Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday night is quiz night

We are having a quiz night tonight, so that means plenty to eat and drink, always high on my priorities.

It is a buffet style, serve yourself, with jacket potatoes that have been cooking in the bottom of the Rayburn oven for 5 hours, some pizzas, quiche and sausage rolls. 

We all love pizza, and our favourite toppings can be categorised by what is lurking in the back of the fridge, therefore comprise of slices of some forgotten cured sausage, a lone piece of ham, some rock hard cheese, and that old standby, the sprouting onion in the veggie basket.

I make my pizza bases in my bread maker - I have found that the results are certainly worth it, the dough is lovely and smooth, and crisps up beautifully when baked.

210 ml tepid water
2 tsp olive oil
pinch salt
350g plain flour
1 sachet of dried active yeast or if using reactived yeast, reduce the amount of water by the 15ml used to active the yeast otherwise the dough is too wet.

This makes about 3 12 inch pizza bases or 4 if you prefer thinner bases.

I have my own tomato sauces that I made earlier in the year from our harvest that I bottled up as various flavours, either basil, or oregano, or garlic, but for pizza I like the garlic sauce, then just liberally apply all of the toppings, bake until cheese is browning and bubbling on top.


Quiche is another of my quick and easy standbys, and is also based on leftovers. 

The base is whizzed up in the food processor and I use the French flan pastry method

200g plain flour
pinch salt
115g butter (never margarine - it does not taste the same) straight from the fridge
1 egg yolk
a couple of drops of lemon juice - either fresh lemon or ones of those squeezy bottles of lemon juice
2 -3 tablespoons of iced water

Chuck everything apart from the water into the food processor and pulse until the butter is incorporated into the flour, then add the water, one tablespoon at a time, you may not need 3 to create the pastry ball.  Once made, refridgerate again (wrapped in cling film/saran wrap or in one of those waxy bags from a ceral box) before rolling.

For the filling I use leftover cooked veg like broccoli, peas, sweetcorn or chopped french beans, and chopped meat - either some ham or some cooked chicken, but my favourite is some chorizo sausage.

Whisk together 4 eggs, a teacup of milk with a couple of table spoons of creme fraiche (alternatively one of those little cartons of cream), and add plenty of seasonings - I normally add salt, pepper, a generous pinch of paprika and some either fresh or dried herbs like parsley or oregano.  Then top with a sliced tomato.

Bake until it rises then falls and is brown on top. 

As I do my baking in the Rayburn - I have no firm temperature settings or time allowances for these recipes and so I judge it is done by how the finished product looks.

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