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Aug 13, 2014

The Shirazine Grilled Mediterranean Salad

My father traveled a lot when we were kids. Mostly the Gulf, United States and Japan and even though my mother loved collecting Bohemian Cut Glass and perfumes, he always brought her 'food gifts'! Saffron, spices, kiwi fruit (there was no sign of it in Delhi back then!), cream of tartare, candied fruits and even olive oil. This was back in the late 80's, early 90's and I have no idea how she found information about what all she could make with these treats. She had a beautiful collection of cookbooks though, which I am blessed to have inherited but the book my mother in law compiled is exquisite in comparison, those are recipes actually passed down generations and collection from neighbours, co-workers, family and friends. This trend of food gifts continues in my life too, even though Andy is great with gifts, it always the kitchen loot that excites me most. He never misses a thing on my list and my lists aren't usually small. The last time I had asked for pine nuts, he brought me 4 bags and we ate them in everything. We had pesto flowing out of the fridge, chicken tagine on weekends and in salads of course. This is one of my favourite summer salads, though by peak season, roquette leaves begin to wilt and peppers get very expensive. My work is such that I am forced to eat lighter meals at home so salads need to be dynamic, saucy and happening, else I will settle for a portion of dessert for a meal!

The best way to differentiate your salad selection is by grouping of veggies and the one overpowering flavour in the dressing. This taken care of will mean you will have different tasting salad every time. I love combining raw and cooked elements in a salad so that there is a sense of satisfaction, cold, raw foods rarely satiate, which is why Sushi is still a starter in so many meals. Try grills with salad vegetables or roasted meats with greens, add a twist to the dressing by upping the mustard or going Asian with fish sauce and sesame oil. This particular salad is inspired by Arab food and their love of grills and roquette leaves. I wanted to keep it vegetarian, though grilled lamb steaks would be great in a prep like this.

Ingredients:

A bunch of fresh Roquette Leaves, try and use small, young ones, they're less potent but haven't turned bitter yet
4-5 Garlic cloves
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp Mustard, you can use Dijon too but we prefer the grainy one, it has a deeper flavour
1 tbsp Honey
1 tsp Sumac powder
1 tbsp Zaa'tar, this optional, its a mix of dried Arab greens, you can use a mix of parsley, thyme and oregano instead
1/4 cup Pine Nuts, you can lightly roast them if you don't like them soft, just 10 mins in a hot oven, on 140C
2 tbsp Goat Cheese
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, both work best for grills and salads.

To Grill:

1 large Red Onion, cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 medium round Aubergine, cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 each of Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, cut into strips of the same thickness as other veggies for the grill

Method:

Oil a grilling tray for the veggies. Baste the grilling veggies with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill at 180C till soft and lightly charring, about 20 minutes. The aubergines will soak oil and they need to so add a few extra drops to those slices. Halfway through oven grilling, add the whole garlic cloves. While this is happening, prep the dressing. Mix together the EVOO, honey, and mustard, blend is with a small whisk, now add the sumac powder, which mimics lemon but with a berry undertone, fruity in a way. Don't season the dressing, add the sea salt and pepper when you finish the salad. Once the veggies are grilled, cool slightly and arrange in two bowls, tops with fresh roquette leaves, dribble dressing over the salad and sprinkle a generous dose of pine nuts. Season with zaa'tar, sea salt and fresh pepper, top with the goat cheese and serve immediately. This salad makes for an excellent side dish with grilled meats or BBQ's. Try it with a rusk slathered with goat cheese and add the missing carbs... enjoy!

Jul 30, 2014

The Shirazine's Pulled Lamb w/ Pita!

We love lamb, actually we love mutton but lamb always sounds better when I create a recipe. And since the current food trends include Pulled pork and lamb, I love this recipe even more. My Mother in Law taught me a version of it with pork, about 16 years back. She handed me a rump of pork and a bowl of cloves and said, stud it! It looked so pretty after it was dotted all over with cloves and the 3-4 hours it cooked, the house smelled like heaven (yes to me heaven smells like cupcakes, pork and Chanel No. 9!). The whole idea was to cook the meat long and amply moistened. For the lamb, I use what we call 'raan' or the hind leg/thigh cut, it's meaty and usually weighs about 500-700 gms which is great for about 6 pita sandwiches. There is actually no work in this at all, it just cooks and cooks and all you have to do is keep an eye on the liquid content. Roasts are a big deal in our family, we pride ourselves in our grills as well. Andy is super at BBQ and every time he is here, we have at least 2 BBQ meals at home. I miss our rooftop from the old house though. Andy had built a little tavern there and we put Moroccan hanging lamps and wicker furniture, which wore out so beautifully as the years passed. It was where we communed with family and friends, ate and drank, made merry as they say! We re-live those times in our condo apartment now but all the love and joy is well preserved along with the memories. That's the thing about family and about enjoying a long history together, the distance doesn't change how you feel at a core level and you're almost telepathic.

