Wednesday, 7 May 2014

spring onion, mushroom and nettle quiche

... i'm not sleeping well.  Whether it's the stress of work or the lay-lines are playing havoc with my sleeping patterns I don't exactly know but what I do know is that if I don't start sleeping properly soon then the world will burn in a pit of despair at the suffering I shall unleash upon it... on reflection that may be a little harsh but if you've ever had to endure insomnia you'll know how I feel... i'm back in London now from the long weekend break and rather than feeling relaxed and ready for anything I feel thoroughly exhausted and just a little high from adrenaline.  One teeny bit of good news is that I seem to have lost some weight.  I assume it's due to the 5:2 diet i'm secretly enduring but it could be the lack of sleep too... anyway, here's some quiche, packed with cheese, something else not known for its sleep inducing quality...

spring onion, mushroom and nettle quiche
another season, another quiche and again I cannot stress enough the virtues of a bit of roadside foraging, particularly when the humble nettle is involved.  I was recently at a 'farmer's market' in London and was quite shocked at the price of a bag of nettles. I guess not everyone is fortunate enough to have access to a patch of these weeds, although even in London there are quite a few large parks such as Richmond or Hampstead Heath where nettles are growing freely in abundance but do try and get your well-gloved hands on some... and if you're wondering how it tastes, imagine an earthy spinach and you're pretty near...

i'm entering this quiche into the teatime treats challenge which this month, has the theme of open top pies tarts and quiches... teatime treats is co-hosted by Janet from The Hedgecombers and Karen from Lavender and Lovage

for the pastry
250g plain flour
100g butter
50g finely grated vegetarian parmesan
water to mix

for the filling
6 or 7 Spring onions - chopped
one large box of closed cup mushrooms (380g) - finely sliced
3 large garlic cloves - finely crushed
15 nettle tops
butter and olive oil
fresh rosemary - finely chopped
salt and pepper
3 eggs - beaten
250ml creme fraiche

make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour in a large bowl until you have something resembling breadcrumbs, stir in the grated parmesan then add a tablespoon or two of cold water and bring together into a dough with your hands, you may need to add a little more water to create the dough but you will feel how 'short' the pastry is.  Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes

carefully pick the nettles... you'll need rubber gloves for this... when picking nettles you only want the top 4 leaves of smaller, younger plants.  I pick them a place them directly into the tub of my salad spinner so I can wash them directly after picking whilst I still have the gloves on... then spin them and set them aside till you need them

in a large pan gently melt a generous amount of butter with a little olive oil and add the mushrooms, stir them around and them leave them until they begin to squeak, then throw in the spring onions, the garlic and plenty of pepper and a little salt, then turn up the heat a little and saute them till they begin to brown a little, then add the washed nettles, place the lid on, turn down the heat and steam for another eight minutes, then remove from the heat.

now your pastry should be ready, roll it out and line your greased quiche pan. Scrunch up some baking parchment and then lay this into the pastry case and pour some baking beans on top. Blind bake for 15 minutes on 150C

once your pastry is turning golden, take it out of the oven and set aside whilst you beat the eggs into the cream... pour the mushroom and nettle mix into the pastry case followed by the cream and bake on 160C for about 15-20 minutes until golden and risen, set aside on a wire rack to cool.  The quiche should easily slide out of the tin.

eat and of course, enjoy!



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