When my children were tiny and right up to their teens, we often spend the summer in our family hideaway on the Sierra Tramuntana on the isle of Mallorca. Here, for the blissful weeks of summer, we would live and eat simply. What’s lovely is that over the years, many friends joined us at Melcion and the love grows.
Photo: my father and my son Jack.
One of our favourite family games at Melcion is Gourmet Challenge. The premise of the game is very simple: you have to rustle up a gourmet feast just from the ingredients you can find around the house and the garden. The idea is quite simply Waste Not, Want Not.
I abhor gratuitous trips to the supermarkets just to pick up one or two missing ingredients – what a waste of petrol, what a waste of time and what a waste of money, because you always end up buying more than what you set out for.
And the best thing about a Gourmet Challenge is you never really know what you’re going to get, and it is fun!
Photo: my little gourmets.
So, on this rainy day, I made a “Gourmet Challenge” Quiche. I found an old bag of spinach in my freezer that had been thawed and refrozen so many times, a leek (slightly off), two tomatoes and half an onion. I had the usual staples in my house – milk, cream, cheese, butter, eggs, garlic. I even made the pastry from scratch!
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C/350 deg F.
For the pastry:
- 100g unsalted butter, straight out of the fridge
- 200g flour, sifted
- 6 tablespoon cold water.
Cut the cold, hard butter into small cubes (save the wrapper for greasing the flan tin). Rub the butter and the flour until they resemble breadcrumbs.
Add the water. Knead the dough, but not excessively, because you are not making bread! Shape into a ball, wrap the dough in beeswax wrap (or cling film, if you don’t have it) and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Grease the flan tin with the butter wrapper. Lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough. Line the greased flan tin with the dough. It doesn’t matter if your dough crumbles – you can see from this photo that mine didn’t come away neatly in one large piece and I had to patch it up!
It is highly recommended that you pre-bake the flan before adding in the filling, but I didn’t. If you wish to do things by the book, here’s how (as my mother would):
Line the pastry with foil and weigh down with baking beads or beans. Place the tin on a baking tray, then pop in the hot oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove the beans and the foil, then return to the oven for a further 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden.
For the filling:
Here’s the thing: baked cheese tastes good, no matter what. This quiche that I made was especially yummy because I crumbled garlic Boursin into it (such decadence).
- 3 large, organic eggs
- 50g grated cheddar
- 1/4 a garlic Boursin
- 6 tablespoon creme fraiche
- Approximately 50ml cooking cream
- Salt and pepper
Mix all together until you have a thick slurry – adjust the volume of cooking cream used. Season generously.
These are the possible vegetable filling for your Gourmet Challenge Quiche (only the first four ingredients are important, the others are up to you):
- Olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- One red onion, sliced
- Half a bunch of thyme
- Few rashers of bacon
- Frozen spinach, thawed, and water squeezed out
- Leeks, sliced
Saute the garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Add the rest and continue to saute until thoroughly coated with the garlic-olive oil. Pour this into the prepared flan dish and finally, pour in the cream-egg-cheese slurry.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the filling is almost set. Leave to cool slightly, then carefully remove the flan tin. Delicious either hot or cold, and lasts for a couple of days in the fridge….enjoy 🙂
My cookbook, The Ca’n Melcion Cookbook which chronicles the food of those magical summers, is available on Amazon. Click on this link for a free preview.