Anyhow, that's about to change dramatically, at least for Ally and I, I've never left home before except for 4 years at Culinary School but since I speak the universal language of 'food', I'm sure the change is going to be great. The three men in my life, Andy, Dad and V have kept us like princesses and we are so spoiled now but thankfully, we have family to spoil us there as well! My sister-in-law/BFF for one!

Okay, back to the lamb (how I digress?!), get a nice meaty slab, always with the bone, bone adds so much flavour and moisture from the inside. Use a heavy bottomed (I love that word, remember, curves are good!), wide pan, I use a stockpot and needless to say, use good ingredients, as fresh as possible.

The Shirazine Pulled Mutton

Ingredients:

500-600 gms Mutton Raan
2 large Red Onions, thinly sliced
8-10 cloves of Garlic, smashed, lets out all the flavours
2 sticks of Cinnamon
4-5 Cardamom
4-5 Cloves
1 tbsp Whole Black Pepper
1 ltr Orange Juice
2 tbsp Honey
3 tbsp Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Method:

Heat the oil in the wide pan, saute the onions till transparent, add the garlic and the whole spices. Fry for a minute or two, till all the aroma begins to escape. Now add the washed and dried slab of mutton, turn up the heat and sear for 3-4 minutes on each side to seal in the juices and add colour to the meat. I don't like boiled looking red meats, there has to be sear on the top. Now pour in half the orange juice, season with salt, bring to a gentle boil, turn down the heat and cover. Cook for an hour, just check in to see if you need to add more orange juice. For the next hour, add the rest of the juice and check the tartness because juices differ and that's what the honey is for, to balance the sweet-salty-tangy flavours. Grind a bit of fresh pepper on the top, flip the slab and cook for the next hour. By hour 2, the meat should be easy to pull apart, use tongs so you don't destroy the deep, colour of the surface. If the meat is of an older animal, you may need another 20-30 minutes more, for which you will need more juice. To serve, check the seasoning, sea salt is excellent for roasts and pepper can always be added when eaten. Use all the reduction, the onions, spices, remnants of juice and honey. I use this pulled mutton for pita sandwiches, with a dressing of 'thoum' or garlic hung curd dip. Make a hot and cold combo, it's magical. Keep a side of rucola for texture and for the greens on the table. Enjoy!

Jul 22, 2014

Raise a Toast and a Bite!

Though I love gifts of wine and wine in general, I get rather stumped when it's Champagne or Sparkling wine! Mainly because neither of two suit me, they hit me hard and they tend to keep me woozy longer than just one evening! So when I got hold of the Jacob's Creek Sparkling Rosé, I knew I was going to sip it a bit, serve it a bit and mostly cook with it! This is a non-vintage wine made from selected Jacob's Creek Chardonnay and Jacob's Creek Pinot Noir grapes and has delicate fresh berry flavours and a pleasing, salmon, pink colour. Though it is pitched as an ideal aperitif, with deserts or for any occasion that calls for a celebration, we found it to be quite palatable as a cooking wine. Contrary to popular belief, you should 'not' use ordinary or cheap wine for cooking because that's like wasting the cuts of meat you use for the dish. Whether you cook or drink, the wine should always be a good vintage, regardless of price points. The bouquet of this particular wine is fresh and light, you can find notes of strawberries and though the tasting notes include red currants, it more berries I feel with the tartness that comes with them. I suppose the citrus notes are from the Chardonnay grapes, another wine that's dear to me. Since this is an award winning wine, we were keen to try a glass at the onset, I served it chilled with a round of light Tapas that included cured salmon, olive tepanade bruschettas, goat cheese crostini and a platter of cold cuts. But it's hard to finish a bottle of sparkling between three people, especially if they wish to move on to a more robust product like a Shiraz, so here's what I did with the last 250 ml of the lovely Sparkling Rosé, I cooked fish in it.

