With the warmer weather finally upon us, I find myself drawn to lighter meals. After a hot and busy day, the only thing I can seem to throw together is simple, easy, tasty meals using fresh ingredients. Last week I happened upon an old favourite and served with a fresh salad, it ticks all the boxes.
My family in South Africa have started a WhatsApp group, and because of the time difference, I can’t always join in the steady stream of hilarious conversation and quips, but I have the pleasure of waking up to recorded conversations that somehow take on a life of their own. For those of you who don’t know what WhatsApp is, it is another form of social media – an app that is downloaded onto your mobile phone and you add comments as you please. A free (for the first year and thereafter a very low subscription fee) form of instant communication where photos, videos, etc. can be shared. Right, WhatsApp, I’ll send you my fees for advertising, lol!
It makes me smile and sometimes laugh out loud, knowing my extended family’s characters, seeing what they’ve added to the thread and the funny and sometimes downright barmy direction that the conversation often takes until eventually it all dies down as they’ve got busy with their days or lost interest and moved on. It’s a wonderful way to start the day (for me) and conjours up mixed feelings; happy to be in contact with cousins, aunts and uncles again, but a little sad that we chose to move so far away. But I can’t and don’t regret our decision. We’ve been privileged to live in this beautiful country for almost 11 years now and I can’t imagine living anywhere else – except possibly in a villa in Tuscany, but that’s a dream for another day.
So back to my quiche – courgettes, also known as zucchini (courgette being of French origin while zucchini being the Italian version of what is effectively the same vegetable); are sometimes rather bland and oft times a little bitter, but I find that using them in this dish is a deliciously different way of making sure everyone eats these healthy greens (or yellows, but I haven’t seen yellow ones in New Zealand – we used to get them in SA).
As I’ve said before, my family, thankfully, don’t have a problem eating their veggies and they are often the first things to disappear off the plates, but some families aren’t so lucky, so this is a great way to enjoy them, especially combined with the saltiness of the bacon.
1 x 250 g bacon, sliced/chopped
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large courgette, sliced
100 ml cream
50 g Gruyere cheese, grated
1 x 375 g ready rolled short crust pastry
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (180° fan-forced). Line a 23cm fluted tart tin with removable base – I prefer these as it’s much easier getting it out afterwards! Prick the base with a fork a few times (to release air bubbles during cooking) and line with baking paper. Fill with baking beans or uncooked dry rice. Blind bake for 12 minutes. Remove paper and beans/rice and bake the empty crust for a further 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to 170°C (fan-forced 150°C).
- Fry the onion in the olive oil until soft and almost transparent. Add the chopped/sliced bacon and crushed garlic and fry for 5 minutes. Then add the sliced courgette and cook for a further 5 minutes. Turn the heat down if necessary as you don’t want the garlic to burn.
- Transfer the courgette/bacon mixture to the empty tart/quiche shell and spread out evenly.
- Beat the eggs and cream in a bowl. Season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper and pour over the bacon/courgette mixture in the tart shell.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese over and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. If you like a slightly crispy and browned top, then turn the heat up to 180°C for the final 5 minutes.
- Serve with a fresh salad.