“Gourmet Challenge” Quiche

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When my children were tiny and right up to their teens, we often spend the summer in our family hideaway on the Sierra Tramuntana on the isle of Mallorca. Here, for the blissful weeks of summer, we would live and eat simply.  What’s lovely is that over the years, many friends joined us at Melcion and the love grows.

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Photo: my father and my son Jack.

One of our favourite family games at Melcion is Gourmet Challenge. The premise of the game is very simple: you have to rustle up a gourmet feast just from the ingredients you can find around the house and the garden.

The idea is quite simply Waste Not, Want Not. I abhor gratuitous trips to the supermarkets just to pick up one or two missing ingredients – what a waste of petrol, what a waste of time and what a waste of money, because you always end up buying more than what you set out for.

And the best thing about a Gourmet Challenge is you never really know what you’re going to get, and it is fun!

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Photo: my little gourmets.

So, on this rainy day, I made a “Gourmet Challenge” Quiche. I found an old bag of spinach in my freezer that had been thawed and refrozen so many times, a leek (slightly off), two tomatoes and half an onion. I had the usual staples in my house – milk, cream, cheese, butter, eggs, garlic.  I even made the pastry from scratch!

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C/350 deg F.

For the pastry:

  • 100g unsalted butter, straight out of the fridge
  • 200g flour, sifted
  • 6 tablespoon cold water.

Cut the cold, hard butter into small cubes (save the wrapper for greasing the flan tin).  Rub the butter and the flour until they resemble breadcrumbs.

Add the water. Knead the dough, but not excessively, because you are not making bread! Shape into a ball, wrap the dough in beeswax wrap (or cling film, if you don’t have it) and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Grease the flan tin with the butter wrapper. Lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough.  Line the greased flan tin with the dough. It doesn’t matter if your dough crumbles – you can see from this photo that mine didn’t come away neatly in one large piece and I had to patch it up!

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It is highly recommended that you pre-bake the flan before adding in the filling, but I didn’t. If you wish to do things by the book, here’s how (as my mother would):

Line the pastry with foil and weigh down with baking beads or beans. Place the tin on a baking tray, then pop in the hot oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove the beans and the foil, then return to the oven for a further 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden.

For the filling:

Here’s the thing: baked cheese tastes good, no matter what.  This quiche that I made was especially yummy because I crumbled garlic Boursin into it (such decadence).

  • 3 large, organic eggs
  • 50g grated cheddar
  • 1/4 a garlic Boursin
  • 6 tablespoon creme fraiche
  • Approximately 50ml cooking cream
  • Salt and pepper

Mix all together until you have a thick slurry – adjust the volume of cooking cream used. Season generously.

These are the possible vegetable filling for your Gourmet Challenge Quiche (only the first four ingredients are important, the others are up to you):

  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • One red onion, sliced
  • Half a bunch of thyme
  • Few rashers of bacon
  • Frozen spinach, thawed, and water squeezed out
  • Leeks, sliced

Saute the garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Add the rest and continue to saute until thoroughly coated with the garlic-olive oil. Pour this into the prepared flan dish and finally, pour in the cream-egg-cheese slurry.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the filling is almost set. Leave to cool slightly, then carefully remove the flan tin. Delicious either hot or cold, and lasts for a couple of days in the fridge….enjoy 🙂

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My cookbook, The Ca’n Melcion Cookbook which chronicles the food of those magical summers, is available on Amazon. Click on this link for a free preview.

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Super Bees food wrap – the Beeginner’s set

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Start your plastic-free life with this starter kit. Learn how to use each SuperBee’s Wax Wrap for many items in your kitchen and home. Includes 3 different sized beeswax wraps in pretty patterns.

Handmade from:

  • 100% Cotton
  • Beeswax
  • Tree Resin
  • Organic Coconut Oil

Quantity & Size:

  • 1 x 20 cm x 20 cm (7.9 in x 7.9 in)
  • 1 x 26 cm x 26 cm (10.2 in x 10.2 in)
  • 1 x 33 cm x 33 cm (13 in x 13 in)

To order, please visit their website: and please do mention us!

