Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorrainecheck out that shrinking pastry … don’t let your toddler drive the food processor!

One of my slightly less hip hobbies is entering competitions. I caught the bug while living in the UK and I’d say that it’s rare a day goes by when I don’t enter at least one. It goes without saying that my favourite competitions to enter (and win) are those involving food or cooking.

One of my most recent wins was Australian Women’s Weekly Country Classics, through a Kambrook competition. The Women’s Weekly cookbooks are famous throughout the world and I think everyone (or everyone’s mum or grandma) has at least one of these at home.

I was keen to try it out as soon as possible and, after having a good read through, I settled on quiche lorraine. Now, people can get a bit het up over quiche lorraine because it is one of those foods that has been well loved and well adapted. If you think this version is not quite right please feel free to tell me (and the Women’s Weekly!) what is wrong!

My toddler helped me make the pastry for this and it ended up somewhat overworked (when I came to roll it out it was elastic rather than silky …) and so we had a bit of shrinkage. I used all the bacon and onion mixture but have about 500mL of cream filling left. I’m planning on making a rather luxe omelette with it, and grating through some courgette so I feel healthy …

The pastry was good: short, crumbly and I enjoyed the hint of lemon. The filling was excellent and this is such a storecupboard kind of dish, with a bit of practice it could easily be a mid-week lifesaver.

Overall, the Country Classics cookbook is filled with solid recipes that will stand a novice cook, in particular, in good stead. Quite of the few salad and sandwich ideas I’m looking forward to appropriating and adapting in future and you never know, one day I might even make use of the “camp fire” section …

Quiche Lorraine


  • Pastry
  • 260g plain flour
  • 150g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • iced water, as required
  • Filling
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 200g bacon, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 300mL cream
  • 125mL milk
  • 90g grated cheese (Gruyère is 'traditional' but I used standard tasty cheese)


  1. Make the pastry by combining the butter and flour in a food processor. When crumbly, add the egg yolk and the lemon juice, and then slowly add the water until there is just enough for the mix to come together. Knead lightly, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for ~ ½ hour.
  2. To make the filling, fry the onions and bacon until the onion starts to turn golden. Drain on kitchen towel.
  3. In a bowl (or large jug, if you have one) whisk the eggs, and add the milk and cream. Stir through the grated cheese.
  4. Line a 24cm deep, loose bottomed quiche dish, with the pastry. Bake blind, with baking beans, at 180°C fan (200°C conv) for 10 mins. Remove the beans and bake for another 10 or so minutes until golden.
  5. Spread the bacon and onion mix over the base. Pour over the cream filling (if you have made the filling in a bowl it is probably worthwhile pouring it into a jug for this!). Do this slowly to give the mix time to spread around, otherwise you'll end up overfilling.
  6. Bake at 160°C fan (180°C conv) for 30-35 minutes, until golden and set. I personally prefer just set: I think it makes for a creamier end product.
  7. Stand for 5 minutes in the tin, and then remove. Serve hot or warm with either salad or steamed vegetables.
  8. Tip 1: place the quiche dish on a baking tray BEFORE blind baking. This makes it much easier to get it in and out of the oven and if your filling does overflow, you only have a tray, not an oven, to clean.
  9. Tip 2: to remove the quiche from its tin, pop it on a mug as this will allow you to remove the outer ring of the pan easily. Using a fish slice or palette knife, you can then gently manoeuvre it on to a serving plate or cutting board.

Cheddar and Rosemary Sables

Rosemary and Cheddar Sables

I have millions (well, maybe not quite) of recipes tagged in delicious and every now and then I make a concerted effort to actually cook one of these recipes. I recently discovered I have over 100 chocolate cake recipes tagged so you can expect to see a flood of those in the near(ish) future.

With the festive season well and truly upon us I’ve been doing quite a lot of party cooking and trying out a few new things. One recipe that seemed both simple and savoury (for some reason, not everyone wants a party full of desserts) was a recipe for thyme and emmental sablés (recipe in French). As I had Gruyère in the fridge I thought this would be the go.

Of course, when I came to make these, I discovered the Gruyère had been eaten but I still had some reasonably good Cheddar hanging around and rosemary, well, it grows like a weed in our garden and Cheddar and rosemary sounded like a good match.

These are super easy biscuits to make but as you do need to keep the pastry cold, don’t decide to make them on a 36°C day!

Take 80g of Cheddar and coarsely grate it into your trusty food processor. Add 60g of unsalted butter, 100g of plain flour, 1 egg yolk, a pinch of pepper (if you can use white, then all the better) and one sprig of rosemary, finely chopped. Give it a quick whizz up and then add a little cold water to bring it all together. The recipe states 5cL of water and I always get really muddled with French fluid measurements. I actually thought it meant 500mL of water (which I knew would be ridiculous) but a bit of investigation shows that it is actually 50mL which is much, much closer the mark. You don’t need very much at all.

Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for about an hour and a half. As I was on a schedule I didn’t have the luxury of that long a rest and things still turned out OK.

Preheat your oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan).

Roll the dough out to very thin – let’s say no more than about 5mm. Work fast: you may need to cut off chunks of pastry and keep the remainder in the fridge as you go along. Cut out the biscuits, place on baking trays and bake for 10-15 minutes. You can see from the photo that you want them to puff up and cook but you don’t want them to start taking on too much colour.

