Category Archives: Vegetarian

Quiche for Cheats

Time to blog has been a little rare and as a result, I have been distracted, my apologies. Between trying to be Supermum and trying to keep my boss happy, I’m also trying to organize Mr. M’s 40th birthday, Miss A’s 1st birthday and trying to redo the backyard before the new shed and Christmas arrive. This is a follow on from my previous post about my abundance of fresh eggs.

Quiche is an easy weeknight dinner but takes time when you make your own shortcrust pastry. Homemade shortcrust pastry is light and crumbly and makes a great quiche base but who has the time after work, dealing with kids and doing household chores? Some days I feel I should be starting dinner prep at lunchtime!

The solution is simple! Frozen pastry is a great time saver if you want a traditional base. For a lighter alternative I will use Filo Pastry. Filo Pastry requires a little more work when buttering and layering but the added steps produce a golden brown, crisp pastry case. I am more than happy to make my own shortcrust pastry but refuse to make Filo or Puff Pastry (although I had previously) as the low cost and convenience factor well out way the time and muscle needed. You can find my Filo Quiche recipe here.

Friends of ours also have chickens so there are eggs a plenty. Mrs. Friend was dealing with a family issue interstate, so Mr. Friend rang here wanting to know how to make pastry. So here is my simple shortcrust pastry recipe. My sister also likes to make quiche for fingerfood but can never remember the Egg to Cream Ratio. The ratio is really simple to remember for every egg you will need 100ml of cream.

1 Egg: 100ml Cream

Therefore alter the amount depending on the size you need and you’ll never need to reference a cookbook again. For example:

3 Eggs: 300ml Cream

5 Eggs: 500ml Cream

8 Eggs: 800ml Cream

If you stick to this ratio, you will have set custard that doesn’t taste overly eggy. Which is great when you are like me and don’t like eggs! Yes, you read that, I don’t like plain egg and would NEVER eat a fried or boiled egg but will eat Quiche…go figure!!!!

If you are super short on time, or don’t have the ingredients, forget the pastry all together. It’s also marginally better for your waistline. A crust-free Quiche is known as a Frittata.

Happy Cooking xxx

🙂 Kelly

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Eggs, Eggs & More Eggs

We proudly own three Isa Brown Chickens. This flock of feathered friends are not only entertaining and low maintenance but also keep us in a steady stream of fresh eggs.Chooks

There however, is a downside to our family friends…we simply can’t eat eggs as quickly as they lay them! Each chicken will lay one egg per day, that’s 21 eggs per week. We will happily send friends and family home with our oversupply when they pop past. I do however try to use them in my cooking as much as possible.

Donna Hay can be quoted from one of her many cookbooks “If you have eggs in the fridge, you have a meal on the table”. This quote is definitely true.

Eggs are versatile ingredients as you can eat them on their own in a multitude of ways such as fried, poached, scrambled, boiled or baked. Eggs also have a sometimes hidden culinary role in aiding to thicken, bind, glaze, aerate, emulsify, clarify and enrich a dish. Eggs are to cooking as Glue, Nails, Screws, Paint and Wood are to Building!

Eggs are highly perishable and start deteriorating as soon as they are laid. So how do you tell if an egg is fresh? The easiest way is to place the egg into a glass of water. If the egg sinks, it is good. If the egg floats, it is not. An eggshell is porous and allows air to penetrate the egg over time creating an air pocket. This is what makes the egg float. Fresher eggs have a much smaller air pocket and hence will not float.

I could blog about eggs forever so I will keep it to the basics this week. Sometime I have to remember it’s all about simple, delicious & cheap before I get carried away with my excitement. I will follow with more in the weeks to come but first, this is what I made this week with my eggs.

For a quick weeknight meal, I will whip up a Frittata or Vegetable Slice. These are great dinner options that use up vegetables and eggs and don’t need the added step of making pastry. For a cheats quick and easy quiche, I will use Filo Pastry. It is lighter in texture but still provides that crispiness that a great pastry base deserves. You can also make your own shortcrust pastry if time permits, as it is cheap to make.

Last week, you may have noticed that Mr. M won a huge 4.5kg Toblerone. We managed to share this amongst family and friends but were still left with a considerable piece. So I decided to make Toblerone Icecream. What better way to combine an oversupply of both chocolate and eggs? It was also an excuse to use my new icecream maker that I received for my birthday in late August. I followed the chocolate icecream recipe as per my icecream maker instructions and folded through chunks of Toblerone at the end before my final deep freeze. I understand that not everyone has an icecream maker so I have my no-churn Parfait recipe here that is just as good without the need of a machine.

