Mini-quiches with onions and sun-dried tomatoes (right)

Mini-quiches with onions and sundried tomatoes

We love mini bites and especially mini quiches and pizzas. This version with onions and sundried tomatoes is also a make-ahead and freezer-friendly at any stage: either when you make the dough or shape it in its moulds, or fill it (without the cream though) or even bake it all.

You can also make the dough shells a few days earlier, bake them blank and keep them in an airtight container over the counter. However, since they will be pre-baked, once you fill them, give them another 20 minutes.

Ingredients
Makes 50 + mini quiches and tartlets
Prep: 20 min – Baking: 30 min (filled)

The lactose-free quiche base

  • 300g flour (more or less)
  • 90 ml of boiling water
  • 10 ml of vinegar
  • 100 ml of oil (50%-50% olive oil/veg oil for me)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 5 g of baking powder
  • Black pepper, tarragon or oregano or thyme (optional)

For the onion filling

  • 2 medium-size yellow/white onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of butter
  • A good sprinkle of thyme or/and oregano
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • About 3 bits of sun-dried tomatoes in oil,  chopped

For the cream mix

  • 100 ml of single or fresh cream
  • 1 egg, small
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • A pinch of nutmeg

Extras

  • 100 g of grated cheese (Gruyere, Edam, Provolone…)
  • A few parsley leaves
Preparation
Start preparing the filling that needs cooking to allow time for it to cool.

Onion filling

Let the onions sweat in olive oil for a minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add 1/2 cup of water and cover. Onions need to become tender and water must evaporate. This step should take about 20 minutes.
Add the butter and herbs and stir. The onions should start turning from creamy to nicely golden.

Set aside to cool. Fold in sun-dried tomatoes.


The dough

Mix all ingredients together except flour and baking powder which you need to add just afterward.
Combine to a dough.

Roll over a floured surface as thin as you can (about 1 mm). Do not over-flour the surface so the dough keeps a good texture after it’s baked.

Cut shapes that will fit into your moulds, press the bottom to expel air and the edges firmly.

Prick as much as you can.

You can either freeze this at this stage or fill it and freeze it or bake it black and freeze it.

I freeze the dough in the moulds for 15 minutes, by the time the oven is well preheated.

Cream mix

Use a hand whisk and loosen the egg, add the rest and set aside. Make this mix just before you want to use it.
Assembly and baking

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C. Place all the mini-moulds in a baking sheet.

Place the onions mixed with sun-dried tomatoes on top. Add about a teaspoon of cream mix and make sure it does not overflow. Sprinkle some grated cheese.

Bake for about 30 minutes. If the top colours faster, cover loosely with aluminium foil.

Serve at room temperature.

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Savoury crepe pinwheels served iwith chard salad

Savoury crêpes and kefta pinwheels

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Well if you already know about crêpes stuffed with savoury fillings, today’s recipe is not that far from this idea, only presented differently.

I had the idea of these savoury crepes and ground meat pinhwheels from Rachida Amhaouche’s Canapés et salés “. She’s a famous Moroccan cookbook writer.

You can make the crepes ahead of time (a couple of days), the filling can also be made a few hours ahead of time too. Just assemble and bake before serving time for a stress-free starter/appetizer.

A served a couple of pinwheels along with chard bakkoula for a complete meal

Ingredients
Serves 8
Prep: 20 min – cooking: 40 min

Crêpes (my trusted recipe, about 8)

  • 125g all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g of butter
  • 30 ml of milk
  • A good pinch of salt
  • A good pinch of black pepper

Filling

  • 200g of lean ground meat
  • 80 g of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium-size onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp of sweet paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil
  • Red or green pepper, aubergines, spinach leaves as an option
  • Any herb you fancy

Garnishing

  • 100 g of hard cheese, grated (Edam, cheddar, Emmental..)
A dollop of yogurt on top is not a bad idea



Preparation

Prepare crêpes (ahead of time)

In a blender, add milk, the eggs followed by the rest of the ingredients. Blend for a minute. Transfer to a container. Cover and set aside in the fridge for at least 30 min or overnight.

To cook crepes, dip a bit of kitchen paper in melted butter and smear the pan with it and scoop enough batter to cover the bottom with a thin layer.

After a minute or once the edges start coming off, turn the crepes and cook them on the other side. The whole process should not take more than 3 minutes per crepe. Set aside to cool.

Like mentioned earlier, you can make crêpes a couple of days ago, just cover them with a kitchen paper and cling film and keep them in the fridge.

Make the meat filling

Sauté all the ingredients for a few minutes until they’re cooked through. Season to taste. Feel free to use your favourite herbs.

Set aside to cool.

Shaping and baking the pinwheels

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.

Mix half of the grated cheese with the meat filling.

Place enough of the filling on the top of a crêpe . Place another crêpe on top and again cover it with filling. Roll.

Follow the same logic with another couple of crêpes.

 

Delicately line up all the pinwheels on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Grate the cheese on top.

Bake for about 7-10 minutes.

Serve at room temperature.

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Serving of baked crab cakes with its sauce

Homemade crab cakes recipe

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I fell in love with crab cakes while in Canada. I’ve been making them since.

Crabs are not always cheap or easy to come by good fresh ones, which is what this recipe is all about. But if you find any good crab, make crab cakes.

Fried crab cakes

I have twisted recipes to come up with my own: I use panko instead of the usual bread crumbs, I add mustard, chives, and potatoes to my mix. I use a good deal of brown meat from the crab while most of the usual recipes call for white meat only. We find that this adds a real craby taste to them and we like them that way.

