Tag Archives: asparagus

Aspara-bacon Quiche

Ah, Quiche!  The poor quiche has a bit of a bad rep simple because it has a bit of a funny sounding name!  But we should not mock the quiche for it is delicious!  Throughout the summer months I will frequently have one in the fridge just waiting to be grabbed for causal lunches, a picnic, a light supper.  It’s a very versatile dish and once you have the basics down you can whip one up in no time!

Asparabacon Quiche

This little quiche is an asparabacon quiche.  Asparabacon is one of the finest flavour combinations so adding it to a quiche seemed like a brilliantly obvious step!

Asparabacon Quiche

I’m not going to lie though, I think I’ve had it with pastry!  I CAN make pastry, sure.  It’s not that hard… but I hate it.  It’s just one of those fiddly jobs that I just don’t really enjoy.  I think that these days you can get some good ready made pastry at a decent price in any supermarket so I may just throw the towel in and go for an easy life!  We shall see!

Asparabacon Quiche

There’s an entire bundle of asparagus in this small quiche, which is a lot, yes, but ASPARAGUS! Fresh, British Asparagus too!  If you want to dial back the asparagus that’s cool, but why not indulge yourself a bit?

Asparabacon Quiche

 

Serves 4 / Makes 1x 8″ quiche

150g plain flour
50g butter
25g trex (or just 75g butter)
1-2 tbsp cold water

6 large eggs
200 ml milk
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 bungle asparagus spears, trimmed of the woody end
125g smoked bacon lardons
25g grated cheese

– Put the flour, butter and trex in a mixing bowl and rub together with your hands until it forms a breadcrumb consistency.
– Add the water a little at a time mixing until it comes together into a dough.
– Shape into a flat round, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5.
– Roll out the pastry on a floured worksurface into a rough circle.  It should be about the thickness of a £1 coin and large enough to cover an 8″ sandwich tin with a little overhang.
– Gently pick the dough up using the rolling pin and drape it gently into the 8″ sandwich tin, lightly press down into the edges and smooth up the sides and over the lip making sure there are no trapped air bubbles.
– Cover the pastry with foil and fill with baking beans.
– Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and gently remove the foil and baking beans.  If it won’t release evenly put it back in the oven for 5 minutes.
– Bake uncovered for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is just cooked and has lost that sickly pale look!
-Prepare your filling: Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together in a jug.
– Scatter the bacon and asparagus evenly over the pastry shell.
– Pour the egg mixture into the pastry shell.  If you’ve got it right and there are no holes this is where your filling should stay.  If you’ve got it wrong, well, that why it’s on a baking tray!
– Scatter the grated cheese on top.
– Pop it back into the oven (if it’s leaking get it back in as quickly as you can so that egg seals the hole!)
– Bake at gas mark 5 for 45 minutes until the egg is set in the centre and the top is a golden brown.
– Leave to cool completely before running a sharp knife around the edge of the tin to loosen the pastry.
– Place the bottom on a sturdy bowl smaller than the tin and press down evenly to unmould it.
– Run a sharp knife between the pastry and the tin base to separate it.
– Serve and enjoy!

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Filed under Easy, Mains, Moderately easy, Starters, Teatime Treats

Mushroom, Asparagus and Spinach Bruschetta / Frittata

 

 

 

As a busy single gal with a job, a home, a garden and puppy to tend to these days my cooking choices are dictated mostly by time.  I am a big fan of batch cooking, my freezer is worth its weight in gold, and if I can make a dish do double duty and provide me with not one but two meals I am all over that!  This is a perfect example of multipurpose cooking.  I had a light supper for 2 and breakfast for 4 days out of this one quick session in the kitchen.  If that’s not efficient I don’t know what is!

Crispy crunchy bruschetta!

 

I started with the bruschetta.  I had visited York’s Food Festival on Sunday and grabbed a Haxby Bakehouse baguette.  After having some with roast chicken and salad on Sunday night, and another hunk for Monday lunch’s sandwich I was still left with about half a baguette day old baguette.  Perfect for bruschetta!  Once you’re done these will also keep well for an extra few days so don’t worry if you don’t want to eat them all at once, they’ll keep!

For the Bruschetta:

– Heat your oven to Gas 6 / 200C.
– Slice a baguette about 1/2″ thick.
– Place on a baking tray and spray both sides lightly with olive oil.
(- Cut open a clove of garlic and rub over the surface of the bread. )
– Place in the oven and bake for ~15-20 minutes.  The longer they’re in the crunchier they get!  It’s up to you how dark and crispy you want them to be.  You can stop when they’re just lightly browning and more toast like or keep going until they’re totally crisp and a deep, even brown!
– Keep warm if desired or allow to cool and then they can be boxed up to keep for a few days.
– TURN DOWN THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO GAS 4 /180C *

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Now for the Topping!  Basically, I grabbed what I had on hand, which was mushrooms, asparagus and spinach, but the possibilities are just about endless!