Happy Cooking xxx

🙂 Kelly

Winter Salads

For most people, salad means summer with crisp lettuce, tomato, cucumbers and capsicum. We tend to have multiple heavy meals in winter and therefore sometimes need a lighter meal to offset the hearty comfort foods we eat. We will also happily entertain or visit friends for barbeque dinners in winter and we normally take the obligatory salad or dessert.

If you have ever eaten a tomato in winter you could have experienced a flavourless, firm fruit, pale in it’s orange appearance. Winter tomatoes simply don’t have the rich, ripe flavour and beautiful colour that local summer tomatoes have. Not to mention the huge price tag that comes with it.

The best way to eating cheaply is to eat fruit and vegetables that are in season. “In Season” means it is the current growing season for that particular fruit or vegetable. Apples and citrus fruit love the winter chill whilst berries and stone fruit thrive in warmer conditions. When you buy something in season, it is normally available in abundance, which means lower cost to you. Check out a very useful Australian guide at Seasonal Food Guide to see what is seasonal in your area.

So what happens when you want a great tasting salad in winter but do not have average tasting, expensive tomatoes and cucumber in the fridge? Time to look at our winter crops for inspiration. Beetroot, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Fennel and Spinach are always at their best this time of year and make great salads. Other ingredients that make great unconventional salad include broccolini, or fruit such as orange, mandarin or pear.

Coleslaw can be transformed from your average carrot and cabbage to spectacular with the addition of fennel, red onion and apple. I also turn to my pantry for inspiration when the unexpected guests arrive. Changing the base ingredient from salad leaves to pasta, rice, lentils or potato means you can use pantry staples and always have something on hand. I will grab a can each of beetroot and lentil to whip up a Beetroot and Lentil Salad. Another favourite of ours is a Roasted Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Salad that makes use of seasonal root vegetables in the pantry and Spinach from the garden. Experiment and don’t be afraid to try something different.

Happy Cooking

🙂 Kelly

Winter Soup Warmth

We are well and truly in the middle of a cold winter and what better way to feel warm than with a big bowl of hearty soup!

I grew up in a time where most kids grew up with stay-at-home mothers. I have fond childhood memories of my Mum cooking soup on the stove for hours on end. She would painstakingly make her stock first and then simmer her soup ingredients to create a huge vat of hearty goodness. The process of making soup was a whole day event.

Today, things have changed. I am a part-time working Mum of one and have many friends that are working mothers as well. We have to work in order to meet the financial demand of high cost of living and the fear of losing our place in the workforce. Coming home from the end of a long day, doing the childcare pickup, feed time, bath time, story time…who wants to cook dinner, let alone soup???

I love soup as it not only evokes happy memories but because it’s cheap! We are in a time where the cost of living is ever-increasing. We need to find ways of reducing our grocery bill with cheaper or fewer ingredients. I find that removing processed food from my shopping trolley aids in keeping the final cost low. So instead of reaching for store-bought ready-made soups try making a quick and easy Potato and Leek Soup.  Serve it with crusty bread or toasted crumpets for a filling meal. Leftovers (if any) can be frozen for a quick meal later on.

Potato and Leek Soup

Potato and Leek Soup

This soup can be on the table from start to finish in as little as 30 minutes! It is cheap as it only has 5-6 ingredients, most of which as fridge and pantry staples. For ease and convenience I like to use powdered stock. I find it much cheaper and less bulky than other premade stocks available at the supermarket. In saying that, I do make my own stock when time permits and I store in it the freezer for future use.

I am also undertaking a “Soup Swap” with a few of my friends next week. This is where we each make one variety of soup. We meet up together with our soup divided into four disposable containers and swap varieties between us. This way we each get to try something different that we may not necessarily cook ourselves and mid-week dinners are a breeze with homemade soup on hand in the freezer. I will tell you how we go in a few weeks. Try it with your friends before winter ends.

Happy Cooking

xxKelly

Super quick and simple Potato & Leek Soup

This soup is so quick and easy, it can be done as a weeknight dinner.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 Leek, finely sliced
  • 1 Brown Onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 3 Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 litre of premade Vegetable Stock (i use Vegeta Powdered Stock)

METHOD

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook onion until soft and translucent  (without colouring), stirring regularly to prevent sticking. 20150621_191910
  3. Add sliced leek to pan and cook until softened, approximately 5mins. Stirring regularly.
  4. Add crushed garlic and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Add stock to saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Increase heat, add diced potato and allow to boil until potato has softened.
  7. Remove soup from heat and allow time to cool slightly.
  8. Blend until smooth.

If your soup is too thin, return it to the stove with more diced potato. Boil again until potato is cooked. Blend again until smooth.

If your soup is too thick, thin it down with extra stock, water or cream.