Us mothers at Clancy’s school organised a get-together, to celebrate our children surviving the first month of prep and our own new found friendships. Basically an excuse to have a glass of wine, eat cheese and socialise (like we needed one).
Being the obsessive food lover that I am, I always see situations like these as prime opportunities to cook!
My schedule was pretty tight this week, so I prepared a simple quiche. Or is it called a tart? To tell you the truth, I am not quite sure what the difference is between the two (please feel free to enlighten me in the comments section).
Whatever it is called, it is one of those dead easy meals that look like you went to much more effort than you actually did. I made a quick polenta/spelt pastry, which is actually a cinch. Just place all the pastry ingredients into the food processor and away you go. If you are too short for time, you could even get away with using an all butter puff pastry.
These days I am only purchasing organic corn. I recently discovered that pretty much all corn nowadays is GMO. As this technology is quite new, we do not yet know all the risks involved in consuming such products. Where possible, I prefer not to take the risk. Unfortunately genetically engineered corn is also fed to chickens, pigs, beef etc. and is in the majority of prepackaged goods in your local supermarket. GM foods are everywhere! If you are uncomfortable with the thought of eating GM foods, buying organic is the way to go.
I wash my non organic fruit and veg in an apple cider vinegar/water bath to remove pesticides. Here is a link if you would like to know the method too. I have discovered that my local butcher sells only grass-fed beef. As we know it is not always possible to buy organic on a tight family budget, grass fed (as opposed to grain/corn fed) is the next best thing, and it is as simple as asking around at a few local butchers until you find the right one.
When I can afford it I buy organic eggs, chicken (when it is on special!) and dairy. Sometimes fruit and veg from the local farmers market, plus I have a little veggie patch with an abundance of herbs and a few vegies. The big supermarkets now stock an ‘organic’ range of many pantry staples, so I am doing my best, to eat only the good stuff. However, I believe the decision that makes the greatest impact on your health is choosing to make meals from scratch, rather than the convenience of buying pre-made/pre-packaged foods.
What this does cost you is your time – not something that many of us are rich in. I realise that this make-from-scratch advice is very easy for me to give, you know, being a cook and all. I personally love preparing food and it is a huge part of my identity, which is not necessarily the case for everyone reading this. With the right tools under your belt (and by tools I mean recipes), and a bit of practice, you can definitely have a homemade approach in the kitchen, sans any stress. Think; Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals and the like.
Is all this coming across as a bit preachy? Gawd, I hope not. My intention for this blog is just to be another resource – for those of you who want or need one. A place to inspire you to cook healthily and to enjoy what you are eating.
Corn, Spring Onion + Ricotta Quiche
Recipe notes; You can easily make this gluten free by replacing the plain flour with a gluten free flour (such as rice flour, or a gf flour mix etc).
For the pastry
– 115g plain flour (or gf flour)
– 115g polenta
– 115g butter, plus extra butter for greasing
– pinch of salt
– 1 egg
– 1 Tbsp iced water
– 3 ears corn
– 4 eggs
– 1/4 cup double cream
– 2 or 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
– 100g fresh ricotta
– few big pinches sea salt plus freshly ground pepper
Start with the pastry. Place flour, polenta, butter and salt into a food processor and pulse until the butter is combined. Add the egg and iced water and pulse again until the mix comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and knead for a minute. Form the dough into a ball and cover with cling film. Refrigerate for 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out both sides till you have a circular shape about 4mm thick, and wide enough to fit in a large flan tin. Grease a flan tin very well with butter, and lay the pastry over the top. Press the sides in with your fingers, then run the rolling pin over the top of the tin to trim off any excess – keep the left over pastry in case you need to patch up any holes. Blind bake by placing a sheet of baking paper over the top and filling it with dried beans or pastry weights.
Place in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes.
While the pastry is baking, remove the kernels from the corn cobs. Place the 4 eggs, cream, salt and corn kernels into the food processor (no need to wash it after making the pastry!) and pulse briefly until combined. Stir through the thinly sliced spring onions.
When the pastry is ready, remove from oven and pour in your egg mixture. Break the ricotta up into small chunks and dot it evenly around the mixture. Place it back into the oven and bake until set – about 20 minutes.
Grind over some freshly cracked pepper before serving.
Serves about 6, with a salad, for lunch or dinner.