As they say - "A fish should swim three times: in water, in sauce and in wine".

The Shirazine Rosé Sole

Ingredients: 

500 gms Fish fillets, use any firm, white fish, I used sole, 1" thick fillets, about 4x4 in size.
50 gms Butter
2-3 tbsp Flour
1 small Red Onion, thinly sliced
4-6 Garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 tbsp Capers
200 ml Jacob's Creek Sparkling Rosé
100 ml Fresh Cream
Salt & Pepper
Fresh Parsley to garnish
Slice of Lemon for garnish


Method: 

Heat 2 tbsp of the butter in a large pan, don't let it burn or brown. Best is to heat the pan, remove from the fire, let the butter melt and then put it back over the flame. Rest the washed and dried fillets on the butter, let it sizzle for a few seconds, then pour in the sparkling wine, it will froth a bit. Turn down the flame to low and let the fish poach for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the fish from the poaching liquid and rest in a baking or serving dish, covered so the fillets don't dry out. Reserve the poaching liquid. In a separate pan, melt the remaining butter, add the flour and saute for 2-3 minutes or till the raw aroma of flour goes away. Remove from heat and add the poaching liquid, use a wire whisk to blend it all into a thick sauce, as it come's together, pour in the cream. You may need to put it back on the fire to thicken but usually not, season with salt and pepper. Pour over the poached fish, garnish with capers and fresh parsley.
Serve hot with a crusty baguette or a side of steamed rice.

Jul 13, 2014

The Experience that is Kumaon!

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac


I've been swamped with a recipe development project and I'm not allowed to share any :( .. which means this darling but poor little blog has been ignored! Every time I log in it nags at me and today is the day I'm going to pledge at least one post a week so I can give back to The Shirazine, which is not just a 'food blog' but a place that holds all the recipes and foods dear to my family. The last one month has been significantly eventful, we had the 'papa' visit of course and then a few developments which are moving in the direction we want and need them to! Every 'papa' visit is a mini vacation for us and this time we hit the hills for respite! The hills are a Shirazi favourite, Andy and I have always been road trip people from the time we were dating (circa 1995!) and even today. Ally has joined the troop as an avid roadie, she loves the bed we make for her in the backseat and she spends most of the time making some of the funniest, most awesome videos ever. This summer we headed to Kumaon, a region both Andy and I know well, we have had some memorable trips to Bhimtal in the last decade. The road trip was super fun and we took our own sweet time to get there. As always the mountains came out of nowhere and we loved the gasp that escaped ally's lips, she hadn't been back in the last 3 years and that's why kids are lucky, they have limited long term memory!



We reached our destination, Dhanachuli, around lunch and saw one of the most magnificent resorts we have ever been to and we have been to plenty! Te Aroha is not just picturesque because of it's environs, it is a piece of history, a place of love and a home to deep, soulful feelings that you will feel only when you are there. This post is more a way to chronicle our memories for posterity, the property review will follow elsewhere (I will keep you posted!), but what memories they are! Every moment was precious, not because we were together but because we were together, here, right this moment, in this place. Our room was a duplex, with an attic room for Ally, I can't forget the hours she spent there, reading. One criteria for us has always been, no television and believe me, we didn't need one! Every accent here is memorabilia, every piece of furniture is a collectible and every corner is a photo opportunity! I kept wishing Andy bought his camera but for him coming home is the ultimate time-off and the camera is the last thing on his mind. We spent the days languishing in the weak sun and the cool breeze, reminiscing about the past and planning for the future. Ally believes babies come when you marry, so she insists we marry each other again, not a bad idea ...out Catholic wedding is long overdue, now if that will bring a stork over is yet to be seen. But then wishes are free aren't they?!


