Friday, 31 August 2012

Recipe: summer picnic staples

So, this is autumn... Gone are the hot summer days, the endless hours by the beach, the siestas, the doing-nothing-just-staring at the "big blue"... the sea...

Indeed, like most of us, I've already returned to my pre-summer habits, work, exercise, reading, redecorating (in that order).  But not before I tell you about my friend Jessi's invitation to the last lazy, hazy days of summer she organised about a fortnight ago.  We had just a great time by the terrace, each describing their adventures over the summer, our plans for the time ahead and the things we will most miss about this summer...

The theme of the gathering was about laziness, so the food was accordingly lazy:  no forks and knives, people, just plain picnic/finger food!  Here are some suggestions that I prepared for that evening, ready to pack and go:


Bell pepper and feta quiche


bell pepper and feta quiche - ready, packed, go!
While most of the picnic food tends to focus on convenience rather than health, I wanted something that could contribute to my 5-a-day (note:  new concept for me, loving it!!).  Enter bell peppers, a vegetable so crucial to our lives (especially the red ones), with plenty of vitamins, nutrients, antioxydants and vitamin C to name but a few...  The quiche format is always welcome in gatherings, hence the solution:
1 pack (230g) shortcrust pastry
3 red bell peppers (or any other colour, for that matter)
100g feta cheese, crumbled
120g extra light cream
100g milk
4 eggs

First of all, you have to cook the peppers.  Cut in smaller than bite-size pieces, and slowly cook over medium heat.  Stir constantly otherwise they will burn (or use a tiny bit of olive oil - I just rather not).  Once they're soft, pour about 1/4 of a cup water and leave to cook for about another 5 minutes.  Leave to cool. 

Preheat oven at 180oC. Beat eggs with cream and milk, salt and pepper according to taste.  Line the bottom of a round pie dish with the pastry, cover bottom with crumbled feta cheese.  Carefully top with peppers (I just like to make sure that every bit of quiche will have both of them...).  Pour egg/cream/milk mixture on top.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Comfort and health food all in one bite!


Cheese soufflé pie

cheese souffle pie, cut up
Bechamel sauce: 
50g butter
60g flour
400ml semi-skimmed milk

Filling
250g grated or crumbled cheese (I used comté, a rather strong French cheese)
4 eggs, separated

1 pack (230g) shortcrust pastry

(This is a recipe given to me by a lovely lady named Christina - her elegant description of the recipe had my tastebuds dancing immediately...)
To be clear:  this is not a soufflé.  A soufflé is always so tricky with timing and HAS to be eaten staight out of the oven - nothing for picnics.  This dish has the consistency of a soufflé - so airy and light (sorry, still plenty of calories involved here...).  Start with the bechamel:  melt the butter over medium heat, add flour and stir.  Slowly pour milk half-cup wise, while stirring the whole time, otherwise it will go lumpy.  Should this happen anyway, take a whisker and whisk away all your anger/stress/sorrows! The end result should be a thick bechamel sauce, not runny.  Take off the heat, leave to cool.  In the meantime, beat egg whites to a consistency of soft peaks (i.e. slightly before stiff).  Add cheese and egg yolks to the cooled bechamel and stir well.  Then, fold in the egg whites as well (first a spoonful whisked in, then the rest slowly and elegantly folded...) Depending on the cheese you use, add salt/pepper. (note:  I used one cheese here, but obviously you can mix things up!)

Preheat over at 180oC.  Use a pie dish big enough so that the bechamel layer rather thin is (look at the pictures).  Line the bottom with the the pastry, pour cheese bechamel on top.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  This is an exquisite-tasting picnic staple!

Print recipe





This post is my entry into Weekend Cooking, a weekly event hosted by Beth Fish Reads.













23 comments:

  1. The cheese souffle is delicious !!!

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    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed it - it is (was) delicious!

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    2. I agree - it was amazing!

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  2. Both look really great! I think I would especially enjoy the bell pepper and feta quiche.

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  3. Wow -- two great recipes. I know what you mean about getting out of the summer mode -- I hate to see summer end, but now that the temperatures are moderating I can get more active.

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  4. We have a picnic to go to this weekend I think I will try the quiche! Spice things up from traditional hamburgers and potato salad! Thanks.

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    1. that was my idea as well!

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  5. What great additions to the usual picnic fare; thanks for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. glad you enjoyed them!

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  6. Thanks for the recipes -- both look delicious!

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    Replies
    1. glad you enjoyed them!

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  7. Thank you for offering a way to easily print your recipe. I don't know how you did it, but it made it so convenient to print out these great recipes.

    Here's my Weekend Cooking post.I hope you will stop by!

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  8. oh my, that bell pepper and feta quiche has my attention...

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    Replies
    1. it is so tasty but so healthy at the same time!

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  9. Both these recipes look really good. Have a great week!

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  10. Oh goodness - your picnic staples look fancy! I wouldn't have thought that quiche would be a good picnic option, but it does sound delicious, and if it doesn't fall apart, a great addition! Thanks for sharing your recipes!

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    1. no, it does not fall apart, as I cut it in little squares, ready to eat with the hands!!!

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  11. Both your dishes look so easy and divine. I'll definitely give these a try soon. I bet they're also good in a lunchbox ;)

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    1. Well, that's where I put the leftovers!!!

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