Thursday, September 1

QUICHE-A-JO-JO



Jo was born to a London publican (tavern keeper) and cabbie in the 1960’s. She grew up to do all sorts of brave and interesting things with her life. When I met her she was managing our local Hospice Charity Shop. In spite of my protests juggling three jobs, she talked me into volunteering at the shop most Saturdays. 

Observing the grace, integrity and good humour Jo brings to a job with an all volunteer staff, made a big impression on me. She has no office; no personal space whatsoever. She doesn't walk around with an i-pad to help her keep track of things. Her mobile phone has a cracked face and was probably last replaced five years ago. She doesn't take a lunch break, or have much of a lunch beyond a piece of fruit or yoghurt.


She's queen of multi-tasking, recruiting, training and working with dozens of volunteers of every age and background; keeping up with all the paperwork and economics required of a modern-day shopkeeper; ensuring customers, management and Hospice supporters are happy, all the while caring for her family and rescue dog, Poppy.

Observing the way Jo operates inspired me to come up with an elegant, portable, versatile, one-pan-meal, easy to keep on hand for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

As if my friend isn't saintly enough, she's also a vegetarian, albeit, one who occasionally rolls a cigarette, making her even more enduring. 


My goal with vegetarian fare is the same as with all the meals I make. I want it to be moreish, visually appealing and packed with flavour and nutrition. As I'm not a mushroom connoisseur, I enjoy making meatless meals without touching a mushroom.

I never make quiche with crust. I prefer it to stand on it's own without the distraction. This isn't a pie filling. It's the star of the plate, requiring little more than a basket of toasted bread on the side, with a few green leaves of cilantro, parsley or rocket. See bottom of page for more ideas. 

How did mushrooms become the go-to food for most commercial enterprises  cooking for vegetarians? There's dozens of more interesting options. Same for tofu. Why tofu? I'm not looking for a meat substitute. I'm looking to maximise the tastiness of fresh food. That's the fun of vegetarian cookery. 


What You Need for Quiche-A-Jo-Jo

Baking Dish, approximately 32cm x 25cm x 6cm 12-1/2 x 10 x 2-1/2
You can also bake in individual ramekins. This quiche serves four - six, depending on what else you serve with it. See suggestions at bottom of page.

Baking Paper

Coconut Oil - 1 tbs

Onions - 3 red 

Spinach - 250g 9 ounces


Cherry Tomatoes - 400g  14 ounces 
Whatever fresh, seasonal baby tomatoes you can get; a combination of yellow and red are ideal.

Bunch of Salad Onions, about 125g 4-1/2 ounces


Mature Cheddar - 350g 12 ounces

Pine Nuts or Bread Crumbs - 100g 3-1/2 ounces

Eggs 12 Large


Greek Yoghurt - 400g 14 ounces


Hot Sauce - 2 tbs

Coarse Black Pepper - 1 tbs

Sea Salt 1tbs




What You Do


Heat oven to 180c 350F


Melt coconut oil over low heat, while peeling and chopping onions. Cook onions over medium - high heat, stirring often, until caramelized to golden brown goodness. This takes about twenty minutes.


Wash spinach and add to caramelized onions, stirring until spinach is thoroughly wilted and blended into onions.


Drain onion and spinach in colander. Leave to rest while preparing the test of your quiche.


Wash tomatoes, slice in half, set aside in large bowl.


Wash salad onions, dice and add to tomatoes.


Grate cheese and add to tomatoes, along with pine nuts or bread crumbs.


In separate large bowl, break the eggs, beat for about 20 seconds with whisk. Add yoghurt, beat another 10 seconds. Add hot sauce, pepper and salt. Mix well. Add the onions and spinach until thoroughly blended.


Pour egg mixture into baking dish lined with baking paper. If you don't have baking paper, generously coat dish with coconut oil, or butter, as quiche will stick.


Top quiche with the tomatoes, cheese and pine nuts. Lightly press into egg mixture.


Place quiche in middle of hot oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes, depending on the depth of your baking dish. The deeper the dish, the longer it takes to bake. You'll know it's done when it doesn't wobble in the middle when shifted about. You want the top golden. When quiche is set firm, remove from oven and allow to rest a couple of minutes.



Marsha's Notes


Quiche tends to stick unless you loosen all around the sides, upon removing from oven. Do this with a wet butter knife, or a rubber type spatula. As long as the sides are loosened, you won't have a problem.


The quiche will be very moist, but firm enough to cut and hold together on the plate. Do a sample cut, after allowing the quiche to rest for a few minutes. If it's is not as firm as you like, you can return it to hot oven for another five - ten minutes. Keep in mind, it will firm up as it cools down. If you're making it a day in advance, which you very well can do, it will be much firmer on the second day. Ideal for picnicking.



Ideas and Suggestions


Homemade Sweet Potato or Yam Chips and Ham go beautifully with this crustless quiche. Sausages and Homemade Potato Chips too.


You can make the quiche and ham the day before, then gently warm in oven, making the chips just before serving.


If you're inviting friends or family around for Sunday brunch, the perfect dessert is Banana Cream Pie.


In summer serve with a few leaves of fresh rocket and a toasted bread basket.


Some of my favourite beverages with this quiche are hot Fennel Tea; Cherry Nectar over ice; Iced Tea with Lemon; Pressed Apple Juice.