ingredient in keeping with Mexican food, corn maybe? But that’s just me, you might decide to use, spinach or even jelly babies that’s fine too.

The only piece of advice I really feel I must give and mostly out of experience is that you really should read a recipe all the way through before you start cooking. There’s nothing worse than becoming stuck because you “need” some piece of silly equipment that you don’t own, and then spend ages trying to botch together something viable, while the rest of your meal is still cooking, so you end up with burnt or limp veggies, or watery rice or potatoes. Yes this comes out of experience, one which is frustrating and disheartening but one which can easily be avoided.


Some of my recipes are horrifically calorific, whilst others are low in fat and calories. My personal opinion is that anything is fine in moderation, stay healthy and enjoy what you eat!!!