Domestic food waste

It seems that almost all the focus is on plastic because the numbers are glaring: it takes hundreds of years to biodegrade, millions of tons end up in the oceans, all the plastic that has ever been made is still here on earth.

But domestic food waste is another issue that should be on our radar….wait a minute, don’t fruit peelings and vegetable stubs decompose? They’re organic matter, right?

Yes, they do decompose in landfills, but not in a good way as they release methane, which is a greenhouse warming gas (whether you subscribe to the theory of greenhouse warming or not, the fact is that rotting food is clogging up the landfills).

Today, my domestic waste weighs a whopping 5.8 kilograms, and that’s average for this family of three (because we eat lots of fresh stuff, I make every dish up from scratch and I rarely ever buy ready-made-meals). That’s heck a lot of rubbish for the already over-flowing dump!

But I don’t have a garden at the moment, and just throwing food scraps (even if it is just green) will attract rodents.  So making a food composter might be my next project….it looks simple enough (from this excellent youtube video).

Please follow us here (by clicking on the “Follow” icon on the page) or in Facebook. We will keep you up to date in the coming months on the home-made composter as well as other interesting things! Thank you!

Note: Here’s an idea for reducing food scraps – I use them to make delicious and nutritious broth. Please click on this link to read more. We will be adding Leftover Recipes here soon!

 

Quick Burger PHUKET

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One of my favourite lunch and after-school early dinner places is Quick Burger in Kathu, which is conveniently located 12 minutes from the school. The proprietors, Tai Fuun and Gilles are charming hosts and they do not mind you sitting in their sweet little space watching life go by (free wifi, too).

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And here’s the thing: the prices here are jaw-droppingly cheap!

The bacon salad (seen in the main photo) is THB110, and is served in a wooden salad bowl like the ones you would use to make up salad for the whole family. The homemade burgers (with crispy skinny chips) start at THB79, and Gilles would throw in a surprise drink with your burger.

And being a burger aficionado myself, I know a good burger when I taste one. They are all homemade too – one afternoon, I chanced upon poor Tai Fuun chopping 20kgs of onions for the burgers. I just love the personal, homely feel of this place.

The spaghetti is pretty good as well!

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But what are this restaurant’s green credentials, I hear you ask.

Off chance, I complimented Gilles on not giving out plastic straws automatically with the drinks and he burst into an impassioned speech about how much he dislikes mindless waste. “But some customers complain because I don’t give them straws!” He says. Because they don’t want to get their lipstick on the glass, or ice cubes in their mouths!

The menu is written on a piece of wood:

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I asked for permission to have a quick nose around the tiny kitchen. Apart from being spankingly clean and orderly (Gilles is Belgian), I was pleasantly surprised to note that they use environmentally-friendly packaging for their take-away orders.  These paper are made from banana leaves and brown paper. And instead of dreadful polystyrene lunch boxes that are endemic in Phuket, Quick Burger uses the environmentally-friendly cardboard version, though they add a THB5 to the price to cover the costs.

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Photo: waxy paper from banana leaves (note the wooden plates and brown paper bags).

Your food will be delivered by one of the guys. They have a small motorbike and they cater for parties too. Please contact Tai Fuun on 0994073746 or Gilles on 0943178111 for deliveries. You can find them easily on the main road to Kathu. This is their listing where you can get the address from. This is Quick Burger’s Facebook page.

Customer Review

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A small, pleasant place to eat in the centre of Kathu. Good food, freshly prepared by friendly owners who make you feel welcome. Not only burgers on offer but other dishes as well. Their chicken burger is delicious and the best value in the whole area.

~ Alan Thatcher, Phuket resident

Kinsook Happy Eating PHUKET

 

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The first place the Simple Green Planet duo visited was Kinsook Happy Eating at the foot of Rong Hill.

Tucked away in a row of shop houses, this sweet little cafe is owned and run by a young Taiwanese lady by the name of Kinsook.  The food is slightly different from the standard Thai fare and the dish of the day is charmingly written on the blackboard.

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The cafe also carries a small range of environmentally friendly products.

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This is Kinsook’s Facebook page.