Since we as a family practically worship food, we were thrilled to enjoy a night of local Kumaon fare, mutton curry with a subtle flavour of mustard oil but the same robust redness we North Indians love. A mash made of what I thought was colocassia but they called their local 'arbi' and a dal that I absolutely loved. I love texture in my food and the dal here had a bite to it that was perfect. Apparently this is soy, soaked and parboiled till it's almost cooked, I loved every bite. The local roti was akin to a bajra roti my mother used to make, so I had about 4 of those, I'm not certain Andy and Ally loved the food as much as I did but they did take about half a dozen helpings of the mutton! I have the mutton recipe chronicled below but I haven't cooked it at home yet, thus no pics but I know for sure, it's going to be as delicious as I remember it. Andy was nice enough to drive me all over the mountains looking for local fruits and veggies and it was well worth it. I got those gigantic Bhimtal lemons, purple radish and turnip shaped radish too, not to miss the juiciest peaches and plums. Ally had her first taste of young almonds, where you can actually eat the green flesh around the almond. I love when she discovers new foods. This story is only half told and if our plans go the way we hope, we may just be back at Te Aroha as early as next month.

Kumaoni Mutton Curry

Ingredients:

1/2 Kg Mutton
4 tbsp Mustard Oil
2 Onions, made into a puree or very finely chopped
1 large Tomato, finely chopped or 2 tbsp Tomato paste
Salt

For the Masala: this has to be ground to a paste

8-10 Cloves of Garlic
1 tbsp Roasted Cumin
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp Coriander Powder
1 tbsp Deggi Mirch
1 tsp Red Chilli powder (ground with seeds)

1 cup Water, you can add more to make more gravy but check the seasoning if you do.

Method:

Heat the oil to smoking point, in fact let it smoke for 10-15 seconds, turn the heat down and add the onions, fry till they start to brown. Add the washed and dried meat, let it sear on high for few minutes, it seals the juices in. Saute for about 5-7 minutes, I don't add salt till the end because it just makes the meat release all the moisture and can make it tough or dry. Now add the ground masala paste and fold it all in to coat all the pieces of meat, saute for 5 minutes and add the tomatoes along with the water. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes, you can also 'dum' the process by sealing the lid with dough or 'atta'. I don't like to pressure cook mutton but I do give it one 'whistle' at the end, it makes the meat open up and 'flower'. Serve with piping hot 'bajra' roti's or white rice if you so prefer. Add a side of fried green chillies and plan a trip to the hills!

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jun 6, 2014

The Shirazine Asian Peanut Chicken

I wanted to put one of the main ingredients in the title but I was worried it would throw some of you off! Well, because it's peanut butter! I so wish I could hear your reactions, my brother guffawed at the thought, my father was indifferent and my husband reluctantly said he 'may' try it! It was my 8 year old daughter who was most gung ho about the idea, what is it with kids and peanut butter? Other than her love for peanut butter, she's also been blessed with a sensitive and curious palate. I remember when she was a peanut herself, my cravings were bizarre, I wanted very spicy food with a side of sweet. So a typical meal would look something like Chettinad Chicken with a dollop of gunpowder (muligapodi) and a side of Rava Kesari or blazing hot Mutton Tikkas with a side of Rabri, it all happened and I have Andy to thank, he indulged every whim and more. He actually does it even now, for all my chef-ness, midnight snacks are his domain completely, which reminds me, time for midnight snacks is coming very soon and maybe I will bring up the possibility of a second round of cravings ...hmmmm!

We are back on a set of crossroads once more but I am smarter and stronger this time around, a sixth sense tells me I may need it but this time it will tide me across, so fingers crossed everyone! This stress coupled with excruciating heat has made me start working on summer recipes that are quick and comforting. Since I love Asian flavours like fresh chillies, galangal, peanuts, sesame and soy, I wanted a meal I could make in one wok and just serve with rice! Andy and I being big BBQ folks, I'm very fond of making marinades but there is no question of grilling in this weather, so I figured, I would make a BBQ style marinade and then just pan fry the meat. I chose boneless chicken breasts since that is truly the lightest meat, barring a few fish and I chose a BBQ classic - peanut butter. If you like the basic flavour of peanuts, especially the roasted or cooked through taste, then do try this recipe. It's got a bit of grilled charred-ness because of the way the peanut butter caramelizes and its got a lovely chilli-sweet balance too. I served it with white rice and a side of a melon salad just in case the bird eye chilli was too hot and in retrospect I should have made Bao with it, would have paired wonderfully.

