Real men don’t always eat quiche out of choice.

Quiche doesn’t quite fit the category of ‘boy food’.

I’m not sure if it’s the gentle crumble of the crust, or the slight wobble of the eggy centre- But there is something quite estrogen tainted about a piece of quiche and a side salad.

Sadly, in the last couple of years quiche has fallen from my mental lazy susan. When I was much younger a big wedge of it was always my ‘go to’ dish in any shopping centre food court. A whack of microwaved pastry, filled with a lardons and egg, with wedges of under-ripe tomato and some cos lettuce would fuel me for a full afternoon of walking wistfully past ear piercing salons, watching other tweens get holes punched in their extremities.

I think I stopped ordering quiche when I looked closely at what’s in one. Butter, eggs, cream, white flour and cheese.

All good things.

But one weeknight, when I looked in the fridge and all I saw were the dregs and dangles from other meals, quiche called to me.

I had staples of butter, flour, eggs and cream on hand. Then there was a round little post of goats cheese left from my lunch. There was some leafy kale lurking in the crisper that didn’t quite get finished by the champ and sausages on Saturday night.  In the pantry there was a brown onion playing hooky. And in the fruit bowl there was a depressed apple.

These can be friends, I thought.

And so The Hungry One came home to the smell of pastry cooking and a ‘Meatless Monday’ of apple, goats cheese and kale quiche, with a very large green salad on the side.

So now I’ve discovered; real men don’t eat slices of quiche. They eat 3/4 of one.

Goat cheese apple and kale quiche.

(Nb, don’t be put off by the apple- it brings out the sweetness in the kale and cooks down to the same texture of onion. The Hungry One didn’t even notice it was there until I quizzed him on it).

Serves 4 -6 ladies with a salad for lunch. Or one Hungry One and his less hungry wife for dinner.

Shopping/ foraging

Pastry:
175 grams of plain flour
Teaspoon of salt
75 grams of butter
Ice cold water
An egg yolk for egg washing.

Filling:
5 eggs, beaten
100 ml of milk
200 ml of double cream
2 and a half cups of uncooked kale (or silverbeet)
1 apple
Half a cup of apple juice
Half a log of goats cheese (more if you like it particularly cheesey)
A handful of shaved parmesan, or mozzarella
Grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Equipment:

Rolling pin, fluted removable base quiche dish, rice or beans for blind baking the pastry.

Here’s how we roll:

It’s worth having a bit of time up your sleeve to make the pastry. It does need to rest, which means there’s a couple of good windows of time to go and put a load of washing, or some emails etc.

1. Keep the butter cold and cut it into little cubes (smaller than dice, if you can). Using only the tips of your fingers (which you’ve rinsed under very cold water), rub the butter into the flour until it’s like breadcrumbs, or lame English sand. Dribble in a little bit of very cold water and gently knead it into a ball. Wrap it up in greaseproof paper, or clingfilm and put it in the fridge to rest for half an hour.

2. Start making the filling of the quiche. Cut a brown onion into half moons. Saute it in a pot with a splash of olive oil until the onion is translucent.

3.  Cut the kale or the silverbeet into rough chaff, a little like coleslaw.  Peel the apple into skinny slices- like you’d see on the top of a french apple tart. Add the greens and the apple to the pot. Sautee around for a minute. Then add the half a cup of apple juice and clamp a lid on so the greens wilt down into submission.

4. Back to the pastry. Roll out the pastry on a surface that you’ve lightly floured until it’s big enough to line a  22cm quiche dish. Gently push the pastry down into all the corners and crevices. Keep a little bit of the pastry aside to patch holes.  Don’t cut off the edges- let them hang out over the edge. Put it back in the fridge again.

5. Preheat the oven to 190C.  Now it’s time to blind bake the pastry, so it doesn’t go soggy on the bottom.

6. Take the pastry out of the oven and line it with baking paper. Put rice or beans over the top of the paper and then bake it for 20 minutes.

7. Remove the beans and the baking paper. Check for any holes. If there are, don’t worry, just use some of the pastry you put aside and patch it up. Brush the base with the egg yolk. Return it to the oven and bake it for another five minutes until brown and toasty.

8. Mix together the egg yolks, milk, cream and a good pinch of grated nutmeg and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a bowl.

9. When the pastry base is brown, remove it from the oven. Arrange the spinach onion and apple over the top of the pastry (the juices in the greenshave all cooked out- if they haven’t then squeeze it a little first before you put it in- you don’t want it to be watery).

10. Pour the eggy milky cream mixture carefully over the top of the greens. Arrange the goats cheese and other cheese around the top.

11. Return to the oven, change the temperature down to 160 C and  and bake for 30 or 40 minutes, until the top is set and the cheese has melted.

12. Trim the straggly edges of the pastry, cut into wedges and serve with some green salad and a glass of pink wine.