Who doesn’t love eating outside in the summer? Ah, bliss. Of course, in my head an al fresco dinner will be like it is in the movies – the family (all smiling, happy and sitting properly on their chairs) are seated round a rustic wooden table laden with delicious fresh food, a faint scent of lavender in the air, and a gentle breeze to keep us cool while we tuck in. In reality, my patio is tiny, my patio table is even tinier, and the minute I step outside with food, wasps head my way…
Small patio aside, I did recently make and enjoy a rather fabulous Quiche Lorraine, inspired by some rather lovely Clarence Court Burford Brown eggs and Spoiltpig bacon, which I was sent to taste. I have written about Spoiltpig bacon before, and the reason I like it is because it’s made using outdoor reared pork approved by Freedom Food AND it’s completely delicious. Animal welfare is important to me and I would rather buy less meat than buy low-quality meat of questionable origin.
Burford Brown eggs have the most wonderful deep sunset yellow yolks and will give your quiche a super colour, and again are free range and produced with high welfare standards in mind.
Now trust me, this Quiche Lorraine is seriously good. I am afraid that this isn’t a recipe to be made one-handed, but what is brilliant is that you can make it in stages – you can get your pastry base ready and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it, you can cook the bacon in advance – it doesn’t matter if it goes cold once it’s cooked as it goes back in the oven anyway. Get the different elements ready and then whip up the filling and assemble the thing when you have time. You will be pleased you did, as it’s pretty impressive!
We all absolutely loved this and I have made it twice during the last two weeks, so this is a must-have summer recipe as far as I am concerned. Oh, and I used bought pastry. I’m a busy woman!!
A classic Quiche Lorraine does not have cheese in, I’m told. But I always add it. Coz I am crazy like that. This is delicious warm from the oven (allow it to cool a little before serving) or at room temperature the next day – remove from the fridge half an hour or so before serving. Great with a crunchy green salad with a vinaigrette dressing or, for the kids, slices of cucumber and mini tomatoes.
Serves 6-8 depending on hunger levels
You will need:
1 pack ready made shortcrust pastry
184g pack Spoiltpig dry cured streaky bacon, chopped (I use scissors)
1 tbsp oil
320ml double cream
4 Burford Brown whole eggs, and 2 extra yolks
75g strong cheese, grated (Parmesan, strong Cheddar or Comté work well)
Black pepper, freshly ground
For the base:
- Roll the pastry out as thinly as you can and use to line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottomed fluted flan tin. Ease the pastry into the base and use a ball of pastry to press the pastry into the grooves of the tin (top tip!)
- Trim the pastry edges so it sits slightly above the tin. Prick the base with a fork and chill for at least 10 minutes (the quiche, not you).
- When ready to cook, put a baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 200°C/180°Fan/Gas 6.
- Line the pastry case with cling film and fill with dry or baking beans and bake on the hot sheet for 15–20 minutes. Remove cling fim and beans and bake for another 5 minutes until the pastry is golden.
For the filling:
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon for around 8–10 minutes, until cooked through but not crisp. Drain and spread half over the hot pastry base.
- Put the cream and the eggs and yolks into a large bowl with a generous grinding of black pepper, and beat together slowly until combined. Add the grated cheese, and then give it a fast whisk for 30 seconds until frothy.
- Pour over the bacon, and then sprinkle the remaining bacon on top.
- Bake for 20 mins, then check. The quiche is ready when it has puffed up but still has a wobble in the centre. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
All week it’s time to Shake Up Your Wake Up with Farmhouse Breakfast Week which is an annual celebration championing the importance of breakfast and aims to get the nation to Shake Up Their Wake Up! 47% of people regularly skip breakfast during the week so their aim is to encourage people to enjoy a healthy breakfast more regularly, think about the wonderful breakfast produce available in this country, and get out of the boring breakfast rut! For inspiration, look at www.shakeupyourwakeup.com/breakfastrecipes
I was lucky enough to be sent Denhay Farms’ Ultimate Breakfast Box to try out on the family, which included their award-winning bacon, spoiltpig sausages, Clarence Court’s Burford Brown eggs, Tracklements tomato sauce and smoked chipotle salsa. Nice.
I am a big believer in breakfast, but like most busy mums, don’t always have time during the week to make a real effort with breakfast. I usually have plain yogurt with some sort of granola (Rude Health is a favourite) and the children have cereal or porridge, fruit and sometimes bagels or rice cakes with peanut butter. However at the weekend we usually have scrambled eggs, porridge, fruit salad, American-style pancakes and sometimes a cooked breakfast, which is a real treat.
We had never tried Denhay bacon, and I have to say, it was absolutely delicious. I was very pleased to see that both it and the sausages have the Freedom Food label – something which is important to me. The sausages had a lovely flavour, and I was really quite taken with the ketchup (although, you guessed it, the kids prefer ‘the normal one’) but the eggs stole the show – I have never seen such gorgeous vibrant yolks before (if you’re into Pantones, think Spectra Yellow). Which inspired me to make scrambled eggs – one of the few dishes that really can be made one-handed – assuming you can crack an egg one-handed!
Scrambled eggs are great for older babies (make sure they are cooked through), toddlers, big kids, and even bigger kids. Eggs pack a great protein punch, plus the yolks are high in lecithin, which helps memory and concentration – so they’re an important brain food. They really are the perfect breakfast food, and what’s more, you could add some spinach for an iron kick. A great healthy start to the day for the family!
Scrambled eggs with spinach
Keeping the heat fairly LOW is the key to good scrambled eggs; it may take a wee bit longer, but you will be rewarded with delicious, creamy eggs that taste sooo good.
3 free-range eggs
Dash of full-fat milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small knob of butter
Handful of washed, chopped spinach
- Gently beat the eggs together in a small bowl or a mug with a fork and add a dash of full-fat milk if you have some, don’t worry if you don’t. Don’t overbeat, just make sure the eggs are combined. Season lightly
- Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan or frying pan, and once it’s gently bubbling, add your egg mixture, keeping the heat low
- Stir the eggs using a wooden spoon, or even better, a wooden fork, if you have one
- Once the eggs have started to scramble after a few minutes, add the chopped spinach and continue stirring for another minute
- Grate some nutmeg into the pan and give it a final stir
Enjoy your breakfast this week. (And why not tweet a picture, using the hashtag #breakfastwatch!)
Disclaimer: I was sent the Ultimate Breakfast Box as a gift. All the views here are my own.