The Shirazine Asian Peanut Chicken

Ingredients:

1/2 kg Boneless Chicken, cut into evenly chopped 1/2 inch cubes
4 tbsp Olive Oil, for pan frying
2 tbsp Olive Oil for marinade
2 Red Onions, thinly sliced
6-8 Garlic cloves, smashed, I love garlicky food, you could go easy if you like
2-3 Bird Eye Chilli, use can use dry red chilli too but use just 2 and remove if you're going to get this dish sit
4 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce, I love Kikkoman

1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter, for this dish I used a brand I have seen in about 20 years, its local and not as sweet as Skippy's or Peter Pan, you can use crunchy if you like texture in your food

1 small Red Pepper, sliced

1 tbsp Sugar

Salt to taste

1/2 cup Water

Method: 

(Remember, this mess will be a yummy bowl of food, just get to work!)
In a bowl, mix the peanut butter, 2 tbsp olive oil, half the crushed garlic, soy and salt with the chicken cubes, watch the salt since good Soy is fairly salty. Cover and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a wok, don't let it burn or smoke, add the onions and half the garlic and stir fry on a medium flame till the onions are soft and starting to get coloured. Add the red bell pepper slices, fry for another few minutes till they soften a bit, I don't like squishy peppers so I keep a crunch for texture. Now throw in the peanut butter marinated chicken, turn up the flame and flash fry for a minute or two, the idea is to seal in the flavours before you add moisture and made is bubble and cook. You can add the red chilli's now, slit down the middle and the sugar. Check the sweet-salt-spice balance, add 1/4 cup water, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and add 2 tbsp water more if it's sticking and use a spatula to get all that yummy marinade into the wok before the dish is done, turn up the heat and finish with a quick, blazing stir fry. Check a piece to see if it's cooked through, I don't like tough or stringy chicken so I check quite often for done-ness. Serve with steamed rice or bao...enjoy!



Jun 2, 2014

Inspired Cooking #1: The '19th'

'Inspired Cooking' is a series I want to start that allows me to share the recipes I develop for The Shirazine exclusively, because so many of these are actually inspired. By people, chef's, aromas, the city I live in, the foods I taste and at times even memories. At the end of the day all our recipes are inspired either from other recipes or from taste memories or even family and friends. Masterchef's spend decades developing recipes that are then sampled and reinvented across homes and kitchens. I want to start the series with an inspiring story, a story of a young boy from a farming background, who dreamed of a life in the big city but I don't think he imagined the life he went on to have! Manmohan Singh, the Mixologist at PCO recently won the India chapter of Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition at Trident Hotel, Gurgaon! He created the '19th' a drink inspired by a bill passed in the US in the 19th Century, allowing women to vote. It was the Bacardi brand, label and history that inspired him to do more research about the century Bacardi was founded in. Why a bill in the US and a cocktail in India? He said his control lay in his craft, it was the bar he could offer a sense of freedom to his lady guests with an experience that's empowering and liberating!


 Did the '19th' make me feel all that as a woman? Yes, it did. It didn't liberate from any shackles per se but it will make me feel more feminine, it made me feel in charge in a way. I think it was the Creme the Cocoa that did it for me, that layered sense of satisfaction that comes from chocolate is nothing short of a high and then you make it a liqueur, genius! The recipe includes a heavily scented Martini Blanc, herbaceous and potent with Bacardi White and Creme the Cocao, infused with Absinthe vapour which is just superior thinking. I loved the whole theater of it, Manmohan was like a Chef, with the moves and the nuances, it was such a pleasure to watch. Which brings me to the point of why do we always take a table at the bar as we enter. If time and space permit, always start an evening early, at the bar counter, commune with your Bartender for the evening and get to know your poison better. We are lucky to have a place like Cocktails and Dreams - Speakeasy right here in G-Town and nothing makes me feel better than an evening watching my drink be born. I'm the kind of drinker who nurses 2 cocktails over an entire evening so they better be darned good and at C&D they always are! Delhi has PCO for the same respite, head on over for an evening of secret codes, secret rooms and a fantastically stocked bar and don't forget to Manmohan and try the '19th'!

I did a white chocolate, mascarpone, Bacardi Reserve Rum and Mangoes dessert as an ode to the 19th. The flavours are of course different but the general sense of composition is intact. There is the rum of course, the white chocolate for girth and the mascarpone for depth, the mango comes from the fruitiness of Absinthe and though I would have preferred pineapple, mangoes just just fine. I need to standardize the recipe and refine the flavours to be a bit more boozy...so stay tuned!

*Just got good news! Now starts the countdown! Lots of planning, cooking AND partying to do :)

May 1, 2014

Quick Quiche Lorraine for Sunday Afternoon!