~6 largish closed cup or chestnut mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus
1 large handful spinach
75g cream cheese
1 tbsp creme fraiche

– Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan.
– Thinly slice the mushrooms.
– Sautee the mushrooms.
– Snap the woody stems off the asparagus and slice into bite-sized bits.
– Add the asparagus and stir while cooking for about 3 minutes.
– Add the spinach to the top of the pan and leave to wilt over a low heat giving a little poke to mix it if necessary.
– REMOVE HALF OF THE MIXTURE TO YOUR SKILLET.  *
– Add the cream cheese and creme  fraiche to the remaining mixture, stir until melted and well mixed.
– Add a sprinkle of salt and a good grind of pepper to taste.

*See below.

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Carefully spoon on top of your bruschetta and plate up.  A little shaving of parmesan is a delight too! (And spot the cheeky little cheese on toasts added to the plate, I had 2 spare bruschetta and some Monterey Jack in front of me, add a quick blow torch et voila! Cheesy Toasts!)  I suggest a nice chardonnay and a sunny evening to enjoy these but they would be just as good by the fire on a winter’s evening too I’m sure!

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Now, what were we doing with our mysterious other half of the veggie mixture? Well, this is where the Frittata comes in! Or you can call it an omelette or a crustless quiche or whatever you fancy, I kinda just like saying Frittata in a kinda Hakuna Matata fashion!

* For the Fritatta:

– While you are cooking your veggies in your first frying pan heat a little splash of oil in a cast iron skillet.  Make sure the oil has coated the pan nicely this will stop it sticking.  (Skillet seems like such an Americanism but it just feels right for this kind of pan, you know?)
– In a jug or bowl beat 4 eggs, a splash of milk (~50-75ml), a pinch of salt and a grind of fresh black pepper.
– Add the veggies to the pan and pour over the egg mix.
– Top with slices of cheese, I went with Monterey Jack but any cheddary cheese would work.
– Place in your preheated oven and cook for about 20 minutes until set through.  It will puff up beautifully!
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will sadly deflate but no matter!).
– Slice into 4 and place in a box in the fridge ready to grab a slice for breakfast each day.  You can eat this hot or cold, if you would like a hot breakfast simply heat in the microwave for 1 minute.

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So there you go, supper for 2 and breakfast for the next few days in one quick dash around the kitchen.  The fritatta can bake while you are eating your bruschetta, just remember to go back and get it out of the oven or bad things will happen!

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Asparagus Soup

I found a whole box of asparagus bundles reduced to 30p each at the supermarket and just couldn’t resist! I restrained myself to 6 bunches.  I spent a few weeks in Italy earlier this year during asparagus season and was served a delicious asparagus soup.  It seemed like a good time to give it a go myself!

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Serves 4

25g butter
1 onion, chopped
600g asparagus
750ml hot chicken stock
100ml creme fraiche

– Gently melt the butter in a large saucepan.
– Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes with the lid on until soft.
– Chop the asparagus into ~1″ lengths, removing the woody ends of the stalks and reserving at least 12 asparagus tips.
– Add the asparagus to the pan and gently cook for 10  minutes.
– Add the hot stock and use a stick blender to puree until smooth.
– Add the creme fraiche and stir until it has melted in.
– Add most of the asparagus tips and simmer the soup for a few minutes.
– Serve with a few of the asparagus tips on the surface.

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Linguine with Pea Pesto, Grilled Asparagus and Chicken

I accidentally managed to make this delightfully green meal on St Patrick’s Day, which just shows what your subconscious can do when you let it!  The actual purpose of the meal was so that I could serve something vegetarian but that could easily have meat added to it with neither party losing out of flavour as my sister was coming for a surprise Mother’s Day visit.  This fit the bill nicely.

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I originally got the idea for pea pesto into my head and went searching for inspiration.  Smitten Kitchen’s one popped up and I trust all her recipes implicitly… doesn’t mean I can resist tweaking things though!  We tend to favour more sauce in my family… or, my Dad does and so we go with it!  I also thought the addition of asparagus and grilled chicken rounds it out nicely to make it a proper meal.  I am on a budget so salted cashews work nicely as you don’t add salt later.  And I’m sorry for mixing my units in the recipe but it’s the easiest way to measure each one I find!

