Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Mini quiches and a roasted red pasta sauce

My food posts are few and far between. I know that. It's because my kitchen and I are not on very good terms at the moment. There's the fish tank, the new compost bucket, water cask, all the dirty dishes (yes, they certainly are a permanent feature around here) and everything else that gets dumped on the kitchen bench (if we don't know where something goes, or we just can't be bothered to put it away, guess where it ends up?).

So funnily enough, I don't feel inspired to cook there. I'm looking at it now and I can just about fit an A4 piece of paper in the space available. It drives me wild.

One day, I'll have a kitchen big enough so that when I'm rolling pastry out, half of it isn't dangling off the bench top. One day...

Anyway, I realised last night that I hadn't made any bread (see above for reason why), and the boys need a packed lunch today, so I decided to make some mini leek and cheese quiches in my A4-size workspace.

I whisked out some butter puff pastry sheets from the freezer and while they thawed, I softened a couple of leeks in some butter. No real recipe here. Sound familiar?

Three or four eggs in a bowl, beaten with a small tub of crème fraîche, a dash of milk, a sprinkling of nutmeg and salt and pepper. Plus a handful of grated cheese (I used a mixture of cheddar and parmesan). I probably didn't need the extra milk, but Mum always adds milk, so I do.

I pretended to leave the leeks to cool, then I mixed them into the eggy cheesy cream. Squares of the butter puff went into a muffin tray, followed by spoonfuls of the filling. I didn't half fill them, or put the tray in the oven and fill them to the top. Instead, because I think I know best, I wobbled over to the oven, and the mixture leaked out and caught some of the pastry.

Still, they look good. And I've just had one for morning tea.

I popped some cherry tomato quarters on top and baked them for around 15 mins at 180-200C. (Honestly, though, I just cooked them until they looked ready.)

Something else I did a while ago was a roasted red pepper (capsicum) and tomato sauce for pasta. I get so bored with Kian spitting things out and working out what he'll eat. He can't just survive on bananas and sultanas, so I often to resort to a good old purée.

I roasted whole garlic cloves (in their skin), red onion and red pepper (capsicum) with olive oil and a bit of seasoning for about 20 minutes in a hottish oven. (Don't you love how vague I am?!)**. I added the tomatoes towards the end, just so they soften and before they start to char.

Then I blitzed the whole lot with a stick blender (take the squishy garlic out of their skins first). A nice dollop of crème fraîche makes it deliciously creamy, and I know the flavours would be too intense without it for my little ones...

One more idea for your posse... I made some falafels for dinner one evening and served it with some tahini sauce, which I've never made for the boys before. Tahini made from unhulled sesame seeds is very good for you (yes, I know that's very erudite of me, but... well, I've never really been interested in how much calcium or magnesium something has.)

Anyway, it tastes good and it's rich in nutrients.

I made the tahini sauce by mixing a little tahini into some yoghurt along with a good squeeze of lemon. Add a little to start with and keep tasting. 

The boys loved it, especially for dipping their sweet potato wedges.

** I'm not being deliberately vague. This is largely how I cook. There are lots of badly written recipes out there; recipes that set out to give you all the information but end up letting you down somehow. I'm not setting out to give you precise measurements and timings. I'm just cooking for my family, and I'm telling you about it. It's meant to inspire. Because I like to be inspired too. 


  1. Yum yum yum yum! You cook the way I cook - "put it in the oven till it's done..."

  2. Delicious! That pasta sauce sounds scumptious as do the tarts. Our kitchen bench is the central dumping ground here too :)


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