23 September 2009

Spinach Quiche Recipe

It seems Melbourne has decided it is winter again, to my great happiness! So to celebrate I decided to make one of my favourite meals - a delicious spinach and cheese quiche.

There are so many different variations of quiche, so if you are not very keen on spinach, simply substitute it for a filling of your choice, such as bacon and onion (the traditional quiche Lorraine), leek and feta, salmon and dill, chicken and asparagus and so on.

Serve it with a salad - I'll be posting up our spinach, roasted pine nut and feta salad shortly - or even just some deliciously ripe sliced tomatoes, lightly seasoned with some salt and pepper, which is a perfect contrast to the toasty warm quiche.

You will need:
  • 4 large eggs (Sometimes I use 5 to be safe)
  • 1 1/4 cups of grated cheese
  • 250g frozen spinach - defrosted and the water squeezed out
  • 1 1/2 sheets of puff pastry - defrosted
  • Butter
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • Salt and pepper
Butter a quiche dish if you have one, or just any sort of round cake tin if you do not. Place the sheets of puff pastry into the dish and fold the edges down so they are about even with the top of the dish.

Whisk the eggs together in a bowl and add a pinch of salt and a little pepper, along with the milk.

Sprinkle your cheese into the quiche dish and pour the egg and milk mixture on top. Sprinkle the spinach on top of this, and you are done!

Cook for about 50-60 mins on 180 degrees C and then serve.

Eat and be merry!

This makes enough for 4 large slices of quiche.

For a mini version, I use a cupcake pan and go through the same process as above, although they take less time to cook - normally 20 mins.

18 September 2009

Oliebollen - Dutch Deliciousness

This is a family recipe, as my family is from The Netherlands. I have grown up with these lovely balls of deliciousness, almost like a doughnut, but without the hole, dusted with a generous amount of icing sugar and served toasty warm.

I like the version with a little slice of apple inside, which can allow you to feel slightly healthy, but really I think it is just a delicious combination of flavours. Others prefer them with raisins (which I detest with a passion), and others still prefer theirs plain.

Traditionally these are served on New Years Eve (although you can enjoy them all year around, if you keep it on the downlow). My mother told me how the entire house was requested to tiptoe carefully around and not speak too loudly for at least 6 hours when my grandmother used to cook these many years ago... so as not to upset the olieballen and have them not rise properly. This resulted in my mother being too scared to cook them for many years, however we did make them not that long ago, and it was a huge success, although the house was strangely quite for a couple of hours and I was requested not to close the doors too loudly...

You will need:
  • 1 kg flour
  • 50 gm of compressed yeast or 3 sachets of 7gm dry yeast
  • 950 ml warm (not hot) milk
  • 1 rind of lemon zest (finely grated)
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
Mix the dry ingredients together and then add the milk and the chopped apples. Mix with your hands. The consistency should not be too stiff.

Cover the bowl/container with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for a couple of hours.

When the mixture has risen, heat some oil (enough to submerge the oliebollen into) to about 180 degrees celsius and start frying amounts in the oil - it is up to you if you want little oliebollen or slightly larger ones - about a tablespoon full at least.

The oliebollen should rise to the surface when ready, and they should also flip over quite cutely by themselves, but if not, just turn them over.

Once cooked, pop onto a plate with some paper towelling to remove access oil.

Then serve sprinkled with icing sugar, or even cinnamon sugar if you prefer. And for a little Aussie twist, have it with some golden syrup! (First tried by my mothers partner one night, and it tasted very very nice. After we had gotten over the shock of course!)

Enjoy and eat many! They are too delicious just to have one or two of.


14 September 2009

Kladdkaka - Swedish Chocolate Cake

I first experienced the delicious chocolaty Swedish dessert Kladdkaka when I stayed at a friends place on the beautiful little island of Visingsö in lake Vättern in Sweden.

Visingsö on a beautiful wintery day

Luckily, I have been given permission to use the recipe so I am posting it here for you all to enjoy. It is currently written of a little piece of paper and stuck into my Ikea cookbook, so it is probably good I am posting it here so I don't end up loosing it one day.

This cake is quite dense, thin, moist and a little sticky, not to mention very delicious and very simple to make.

You will need:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • A pinch of salt
  • 115g butter (melted)
  • 40g coco
  • 265 g sugar (about 1 and 1/3 cups)
  • Half a cup of plain flour
Preheat the over to 180 degrees celsius and butter the sides of a round pan. Mine is about 20cm.

Whisk the eggs then add in the sifted flour, salt and vanilla essence.

Melt the butter and then add the coco and sugar to it. Combine the two bowls of mixture together and then place into the pan and then into the oven.

Cook for about 25 - 30 mins. Remember the cake is supposed to be a bit sticky so be careful not to overcook it.

Serve with some cream and berries and enjoy!


8 September 2009

Gehaktballen (Dutch Meatballs) and Stamppot

This is a delicious family recipe for gehaktballen, which are Dutch meatballs and stamppot, which I make using potatoes and spinach. I grew up having this from my mother and grandmother, and it is quite a simple to make, very tasty, traditional Dutch dish (And quite healthy too!). Just the thing to have on a cold winter's night.

Dutch food (sadly) has a reputation for being a little boring and bland, but I am here to prove this silly theory wrong. Dutch food may not have the decadent reputation of French food, but it can still be sexy! Once you have tried this recipe I am sure you will also agree with me.

You will need:
This will make enough for 4 people (or 2 very hungry people).
  • 500 g minced beef
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2 cubes of beef stock or 2 teaspoons of beef stock power
  • 1 egg
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 6 large potatoes
  • Butter
  • 1 - 2 packets of spinach (250g) depending on how spinachy you would like the stamppot
Simply add the minced beef, diced onion and egg into a bowl, crushing the 2 cubes of beef stock over the top, as well as half a cup of breadcrumbs. Combine using your hands until all the ingredients are mixed together. If the mixture is still a little wet, add in more breadcrumbs.

Roll the meat into medium sized balls and place in the fridge for 30 mins or so.

Peel the potatoes and boil them until cooked. Mash them with some milk, salt and butter and then add in the spinach. I used a packet of frozen spinach so I just microwaved it but if you are using fresh spinach then chop it up, boil it, and then add it to the potatoes. Mix well together and warm up again on the stove just before you serve.

Then simply fry your meatballs in a frying pan with a good splash of oil and make some gravy to go with it. I used gravy powder with some boiled water added it to. My grandmother used to cook the meatballs slowly over a couple of hours in the gravy, however I do not have that level of patience for meatballs, so I fry them fairly quickly. There are pros and cons - pros for a quick cook are that the outsides of the meatballs and deliciously crisp and crunchy. Pros to slow cooked meatballs are that they are incredibly tender inside. Choose your own destiny!

I was always taught to make a little mound of stamppot on the place first, and then make a well in which to place the meatballs and gravy.

Serve with some apple sauce and a bit of mayonnaise. Yum!!
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