How I love rustic food. Food that looks real, tastes real and is easy to make any time your heart wishes for it! Pies, tarts and curries all fit into that rustic mold for me. As a food stylist I always found curries and gravies the hardest to style, they looked messy to begin with! But if you play it right, use textures and patterns on side, interesting backgrounds and a deconstruction of the curry, it looks best! Styling for food is when you see the difference between real food and styled food, I've come to abhor excessively styled food so much that I find it almost inedible. Apart from looking real, I love 'real', natural flavours like aged cheese, eggs, garlic, bacon, anchovies, mustard.. the list is endless. Which brings me to this recipe, a fantastic combination of Parmesan, Bacon, Eggs and Cream, all nestled in a delicious pie shell, this is The Shirazine's Quick Quiche Lorraine! We enjoy this pie through the year even though it has such a 'winter' dimension to it. You can summer it up by replacing the bacon with ham or even mushrooms for a veggie version but then a quiche needs 'eggs' for volume, so can't avoid that. The pie crust for this recipe is perfectly standardized and you can use it for any savoury tart, in fact if you make a potent sweet filling like key lime or coffee/dark chocolate, you can use this exact pie dough for a sweet tart too! One of the finest Quiche Lorraine I have ever had (in Delhi!) was at Basil & Thyme in the Santushti Complex (Read about it here). This is such a quaint and fine cafe, my heart craves for it on rainy days and days I miss Andy the most. It's a place I can go to write, over a house made pink ginger ale and their comforting Quiche Lorraine.

As I find myself on yet another threshold all over again, I can't help crave comfort! Talk of our 'move' is now leaning towards imminent and though the idea excites me terribly, I can't bear the wait! Cooking is my solace in times like these, the day is spent in my home office which is few steps away from my test kitchen, so if I'm not writing, I'm tinkering with cheese and chocolate and all those lovely things! I can't really complain but the ebb and flow of these past couple of years needs to now become a steady! In the meantime, let's cook up awesome, wholesome meals every day if we can!


The Shirazine's Quick Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients:

Shortcrust Pastry:

150 gms Flour
75 gms Butter (cold, cubed)
3-4 tbsp Cold Water

Method: 

Rub together the flour and cold butter, the whole play in this crust is 'cold', keep your hand's cold, the kitchen shouldn't be too warm. Rub in the butter, use your fingertips to mush it all together till the mix looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Slowly add a tbsp of cold water at a time to bring this dough together into a soft but tight ball. It's always the moisture that makes or ruins dough, so go easy. This dough is not kneaded, its rolled and formed. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes or so, till you make the filling.

Filling

Ingredient:

3 Eggs
4-5 Bacon Rashers, cooked, we like them soft not crispy and that works better in this quiche.
1 Red Onion
4-5 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan, you can use Cheddar for an English touch or a Gruyere for a more Swiss tart
100 ml Fresh Cream
100 ml Milk
Freshly ground pepper
Salt

Method:

Fry the bacon till cooked yet soft, remove from the pan and add the onions and garlic (this is not usually a typical Quiche Lorraine ingredient but we love garlic!). Lightly saute till soft and cooked. Remove and set aside. Gently whisk together the eggs, cream and milk, season with freshly ground pepper (we use lots) and salt.

Prepping the Quiche:

I made three mini quiches, so the pie in the pic is 1/3rd of the entire portion would be. Remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator and let it come down to a temperature where it's easier to roll. Roll out on a floured surface, about 4 mm thick, make it wider/larger than the pie base of course. Gently set the rolled out dough over the pie base, let it drop to the center, you can drape it over a rolling pin and layer it over. Use your fingertips to tuck the dough into the sides and middle, you can use the back of a teaspoon but don't end up tearing the dough sheet. Once it's set, cut off the excess bits, kitchen scissors work best. Make a layer of the onions, garlic and then bacon, pour the milk mixture over it, should be max. 3/4 full as it will rise as the egg cooks. Sprinkle generously with cheese and bake in a pre heated oven, at 180C for about 20-25 mins or till the top is firm, golden and the crust looks, well, crusty!

Serve hot and serve immediately, since it does tend to collapse. I serve a Quiche Lorraine with more excess, a dollop of Creme Fraiche, which is awesome as a hot and cold combo and a salad of whatever fruit and greens are in season. Enjoy!
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