Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ham, Leek and Cheddar Quiche

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here. 


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I made a savoury bake, Ham, Leek and Cheddar Quiche from my selected cookbook for this month, at Cookbook Countdown #6Williams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw.

According to the author, "Quiche is one of the most versatile dishes you can make. It can be varied with the seasons; accomodate a spectrum of cheeses, vegetables, and meats; and be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This is one of my all-time favourite quiche combinations."

Quiche is a favourite in my house, and I have made many versions of quiches, with different meats and vegetables. When I saw the photo of this recipe in the book, I knew that I will have to give this a try sooner or later! I like how the long slices of leeks arranged over the top, sprinkled with cheese and bake to a golden delicious colour.


Long slices of leeks sauteed in butter, is arranged on top of the filling.


The crust is pretty easy to handle. I've used a rectangular tart pan with dimensions 8x12-inch. The flaky pie dough in the recipe is for a single 9" round crust. So I have made one and a half recipe for both the dough and the filling to fit my pan. Follow the usual steps for making the crust dough as instructed in the recipe, and the steps for blind-bake.

The filling is made by sauteing the sliced leeks until wilted and the diced ham is added in. An extra leek is sliced lengthwise and then saute in butter until wilted. In a large glass measuring jug, whisk the eggs, milk, sour cream, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Scatter the leek and ham mixture onto the prepared crust, pour in the milk mixture, then arrange the long leek slices, followed with the sprinkling of cheese over the top. I have used Cheddar cheese as Gruyere cheese is not easy to find over here. Bake for about 30 minutes until the top is golden.


Sprinkle some Cheddar cheese over the top. 


 Freshly baked and smells good!



Delicious quiche! Really nice when eaten warm, with a few slices of cucumbers and tomatoes. This would be great for lunch and even dinner with some other side salad. Just as the author says, it is the most versatile dish, for any meal of the day.


Ham, Leek, And Cheddar Quiche
(adapted from "Williams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort", Kim Laidlaw)
makes one 9-inch (25-cm) quiche
Flaky pie dough for single crust *
1 small leek, white and pale green parts
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 thick slice Block Forest Ham, about 6 oz (185gm) diced
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (4 floz/125ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (4 floz/125ml) creme fraiche or sour cream
Heaping 1/2 cup (2oz/60gm) shredded Gruyere cheese

Prepare the pie dough and chill as directed. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into an 11-inch (28-cm) round about 1/8-inch (3mm) thick. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and ease it to a 9-inch (23-cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, then fold over the edge over on itself and press together. Put the pan in the freezer and chill for about 15 minutes. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400F (200C).

Prick the bottom of the pie shell with a fork, then line with foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the crust is set but not browned, about 12 minutes. Remove the foil and weights. Prick any bubbles with a fork. Continue to bake until the crust is firm and very lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack. Position the rack in the upper third of the oven and reduce the temperature to 375F (190C).

While the crust is baking, quarter the leek lengthwise and slice; you should have about 1 cup (4oz/125gm). In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leek and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks starts to brown and becomes tender, about 3 minutes. Toss the diced ham into the pan, stir to combine with the leek, and remove from the heat.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, creme fraiche, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Scatter the ham and leeks evenly over the crust, pour in the egg mixture, and sprinkle the cheese on top. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the quiche is puffed and lightly golden and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. If you like, slide the quiche under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top a bit more. Let the quiche stand on the wire rack for about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Baker's Note :
To give this quiche a special flourish, buy an extra leek, preferably a small one. Thinly slice the white and pale green parts lengthwise, and saute them in butter until wilted. Lay the long leek slices on top of the quiche before you sprinkle it with cheese and bake.


Flaky Pie Dough : Single Crust (makes enough for one 9-inch (23cm) pie or tart
1-1/4 cups (6-1/2oz/200gm) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
7 tbsp (3-1/2 oz/105gm) very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
5 tbsp (3 fl oz/80ml) ice water, plus more if needed

In the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour and salt. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken up into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together. Dump the dough into a large lock-top plastic bag, and press into a flat disk. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or up to 1 day, or freeze for up to 1 month.