Allow to cool on a rack before serving. They’re perfect as a pre-dinner drink snack, but they’d also be great after dinner with more cheese.

And you could even try making them as Emmental and thyme …

Simple Pork Terrine


I made this terrine ages ago now and it’s taken me a long time to get around to writing it because I suspect this is going to be quite a lot of effort. Which is surprising, because making the terrine was actually very easy. When the title says “simple” I do mean it. Before this, I’d never made a terrine so I was a little apprehensive (especially as I was making it for a dinner party, so there was very little wriggle room!) but it turns out that this is perfect party food.

There are a couple of great things about terrine. Firstly, you have to make it in advance – thus guaranteeing that on the day of whatever event it is, you won’t be flapping around, trying to whip something up last minute. The finished product looks impressive and is easy to serve. And because terrines are so meaty and dense, unless you are entertaining a horde, you are more than likely to have leftovers for snacks and lunches. They are also relatively cheap.

This recipe is from Damien Pignolet’s French. Now with some terrine making expertise under my belt, I do feel that this is the type of dish that, with a little experience and commonsense, you can really make up as circumstances dictate.

You do really need some specialist kit though: a terrine dish (for this terrine, approximately 1.5L in capacity). And if your oven has a built in meat thermometer … well, even better.

The first thing to do is to place an order with your butcher. You will need: 12 rashers of bacon (if you can get streaky, so much the better), 400g pork shoulder, coarsely minced, 300g chicken mince, 300g pork back fat, coarsely minced, and 200g chicken livers.

Preheat the oven to 160°C and line the terrine dish with the bacon, making sure that it hangs over the sides (when you’ve filled the terrine dish you’re going to fold the bacon over the top). You don’t need to grease or oil the terrine dish in any way: the bacon and the terrine filling both provide plenty of fat!

To make the filling, combine your meats (roughly chop the chicken livers first!) and add about half a cup of cooked, chopped spinach. If you use frozen spinach for this you’ll save yourself a lot of time and hassle. You want to defrost and cook it off in a fry pan to get rid of the excess water: job done. Add 1 clove of finely chopped garlic, plenty of black pepper (ground), 50mL of Cognac (or Armagnac or brandy), ½ cup of chopped parsley, 4 sage leaves, finely chopped, and the leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh thyme.

And if there is ever a time to suck up the exorbitant cost of fresh herbs in the supermarket … it is now. Really, do not go substituting dried ones. You won’t have a good idea of the balance of flavours until it’s too late and the long, slow cook that the meat is about to enjoy really means you need to choose fresh.

Next you need to mix through ½ tsp of quatre épices. This is a blend of equal parts of white pepper, nutmeg, ground ginger and ground cloves. If you’re confident you’ll use this a lot, go ahead and make up a decent quantity. However, I knew that if I did that I’d have yet another jar in my spice drawer that would sit there … and sit there … and sit there. So I very much guestimated this one …

And finally you need to add the salt. Now don’t be scared here … you need 18g per kilo of meat. DON’T skimp on this. DO NOT skimp on this. Get the idea? Yes, it looks like a ton of salt but really, you do need to add it!

Once your meat mix is made up you need to leave it in the fridge, marinating, for at least a couple of hours. I left mine overnight.

When you’re ready to start assembling the terrine, remove the mix from the fridge, allow it to come up to room temperature (or thereabouts) and fry off a little in a fry pan. You eat this. Not for fun, but so you can check on the seasoning. Once you’re happy with the seasoning, start spooning the meat mix into the terrine dish.

Press the mix down firmly and make sure you push it out to the edges of the dish – you want to pack in as much as possible. In my case, I had quite a bit of meat mix left over – it works well fried up for breakfast.

When you’ve filled the terrine dish with the meat, place a rasher or two of bacon across the top of the terrine dish & fold over the bacon you left hanging over the edge.

Cover with the terrine lid (or use tin foil) and place in a roasting dish half filled with water (you want the water to come half way up the terrine dish) and bake in a 160°C oven for an hour. Then reduce the temperature to 140°C and cook until the juices run clear or the internal temperature hits 70-72°C. This is where an oven with a meat probe comes in handy: it gives you a good idea of how things are going. But this will take at least another hour. Remember you are dealing with a very dense meat mixture!

When the cooking has finished, remove from the oven and the water bath, remove the lid and cover with some baking paper before weighting the terrine. I used tins from the cupboard for this. Allow to cool with the weights in place. Once cool, refrigerate overnight.

See – you do need to begin this in advance!

When you’re ready to serve, remove from the fridge a few hours in advance, run a knife around the edges of the terrine and upend the terrine dish on the serving platter. You’re unlikely to get lucky and have it come out straight away. But don’t worry – leave the terrine dish upended and over time the fat will warm up and eventually the terrine will just fall out. All you need to do is leave it alone.

Serve by slicing into fine or generous portions, with good bread, and plenty of pickle. We used a green tomato pickle, but your favourite will work well!

And to drink? Well, we opted for a Grüner Veltiner, but a dry Riesling would also work a treat.