Creme de la creme: Quiche Lorraine

This will sound ridiculous, but I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday. I was thinking about bacon and egg pie (it’s back in vogue, apparently) and wondering if it was solely an Antipodean thing when it struck me that a bacon and egg pie is essentially quiche Lorraine. Well, sort of. I mean, bacon and egg pie might be lacking the cream, but it has the eggs, bacon and pastry. What more evidence do you need?

To test my theory, I dug deep into Elizabeth David and found her recipe for quiche Lorraine. Before I knew it, I had pastry resting on the bench and was measuring out cream like there was no tomorrow. If you ate like this all the time, I fear there wouldn’t be many tomorrows at all. But mon Dieu, as a Lorrainer might say, it’s worth it occasionally.

Traditional Quiche Lorraine

Elizabeth David’s Quiche Lorraine
This is so incredibly simple – and outrageously good. David says this serves four, but I think they would be four people with a very high tolerance for butter, cream and eggs. Vegans or people with high cholesterol, look away now!

60g butter
125g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 egg

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then rub the butter until it is crumbly. Add the egg and mix well with your hands. Add a drop or two of water if needed to make a soft dough that comes away clean from the bowl. Wrap in clingfilm and let rest for at least two hours. When you’re ready, roll it out thinly and line a 20cm flan tin. Prick the surface with a fork.

6 thin rashers of streaky bacon (I used three fat rashers of shoulder bacon because that’s what we had)
300ml cream
3 egg yolks
1 egg
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C. Cook the bacon in a frying pan for a minute or two, then cut into small pieces. Arrange these on the pastry. Mix the cream and eggs, then season with a tiny bit of salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Pour into the pastry-lined tin and put in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180C and cook for another 10 minutes. The filling will puff up and turn golden brown. Let it rest for a minute or two when out of the oven, then serve. It’s good at room temperature too, but don’t eat it cold from the fridge.

Foie out: a culinary dilemma

The text message was short and to the point: “Do you want some foie gras?”

My fingers hovered above my phone. What to reply?

I thought about it for a minute or two, then texted back: “Um, is it bad to say YES PLEASE?”

Depending on your point of view, foie gras is either one of the most delectable foodstuffs of all time or the cruel byproduct of man’s inhumanity to animals. There’s no delicate way to put this, but it’s made from the engorged livers of ducks or geese who have been force-fed. Lovers of foie gras, which is most often made into pate, swoon at the thought of its creamy, rich, flavours whereas animal rights advocates are more likely to faint from suppressed rage.

Our benefactor, a vegetarian, had received this precious jar from some visiting French friends. She gave a Gallic shrug when I asked her about it, claiming it didn’t bother her whether other people ate it or not, but she knew it would go to waste at her place. So it’s now sitting in our fridge, with a large chunk missing after a visiting lover of foie gras and France seized upon it with absolute delight. Perhaps he should have taken it with him, because I haven’t quite been able to follow suit yet.

Where do you stand on the foie gras debate? Is there anything else you don’t eat for ethical reasons?

Musical Monday: Nantes

One of my favourite bands, playing one of my favourite songs, in one of my favourite parts of Paris…

Musical Monday: Écoute moi camarade

Last night, doing the dishes, I suddenly realised that this is the first time in five years that we haven’t been in France in mid-September. This time last year we were in a tiny apartment in Paris and the Small Girl had slept through the night for the first time (her exhausted parents lay awake anyway, because they couldn’t believe she wasn’t going to wake up). The year before that, Corsica, where I suspected I might be pregnant but ate lots of unpasteurised cheese anyway.
September is the time of La Rentree in France – everyone gets sorted and goes back to school or work after the long summer holidays. I think September in New Zealand is about waiting for the rain to stop!