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 




Friday, June 24, 2016

Cleansing Cranberry, Orange and Peppermint Tea

It's "Fresh & Fruity" at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) this week. We are currently cooking with Curtis Stone, and he has tons of recipes using fruits, so selecting a fruity recipe is not much of a problem. I have a stack of Curtis Stone's recipes which I've printed from coles.com a few months ago, before their recipes became unavailable online. This is one of them, Cleansing Cranberry, Orange and Jasmine Tea.


The ingredients to make the cleansing tea ; oranges, dried cranberries and peppermint tea bag. Originally, recipe uses jasmine tea bag, but I did not have any. However, I do have a few other flavours and chose Peppermint Herb, which I thought would be nice with the orange juice.

I made half a recipe as I'm making it for myself. I used two oranges which are squeezed for the juice, which yield almost 3/4 cup, as they are quite big and very juicy. Put everything in a small pot, along with a cup of water, bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let cool. Strain before serving.



This is quite delightful! Even though there is no sugar at all, it has a hint of sweetness from the dried cranberries and the sweet orange juice. Very nice. I rewarm the tea as I prefer drinking it warm. I was thinking of adding a cinnamon stick or maybe sub the orange juice with apple juice the next time. 


Cleansing Cranberry, Orange and Jasmine Tea
(adapted from coles, Curtis Stone)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1-1/2 cups orange juice
2 jasmine tea bags
2 cups water

  1. Place a pot on medium heat and add the dried cranberries, orange juice, tea bags and water, and bring to a simmer.
  2. Take the tea off the heat, allow to cool and then strain and pour into a jug.
  3. When serving, add some orange rind.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
Fresh & Fruity


Monday, June 20, 2016

Chocolate-Bourbon Bundt Cake : Cookbook Countdown #6

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here. 


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I made this boozy moist chocolaty cake, Chocolate-Bourbon Bundt Cake, for Father's Day. Another fabulous recipe from my selected cookbook for this month, at Cookbook Countdown #6Williams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw.



Made only half a recipe and used my half-sized bundt pan with a 6-cup capacity. I've reduced the sugar slightly, using scant 3/4 cup and for the bourbon, 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon. For half a recipe, I've baked the cake for 35 minutes.

As for the glaze, I find that when left to room temperature (as instructed in the recipe), it has thickened considerably and quite impossible to pour over the cake. I have therefore stirred in more cream, a little cream at a time, until I get the consistency I want.



This cake is delicious. It is moist, chocolaty bitter, though in a delicious way. And I can definitely taste the bourbon in it, very, very nice! Top with the chocolate glaze, this makes a wonderful cake for any celebration, though, with the amount of bourbon used, definitely not for young kids! Served with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream, this is a divine dessert treat! As with cakes like this, the taste gets even better the next day.  


Chocolate-Bourbon Bundt Cake
(adapted from "Williams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort", by Kim Laidlaw)
1 cup (8oz/250gm) unsalted butter
4 oz (125gm) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1-1/2oz/45gm) natural cocoa powder
2 cups (10oz/315gm) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs
2 cups (1lb/500gm) granulated sugar
1 cup (8oz/250gm) sour cream
3/4 cup (6floz/180ml) bourbon
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the dark chocolate glaze :
1/4 cup (2fl oz/60ml) heavy cream
4 oz (125gm) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F (180C). Butter and flour a 10-cup (2-1/2qt/2.5-l) Bundt pan.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring with a whisk. Add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Let cool.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and sugar on medium speed until lightened. Stir in the sour cream, bourbon, vanilla, and cooled chocolate mixture on low speed. Stir in the dry ingredients just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then unmould the cake onto the rack and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, warm the cream over low heat. Add the chocolate and corn syrup and stir with a whisk until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in the vanilla. Place the wire rack over a sheet of parchment paper or foil and pour the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it run down the sides. Slide the cake onto a serving platter. Serve thick slices with ice cream or whipped cream.



I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 




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