A most powerful food-memory for me involves quiche. Nana Jean was renowned in our family for producing a pastry-less quiche that was tall, rich and loaded with flavour. The quiche was a cheery yellow from eggs and cheese, speckled with pink bacon pieces and streaked with green and red from strips of vegetables. As a child I would sit next to Nana at the dark-brown wooden veneer table that magically extended from a mere square to a long, grand rectangle. Unfortunately, having to seat seven people would mean I was propped up with a table leg squashing something or other for the duration of lunch. Nonetheless, I recall how fun it was to be sitting next to short-stature Nana. Thinking of quiche brings forth memories of how her high-spirited laugh would bubble over, like a big, warm verbal hug.
Lunch was known as ‘dinner’ at my grandparents’ house. To this day I hold firm that calling anything ‘dinner’ (be it lunch, or tea-time) the epitome of elegance. I guess we all hold some cherished sayings in naïve esteem. I love it.
I would eat the quiche with tomato sauce and a dressed iceberg and egg salad. That dressing will have to be saved for another post, friends. It is a treasured family inheritance.
And so, when my incredibly thoughtful boyfriend (unbeknownst to me) delivered a care package brimming with his own grandmother’s home-grown zucchini, beans, roma tomatoes and cucumbers I slipped into visions of a beautiful quiche. And, as is so often the way of things with my boy and me, in his own home on the other side of Melbourne he baked his own pastry-less quiche, sent me the photo and subsequently unintentionally further inspired me to make my own. We must be operating on the same kind of culinary mental wavelength, don’t you think?
My family does not use Nana Jean’s quiche recipe any longer. We did, but have found a shorter, easier and less expensive version that tastes very similar. Surely that is how family food traditions evolve, from one recipe to another. Jean’s recipe stirred in Greek yoghurt and, wait for it, Roba pastry mix! Yes, a pastry-less quiche simply incorporated the pastry in the quiche itself. As a result, baking the rich quiche would take a certain knack. You couldn’t overload it with too many additional ingredients, else it wouldn’t set. Truth be told, Nana Jean’s quiche is not perfectly replicated by our new recipe. Hers had a tanginess imbued by the yoghurt, and a strident sponginess that would rebound to the touch from the pastry mix.
But this quiche is different. Lighter and flatter. Less guesswork.
The ‘parent’ recipe comes from the Country Women’s Association cook book. This one, here. A quiche Lorraine. I adapted the typical egg, cheese and bacon Lorraine recipe to incorporate the beautiful young gifted zucchini. And carrots, and parmesan cheese. Oh, and I didn’t have bacon. Never fear, it turned out exceedingly well.
I baked some more of my signature bread to have alongside for a picnic. For with the bread I packed butter and one of the roma tomatoes. I also bottled up some honey (a light, flowery lucerne honey I happened upon at a farmers market) in an old cinnamon glass jar. I have many cinnamon glass jars, as you may expect as a cinnamon addict (discussed more, with a recipe for cinnamon cakes, here). And, out of sake for nostalgia, I bottled up some tomato sauce in an old allspice jar. The quiche didn’t need it, probably because my tastes have matured, surpassing sweet, pungent tomato sauce a while ago!
Perfect for a picnic. Especially those shared with birds.
Happy cooking, friends.
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1 ¼ cup milk
½ cup SR flour
½ large brown onion, diced
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 210oC. Mix ingredients together and pour into a lined (and greased, if desired/needed) quiche dish. Alternatively, if you would like a psycadelic pattern like mine, simply mix all ingredients save the carrot and zucchini. Pour the yellow gooey mix into the baking dish before artfully draping the grated vegies on top. Push the vegies into the mix, letting the eggy goo surround the slippery shards.
Bake for 40 minutes. This will sink slightly when cool.