So here is how I make my version of crab cakes. I bake them to avoid them mess and also extra calories. I also serve them with a lemony remoulade or a tartare-style sauce.

The use of a good amount of brown meat make them delicate to handle, so I bake them after they spend a bit of time in the fridge. You could still fry them by really want to make sure you can flip them without shattering them.

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Ingredients

Serves 2 to 4 (depending on cakes’ size)
Prep: 7 min – Cooling: + 2 hours – Baking: 20 min/Frying: 4 min

For the crab mix

  • About 300 g of crab meat (50% brown and 50% white)
  • 150g of boiled potato, mashed
  • 2 tbsps of crackers, crushed
  • 1 tsp of mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp of dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsps of chopped chives or parsley
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of lemon zest
  • 2 tbsps of spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 egg yolk

For coating

  • 1 cup of panko

For the accompanying sauce

  • 3 tbsps of mayonaise
  • 1 tsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp of brined capers or gherkins, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp of lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp parsley or chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preparation

Mix all the ingredients listed for the crab mix.

Prepare a flat plate or tray which can fit into the fridge: cover it with a layer of foil and fill it with  panko.

Wet your hands and make 4 to 6 balls then flatten them to a 1 1/2 cm thickness. Scatter panko from the top. Cover the crab cakes with cling film and place them in the fridge for 2 to 6 hours to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and brush with oil.
Bake the crab cakes for 20 mins.

 

 Accompanying sauce for the crab cakes

Mix all ingredients and place in the fridge for at least 30 min.

Serve on the side of the crab cakes, along with celery sticks and anything else you fancy.

 

 

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Hello from London and a Flammkuchen for the old days…

Well hello lovely people! It’s been a while..A growing baby (yes, we have a tooth out already and my baby is almost 8 months old), another move from Germany to UK.

As much as I love London, I just can’t forget my wonderful days in Germany and, in fact, I discovered that I was in love with that country for many reasons: I had wonderful time there, wonderful company, everything was done the German way, things were running smoothly, I had my baby boy there and I used to live in an amazing little town called Neustadt an der Weinstrasse which just seems to offer the perfect picture to put on a chocolate box…

I know I didn’t get to write much about German food although I have promised to do so but that was just before I got pregnant, started hating food to begin with, then started watching what I was eating..Then I gave birth and it was another overwhelming experience but 24/7 sort of thing..My time was basically “high-jacked” as one of my friends told me..

The good news: baby is sleeping more hours than before and we moved about 10 weeks now so I can say that I’m settled.

I forgot to mention that my move to London came with an unpleasant surprise in the flat we rented. Everything seemed to be ok/manageable except that crazy oven that was 1/small. 2/ does not always go on 3/ If it goes on and you decide to turn it off then think your bake needs a couple of minutes IT WON’T GO ON again..anyway..It was some sort of a nightmare for somebody who needs to bake frequently…

The cooker/oven got replaced this week with another small version (to my standards) but at least seems to be working as we speak. I still can’t get used to the gas marks and I’m not confident about the whole thing but It does not stop me from using it..Hoping for the best each time..so macaroons won’t be in my schedule anytime soon.

I have loaaads of pictures and never got around posting any recipe since July, so the first that comes to my mind now is a German/Alsatian easy to make Flammkuchen.

Vegetarian Flammkuchen in Deidesheim (Christmas market 2012)

Flammkuchen or Flammekueche (depending whether it’s in Germany or Alsace) which means “flame cake” or “Pie baked in the flames” is a bit like a flat thin pizza with white filling and a bit of garnishing that needs to bake in a hot oven and ideally a pizza oven. Then you have something to serve after 15  min between from start to finish, provided that you have a ready-made dough (which could be store-bought if you live in Germany or just made-ahead bread dough and chilled/ frozen). Like in many countries, pizzas can be found in the supermarket (sold frozen). In Germany, the flammkuchen won’t be far..

There is the famous Alsatian flammkuchen which is garnished with lardons fumés (smoked bacon), onions and crème fraiche and there is the vegetarian version which differs from restaurant to another but not far off..

Vegetarian Flammkuchen in Neustadt an der Weistrasse (Marketplatz) with onions, green and red pepper and chilli pickles

The flammkuchen can be made with a pizza/bread dough which needs to be rolled paper thin OR with a dough that does not need yeast.

It can also be rolled, garnished and frozen. Just pop it into the oven, bake and serve. Easy homemade fast-food formula.

Another version of flammkuchen with more grated cheese, Thyme and mushrooms (In Marketplatz)

Ingredients
Makes 2
Prep: 45 min (with dough made from scratch)/ Baking: 8 to 12 min.

Dough without yeast
I sometimes use my pita dough which I keep handy in the fridge (we always need a pizza or a fresh pita any day of the week don’t we?).

  • 200g of flour
  • 120 ml of water
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Filling

  • 150g of creme fraiche, double cream or sour cream
  • 50 g of cream cheese (optional but nice)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Finely sliced mushrooms, green and red peppers, onions
  • Parsley for garnishing

 

One of my homemade flammkuchen

Preparation

Dough

Knead all the ingredients together until the dough is not sticky but rather soft and smooth-ish. Cover with a film and set aside.

Filling

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions and peppers for about 4 to 5 min and then set aside. If using mushrooms, you don’t need to pre-cook them,

Assembling and baking

 

Preheat the oven at the highest level for a good 15 min. 

Roll out dough very thin, smear the mixture of cream/cheese.

Distribute the vegetables on top and bake until the bottom is crispy and small patches of black appear on the top..

Serve with pickled chilli, a salad and enjoy the moment..