Sunday best


Yesterday we had a picnic at my favourite place on the farm; a little valley not too far from our house, which at the moment, is draped in soft green grass and snake-free. It was just us, a few friends, a quiche and some sausages on the grill. And it was, as J'amai would say, totally quiche.

At this time of year, the valley is sliced by a bubbling creek which falls into an overgrown waterhole (which, unfortunately runs dry during summer), and it's surrounded by naturally formed rock walls and one rocky rise. There's plenty of shade, low-hanging tree limbs to climb, old bones to collect, mud to fall in and places to hide. Basically, it's kid heaven.

Zucchini and parmesan quiche

This is the simplest of tarts, but it tastes good and does look quite pretty if you fan the slices into a pattern. I'd usually serve it with a spicy tomato chutney or relish but forgot both yesterday so we made do with a radish and rocket salad and sausages from the hot plate. Also, you could of course, swap the zucchinis with any other soft vegetable you have in the garden or fridge (asparagus and/or peas would be nice). 

Shortcrust pastry

400g plain flour
1 tsp salt
200g butter, diced
1/3 cup iced water
1 tsp salt

Measure out the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the diced butter and place in the freezer for half an hour. Then tip the lot into the bowl of a food processor, add the iced water and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Turn this out to a lightly floured bench and bring together with the heel of both hands until you have a smooth dough.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Shape into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly dusted work surface and roll out the pastry until about 5mm thick. Gently drape into a loose-bottomed tart tin, trim the edges and wrap excess pastry in plastic (once rested for half an hour or so, you can roll it out to make another small tart. Prick the base of your tart a few times with a fork then line with baking paper and cover with either baking weights or dried beans. Let rest again in the fridge for 30 minutes. Blind bake for 10 minutes, remove weights and paper, and return to oven for another 10 minutes.

For the filling

4 fresh, free-range eggs
1/2 cup cream
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper
1 zucchini, sliced thinly

Whisk the eggs, cream, lemon zest and cheese together and season to taste. Pour this mixture into the tart shell then arrange the zucchini slices on top. Gently place tart back in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve warm.


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