Butternut Squash, Mushroom + Stilton Quiche

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There’s something so alluring about a beautifully baked quiche, just waiting for the first cut. I’m not sure if it’s the golden pastry peeping out around the edges or the shiny surface hinting at what awaits inside.

Sweet, tender butternut squash peeping through gives this quiche a delicate orange hue. Along with the sweet caramelised onions, floral rosemary and earthy mushrooms; it has a savoury sweetness that’s contrasted against the strong stilton cheese.

Savoury tarts aren’t something that’s thrown together. It takes time, but the reward of a soft-set rich slice of warm quiche waiting at the end more than makes up for it. There are a few crucial steps to make an exceptionally good quiche. Blind baking the shortcrust pastry and egg washing it to ensure a crisp base is the first. The second, is baking it until the filling is puffed and golden with an ever so slight wobble in the centre which will result in a velvet soft filling. I also choose to opt for a deep pie-style dish so that you have a tall slice that stands proud.

Quiches are such an adaptable bake. They’re perfect for lunch and dinner as well as those peckish moments. A way to use up spare vegetables, an excuse to spend a few hours tucked away in the kitchen or a need for a stunning picnic item; quiche is the answer.

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Cheddar + Garlic Herb Buttermilk Twist Bread

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I’ve been eating a lot of cheese lately. Since we’ve been blessed with some warmer days here in England, picnics have become more frequent and so have the cheese and meat plates. Browsing artisan British cheeses in lovely little Deli’s is one of my favourite things to do. Having beautifully made ingredients in my fridge is something that really inspires me to cook. It’s so gratifying to rummage in the fridge and emerge with an idea for a delicious meal.

Having this alluring loaf made me really look forward to breakfast and lunch for a couple of days. My housemate had leftover buttermilk from her homemade cultured butter, so it was the perfect excuse to make some buttermilk bread.

This isn’t the kind of bread to make a sandwich with. Its delicate and soft with a crisp cheesy shell. The strong basil and rosemary garlic butter leaves grooves in the fluffy buttermilk dough where its been absorbed along with the melted cheddar and parmesan. My favourite way of eating it is to toast it, spread over a thin layer of butter, followed by a layer of thinly sliced cheddar (yes, cheese on cheese bread), a sliced pickled walnut and a few slices of ripe tomato. It’s a very grown up version of a cheese and pickle sandwich. It’s also lovely with avocado and eggs as well as just on it own.

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French Toast with Blueberry Compote and Whipped Ricotta

IMG_2762The first time I tasted French Toast was about two and half years ago. As part of my job, I was offered a free stay in the Hotel. This was a crazy treat on its own, but the food was what I was really excited about. My friend and I ate our way through what seemed like the entire menu that evening. Even when they offered us espresso martini’s, I had to genuinely consider if I could manage it.

After getting dressed up the previous night, all I wanted the following morning was a lazy, minimal effort start to the day. Something about ordering room service seems so luxurious to me. With the quick dial of a phone, you can place your order and then half an hour later your food miraculously arrives. No effort required, and more importantly, no dishes to wash. I certainly don’t shy at the opportunity of free food so I placed a huge order of coffee, fresh orange juice, full english breakfast, Danish pastries and french toast. Lets just say my eyes are always, without fail, bigger than my stomach.

I felt so absurdly posh sitting in my fluffy oversized dressing gown in my oversized room with my oversized breakfast. I went for the full english first because I needed some savoury to prepare myself for my sweets. I tucked into my french toast next without hesitation, took one bite, simply looked at my friend and muttered ‘oh my god’ through a mouthful of brioche. It was honest to god, one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. So simple but done so well. Crisp on the outside but soft and pillowy on the inside. It was paired with a generous helping of clotted cream and mixed berries… because rich buttery fried brioche isn’t enough.

From now on, whenever someone new joins our team and they book their stay. My one piece of advice is ‘just please, get the french toast.’IMG_2636IMG_2675 IMG_2678 IMG_2705 IMG_2721 IMG_2744 Continue reading “French Toast with Blueberry Compote and Whipped Ricotta”