Gluten-Free Broccoli Quiche

Broccoli Quiche slice

Ingredients:

200g gluten-free plain flour
1 tsp of xantham gum
100g of butter
6 eggs
300ml of whole/full-fat milk
1 small broccoli (approx 100g) chopped into small florets
1 small leek, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
150g of grated cheese (we use 75g of medium cheddar and 75g of hard goat’s cheese)

Broccoli Quiche

Method:

Add gluten-free flour and xantham gum to a bowl, then rub in the butter until it resembles the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Add up to 3 tablespoons of cold water and splash of olive oil to the pastry and combine until it starts to resemble a firm, moist dough, then set aside.

Heat a splash of oil in a medium sized frying pan, then add the onion and leek and cook for 3 minutes or until they start to turn translucent.

Mix in the broccoli florets to the frying pan and cook for a further 3-5 minutes or until it starts to soften. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In another bowl or jug combine the eggs and milk, season with salt and pepper and whisk until thoroughly combined.

Put the pastry between two sheets of grease-proof paper and roll out flat until it is the size of an oven-proof pie or quiche dish. It should be no more than 1/2 centimeter thick. For best results, transfer it to the pie dish and blind bake the pastry, then remove from the oven.

Add half the vegetables into the pastry, sprinkle with half the cheese, add the remaining vegetables and then pour in the mixed eggs and milk. Gently shake the pie dish to allow the liquid to cover all the other ingredients and seep between the gaps. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the top.

Cook the quiche in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees or until a skewer or knife can be inserted into the quiche and comes out clean. This will rise in the oven like a souffle but will sink down once it has been removed from the heat.

Allow the quiche to cool completely before cutting into it, but it can be eaten hot or cold.

Have a lovely week! X

The Jewel Garden by Monty & Sarah Don

TheJewelGarden

March is an unpredictable and changeable month in our part of the world, today we’ve had snow, sunshine and hail stones, and it’ll be a while yet until we can risk sowing any seeds in the garden, but a good friend and fellow urban gardener gave me a copy of this to read to tide me over.

Perhaps because I’ve only relatively recently fallen in love with gardening, I didn’t really know much about Monty (or Montagu as he prefers) Don, and found this to be a fascinating insight into his life. The Jewel Garden initially follows a fairly typical rags-to-riches trajectory as Monty and Sarah describe being newly married and desperately poor when they decide to start a jewellery making business together in 1981; coinciding with the glamour and extravagance of the 1980s, their jewellery became an international success. Yet by 1989, their good fortune seemed to have run out as the business was struggling, they were on the verge of bankruptcy, Sarah had a slipped disc and Monty was sinking into a depression.

TheJewelGarden2

Monty writes openly and honestly about this period in their life, the apathy and lethargy, fatigue and restlessness, and the overwhelming sense of hopelessness he felt. Although Monty recognises the role that anti-depressants and a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy played in his recovery, he also extols the virtues of gardening which combines fresh air and natural light with gentle exercise, a sense of purpose and productivity.

The second half of the book focuses on the design and cultivation of the gardens at their current home, Longmeadow, including the stunning Jewel Garden, which was a reminder of their past but also symbolized rebirth and change. Their writing beautifully captures all the excitement of creating a border or garden from scratch, and all the creativity and experimentation that goes on behind the scenes. My only real criticism is that the gardens are vividly described but I’d have liked to see more photos, and at times it read like a list of every flower and plant in their garden.

I found The Jewel Garden to be an inspiring, moving and thoroughly entertaining read that left me itching to get back out into my own little garden. Have a lovely week! X

Early Signs of Spring

Early Signs of Spring

The shortest month of the year felt like the longest for us, and it was a relief to turn the page of the calendar and welcome both a new month and a new season. Over the last few days, I’ve enjoyed noticing all the little signs – from the first daffodil about to unfurl in our garden to the light creeping back into our mornings and evenings – that spring is on the way.

The end of February was unseasonably warm across the UK – such a contrast from this time last year when our garden was under a foot of snow, but for the most part we’ve had frosty mornings, sunny afternoons and cooler evenings in our part of the country. It’s been warm enough to resume my lunchtime walks in the park near my office, where I spotted catkins dangling from the trees like party decorations, and in our front garden the little Kilmarnock willow has also started producing furry catkins.

There still isn’t much growing in our garden yet, but we’ve started off a few things inside. In a fit of nostalgia, my spouse and I decided to grow something that reminded of us of our childhoods. My husband often reminisces about growing potatoes with his stepdad on their allotment, and there are now potatoes chitting on one of the windowsills. We’ve also started off some sweat peas, which remind me of happy hours spent playing in my grandparents’ garden. I let my husband pick whichever colours he liked, but insisted he stick to scented varieties.

When life feels overwhelming, there is something incredibly steadying about nature and the familiar cycle of the seasons; again and again, nature somehow finds a way to endure the harshest winters, scorching summers, and everything in between. Have a lovely week. X