I’ve been through a period of my life where I just haven’t been cooking much and I’ve come to realize that this is a form of depression. I don’t meant that to mean depression in the ‘something is wrong’ sense’, but more sort of depression as in ‘not being connected to creativity and joy’.
It’s been a period of time spent more outside of home, work has been in a massive transition space and it has just simply been a phase of my life where cooking took a back seat. When that happens, I feel disconnected from my creativity and my creativity around food connects me to spirit and joy and to my need to nurture others and because of the way we eat, consciously, it connects me to the one of life’s most vital and sacred impulses. You try and feel that and then lose it….I always long for it to return when I do…
I guess there are times in all our lives where we need to be more pragmatic, more head centred and more task oriented and there’s time for phases that are more creative, heart and soul centred. I don’t know how that most dramatically plays out in your own life but for me it centres around nourishment, food and the kitchen. When I return to the kitchen with a need to play and a deep desire to make something for others, it is always my signal that I’m returning to a particular place and ready to re-connect to a less cerebral space. It always feels like ‘coming home’.
So this ‘quiche’ and again – I use that loosely because I actually think this turned out more sort of ‘frittata’ish’ – was that for me on Saturday morning. I woke up, the sun was shining, early morning dew was glistening off the green in the garden. I went and sat outside in my home veggie patch and watched the sun making her precense felt and I woke up slowly there. After some time, I noticed a sense of peace followed by joy slowly bubble up from within.
It was while I was staring at the bright lights spinach actually thatI got a great urge to ‘make something’. I was so thrilled just to be feeling that again, a soulful impulse, that I jumped up, ran inside to get a box and to pick things to make a breakfast quiche with.
So first thoughts were that I’d make a flourless, grain-less quiche type of thing. I thought back to that amazing week-end spent with Lisa from Alpha Farms and how she shared grain and low carb recipes that she used for her father who cured his type 2 diabetes apparently with a low-carb diet and I remember her saying that she used sesame seeds as a base.
So I started picking things that I wanted to go in the quiche. First I pre-heated the oven because I knew I had some butternut cut up in the fridge and thought I’d roast some in olive oil and rosemary which I did.
Then I picked the vegetables..
So here’s the recipe…
- 1 cup of butternut – tossed in olive oil with 1 sprig of rosemary coarsely diced – roast at 180 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until soft
- 6 eggs
- 1.5 cups of milk
- 1/2 cup cream (optional – or add another 1/2 cup of milk)
- garlic cloves to taste (I used 3 because I’m freaky about garlic) chopped coarsely
- 50g butter
- 1 onion – chopped
- 1 chilli finely chopped – if this is for grown ups only…totally optional but it is chilli season so great to put it in if you can
- 2 cups roughly of spinach – you could also use kale or pak choi – roughly chopped
- 1 -2 cups sesame seeds – I used black but you could use brown – use as much as will cover your quiche dish
- 1/2 cup cheese of choice – I used organic gouda but next time would use something stronger like pecorino or rather a goat’s cheese – there is space for stronger flavours in this quiche – actually even a blue would be gorgeous if you’re that way inclined
- Olive oil for drizzling
Ok – so start by roasting the butternut.
Heat your olive oil and the butter in a pan, turn heat down to low-medium and add the onions and garlic and let them gently fry until the onions are soft.
Once your onions are soft and you have a gorgeous yellowey brew in the pan – add the spinach leaves and let them wilt into the mixture.
Pan toast the sesame seeds by just putting them dry into a hot pan. The way to tell whether they are cooked is your nose. Especially with the black ones, good luck with trying to figure it out by sight…smell the seeds, they tell you exactly where they are at by nose…if you smell ‘toasted sesame seeds’ you’re on the right track, you’ll smell immediately as they start to smell ‘too roasted’ – take them off then before you smell ‘burnt sesame seeds’ which would then be too late…
Melt a little butter and coat your quiche/frittata/whatever dish with the butter or some olive oil and scatter over the sesame seeds – enough to cover the base.
Put it in the oven and blind bake for 10 minutes, the sesame seeds will bind. Note – I didn’t do this and the sesame seeds all sort of rose into the quiche as I poured the egg mixture in – I can’t work out what I thought was going to happen – it was delicious all the same – but still you probably want the seeds to rather for a base
Whisk together the eggs, cream and milk.
Add salt and pepper of course.
Remove your dish from the oven with the grilled sesame seed base and add the butternut and spinach mixture…
Pour over the egg and milk mixture and the throw in the cheese.
Bake at 180 degress until firm – roughly 30 -40 minutes..
Once it’s ready – serve. It’s such a wholesome flavoured dish and textured. It’s rustic and just so rewarding to eat. We had this for brunch on Saturday with Mandy’s smoked chicken, and I’ll be doing this again and again.
Music. When I cook, I’m in literal heaven if I cook with music because that brings together my 2 largest passions in life. What I want as the back-drop varies according to the atmosphere I want to be in. So from here on, I’ll always add a sound-track to a recipe that brings you the mood of my kitchen at the time. And yes, I am suggesting that if you creep into your kitchen on a Saturday morning, press play on the Norah Jones play list and start making a gorgeous breakfast like this, you might find joy….
Norah Jones – The Album ‘Little Broken Hearts’. Sound-track ‘After The Fall’.