Sunday, January 13, 2008
Sometimes you find the most wonderful things in the most unexpected places. They catch you off-guard and the moment is made magic because you could never have even dreamed it up. I wouldn't say I'm a romantic person by any stretch but sometimes a girl needs something to take her breath away, make her forget where she's standing and just be completely captivated. But no, I'm not talking about a man right now... I'm talking about a cookbook...mostly :)
I just returned from 10 days in Perth, which is Sydney's little sister all the way over on the west coast of Australia. I stayed with a good friend who gladly let me take over his kitchen and even helped as we cooked all sorts of yummy things. I won't lie, supplies needed to be purchased, but he is now the proud owner of a baking dish, a removable-bottom cake pan and a nifty set of measuring cups and I can only hope that he gets some use out of them now that I've gone. We wandered around the lovely and historic Subiaco, visited two patisseries only to find them both closed, we ate fish and chips on the beach, sat in the gorgeous Kings Park, and I went on my first ever camping trip to Margaret River. It's a small, quaint little town about 300km south of Perth famous for local wine and surfing beaches. We explored Mammoth Cave, which was an incredibly well preserved natural wonder, and watched an amazing sunset over the Indian Ocean, something I've never had the pleasure of seeing for myself before. Unfortunately though, the camera battery died on our first day there, so we didn't get many photos of Margaret River, but stay tuned for photos of the rest of the trip!
It was in this tiny little town that I found a cookbook I've had my eye on for months now, Chocolate and Zucchini by Clotilde Dusoulier, who you all know from her blog of the same name, Chocolate and Zucchini. I couldn't believe that I found the book in Margaret River when I couldn't find it in Sydney! On the car trip home I pored over the pages (and dribbled over the photos) and decided right away on a quiche recipe that would be perfect for a picnic we were planning.
We used what we had on hand to make the quiches, this involved substituting macadamias for the cashews specified in the original recipe, parsley for tarragon and Swiss cheese for Gruyére. The tiny quiches held up perfectly on the picnic. I liked the chunkiness, with each bite a melding of flavours and textures. I had been thinking about putting nuts into a quiche for some time now, and I was more than happy with the result. What's more was that they were easy and fun to make! Thanks Clotilde, if you happen to see this. Your book is a very welcome addition to my growing cookbook collection, and I hope you enjoy your time in Perth this year too!
Chicken and Macadamia Mini Quiches
Adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini by Clotilde Dusoulier
• 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus extra for greasing
• 3 small chicken breasts, cut into 1cm cubes
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 3 ripe tomatoes
• 3 large eggs
• 1 ½ cups milk
• 90g plain flour
• Sea salt and cracked black pepper
• ½ cup Swiss cheese, grated
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 90g macadamias, chopped roughly
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) and use a pastry brush to grease a muffin pan with olive oil.
2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, stirring for a few seconds before adding the cubes of chicken. Cook until golden and pieces are slightly firm. Allow to cool.
3. Halve and core the tomatoes, discarding the seeds and juice. Dice the flesh into 1cm cubes.
4. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the milk and whisk again. Sift in the flour, salt and pepper.
5. Add the chicken, cheese, tomatoes, parsley and macadamias and stir with a spoon.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until golden and puffy. Transfer to a rack for 2 minutes to cool, then unmould to cool completely.