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Serves 4

2 cups frozen peas
5tbsp salted cashew nuts
90g parmesan or hard cheese, finely grated (Sainsbury’s is veggie)
1 large clove garlic, very roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large bundle asparagus
4 chicken breasts
500g linguine, cooked as per the packet

– Boil a small pan of water and add about 1/4 tsp salt.
– Add your peas and cook for 4-5 minutes until they’re floating.
– Drain and immediately rinse with cold water.  Set aside in a pan of cold water.
– In a food processor blitz your cashews until they’re very finely chopped.
– Add the peas (reserving about 4 tbsp), parmesan and garlic.
– Blitz for about 2-3 minutes until totally smooth, adding the olive oil down the funnel at the end.
– To prepare your asparagus, grasp the base of the stalk with both hands and run one hand up the stalk, bending slightly until it snaps off the bottom 1 1/2″ or so.  This removes the tough lower stalk leaving you with tender bits.
– Spray/drizzle the asparagus and chicken with olive oil
– Grill your asparagus and chicken.  I think about 7 minutes per side for the chicken and about 10 mintes all told for the asparagus.  I use a health grill for the asparagus and a regular grill for the chicken.  If you only have one, cook the asparagus first then set aside in a warm oven while you do the chicken.
– Drain your linguine and reserve about 1/2 cup cooking water.
– Toss the linguine and pesto, adding enough water to loosen it a bit.
– Scatter the top with the reserved peas and asparagus, cut into thirds.  You could also slice the chicken and serve in with the pasta if you aren’t worrying about keeping things veggie.

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Asparagus

Not so much a recipe as a handy hint here.  I found some delicious looking asparagus on the market on Thursday but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat it straight away.  To keep your asparagus fresh, simply stand it in a wide mouthed jar of water and keep it on the side until you are ready for it. 

Then, when you are ready for it you simply need to snap off the woody root ends.  (Grasp the asparagus spear at the very end with your right index finger and thumb, then with your left index finger and thumb pull along the asparagus towards the tip trying to bend it and exerting pressure until you feel it bend and snap.) Discard the woody parts then steam your asparagus foe 7-10 minutes depending how thick the stems are.  Then serve asyou wish.  How about with a Microwave Poached Egg and some hollandaise sauce?

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Asparagus

Yesterday I was shopping on the market and saw bunches of asparagus.  Not an unusual occurence, I admit.  However, I knew that we were having a bbq that evening and suddenly I wanted nothing more than fresh grilled asparagus and asparabacon. 

Now, the grilled asparagus has just been all over the place, as it should be because it’s delicious!  But asparabacon was something I used to eat in izakaya all over Japan and I love it!  I’ve only ever made it as part of a Japanese meal before but it transfers beautifully to the bbq.  It even works as finger food!

Hardly a recipe but here goes:

Grilled Asparagus:

1 bunch asparagus
olive oil

– Snap the tough ends off the asparagus. 
– Drizzle/spray with olive oil.
– Cook on bbq until just browned. 

Asparabacon:

1 bunch asparagus
~6 slices bacon

– Slice the bacon in half along the center giving thin, long strips. 
– Snap the tough ends off the asparagus. 
– Wrap the bacon round the asparagus in spirals. 
– Grill until the bacon is cooked and just starting to brown.

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Vegetables

What is a roast without vegetables?  I love vegetables!

I usually steam most of my veg.  If you don’t have a steamer I very much recommend getting one.  I use mine a lot for both veg and especially for Japanese foods.  I even have a microwave steamer, technically for doing rice and pasta, that I use for making individual portions although the timings are very different for that.  If, however, you don’t have one then you can improvise with a sieve and a pan. 

Vegetables!

These are guidelines more than anything, if you cut your veg bigger than I do or choose larger potatoes then they’ll take longer to cook.  Test before serving by poking with a sharp knife.  The knife should slip easily through the vegetable if it’s cooked. 

New Potatoes – 25 minutes
Brussel Sprouts – 20 minutes
Carrot slices – 20 minutes
Corn on the cob – 10 minutes
Asparagus – 10 minutes
Brocolli – 7 minutes
Edamame in pods – 5 minutes

I like to stirfry courgette slices in a little butter or olive oil, they take about 10 minutes on a low to medium heat.  They’re cooked when they start to go soft and a bit see through. 

Sweetcorn from a tin is best done in the microwave.  Drain, tip into a dish with a small knob of butter, cover and microwave for 2 minutes. 

Leeks in Creamy Sauce

2 leeks
a knob of butter
3 tbsp corn flour
1 pint milk

– Clean, if necessary, and horizontally slice your leeks. 
– Put them in a microwaveable dish with a good splash of water (about 5mm in the base is good) and a pinch of salt. 
– Cover and microwave for 7 minutes. 
– In the meantime make a white sauce by melting the butter in a heavy bottomed pan and whisking in the cornflour to make a paste. 
– Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk and a pinch of salt. 
– Place the pan back on the heat and whisk constantly until the sauce thickens.
– Drain any remaining water from the leeks and then pour the white sauce over the leeks. 
– Place in the oven to keep warm until serving. 

Braised Cabbage

Cabbage, any colour.  I prefer white.
a knob of butter
a splash of water

– Chop or tear the cabbage into small pieces. 
– Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan, add the cabbage and sprinkle with salt. 
– Stir until the cabbage is nicely coated with butter and starts to ‘pop’. 
– Add the water, cover and keep on a medium heat until the water is absorbed and the cabbage tender.  When it is cooked it will have become ever so slightly transparent.

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