It’s a dreich (you can listen to the definition on this link) winter’s day here. The sky and sea are uniformly grey, the promised snow has not materialised and the rain arrives from the SW. So what’s a man with no work (of the money earning kind) to do? firstly, up the High Street to the community baker’s. Above the door it says “The proprietor: The Community”. They have a great range of bread which I enjoy e.g. sourdough with rye but today it’s an oats and buttermilk loaf for me (1st photo below). It has a rather crumbly texture but a lovely crisp shell and a different taste from most breads. Having it today with homemade lentil soup was a treat and even looking out the window, it seemed a little brighter. The oats tends to fall off the top when you cut the bread, but no waste here, just heat up your soup in a bowl and brush the oats into your soup. It’s also very nice toasted.
While up the street, I got some undyed smoked haddock from the fish shop, and shallots, mushrooms and potatoes (Saxon) from the fruit and veg shop. I was making smoked haddock quiche with shallots, mushrooms and cottage cheese. It’s a mixture of recipes I’ve come across and I make my own version. I have a 10in (25cm) metal quiche dish, so have to adjust the ingredients to suit as most recipes go for the 8in version. I put 4oz of wholemeal and 4 oz of plain flower in a bowl, plus 3.75oz of margarine and mix this with a hand mixer (which I prefer to use rather than my food processor). I add one egg and some iced water and mix this to make a pastry ball which is slightly moist – better too moist than too dry. I put this in the fridge for 30 min. I rolled the pasty out and lined the quiche dish, leaving an overlap of pasty. I pricked the pastry all over and brushed it with beaten egg. If you do this, you don’t have to use baking beans and grease proof paper. I put the pasty into the oven for 15 mins at 190 degrees. For the filling, cook the chopped shallot in oil for a couple of minutes, then add the sliced mushrooms (I used 8 medium sized button mushrooms). Remove to a plate to cool. Wipe the frying pan clean and add a bit less than a quarter pint of milk and the haddock (I had 12oz). Cook this gently and turn the haddock once. Remove the haddock with a slotted spoon on to the plate with the mushrooms and onion. Put the liquid into a jug and put in the fridge to cool. Put the haddock, mushrooms and shallots back in the pan and add 6oz of cottage cheese. Mix this gently. I mixed the cooled liquid with 2 beaten eggs and some single cream. I carefully laid the filling into the pastry case and slowly poured over the egg mixture. The quiche is then cooked for 35 mins – after 25 mins, I turned the heat down to 180 degrees. The 2nd photo below shows the result. We had it warm tonight i.e. not straight our of the oven, but removed (carefully!) from the quiche dish and put on a wire tray. Very tasty and tomorrow we’ll have it cold for lunch.