In many restaurants in France, I have been served a vegetable flan as a side dish with either meat or fish. Some were more interesting than others, but they all had one thing in common – a thick, eggy custard base, usually flavored with a little bit of cheese. This fragrant carrot and courgette flan is a perfect side dish to chicken, yet I think with a salad and a glass of wine it would make a perfect light lunch.
Carrot & Courgette Flan
- 300g courgette (1 medium)
- 170g carrots (about 4)
- knob of butter
- 1 tbsp mild olive oil, plus extra to grease the baking dish
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 eggs
- 200ml crème fraîche
- 50ml milk
- 1 tsp dried coriander
- 1 tsp dried mint
- salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper
- 60g grated goat’s cheese
Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 27 x 17 cm baking dish with a little mild olive oil. Grate the carrots and courgette. Melt the butter with the olive and gently sweat the shallots and garlic for about 2-3 minutes. Increase the heat, add the grated vegetables and cook while stirring for a further 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, crème fraîche, milk, coriander, mint and salt and pepper. Stir in the goat’s cheese. Transfer the vegetables to the greased baking dish and pour the batter over them. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. You might want to cover the dish after about half an hour.
This weekend I slowly started to give the house little hints of Christmas; a string of lights on the mantelpiece and lots more candles. It’s so funny. When summer is almost at its end, I will be the first one to start lamenting its departure. I hate to think about the dark, dreary days ahead. The cold, or worse… the snow. I really am not a fan of snow — unless it’s on Christmas day and no one has to leave the house because we’re all in our pyjamas stuffing our face.
OK, I know. I posted a quiche recipe just last week, but honestly, is there really such a thing as ‘too much quiche’? Exactly. Quiche is one of those versatile dishes that looks pretty, tastes great and is perfect for a million and one different occasions. You can have quiche for lunch or dinner (although why not for breakfast or brunch?), take it along on a picnic, bring it to a potluck or to a neighbor or friend in need of a little TLC, and it makes great leftovers. The variations are pretty much endless. I actually can’t think of a single ingredient that won’t go well in a quiche. Have you ever had an escargot quiche, for example? Looks and sounds like heaven to me!
Quiche is also the perfect answer to a busy weeknight and a fridge full of bits and pieces that need to be used up.
I honestly could not imagine serving a good pâté without a nice dollop of French onion jam (confit d’oignons). But I also love it with so many other things: cheese, sandwiches and even savory pies. The following recipe is one I’ve tried and tested time and time again. It’s really easy to make. So easy, that I’ve included another recipe (using the jam) as an added bonus. I hope you’ll enjoy the new video and hopefully try the recipes!
French Onion Jam
- 40 g butter
- 400 g onions, thinly sliced
- fleur de sel and freshly-cracked pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 50 g raisins
- 50 g raw can sugar
- 50 ml dry white wine
- 50 ml red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsps balsamic syrup
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan, add the onions and season with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Let them cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for about ten minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients and let the jam cook for an additional 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a sterilized jar.
Savory tarts with goat’s cheese and onion jam
Serves 1 (multiply recipe as needed)
- 1 small square sheet of puff pastry (approx. 12 x 12 cm)
- 1 thin slices bacon or pancetta
- 1 tbsp onion jam
- a bit of soft, creamy goat’s cheese
- a little milk or beaten, to brush the tarts with
- a handful of mixed salad leaves
Preheat the oven to 220°C and put a slice of bacon on each sheet. Follow with the onion jam and the goat’s cheese. Bring the four corners of the pastry squares toward the center and brush the tarts with a little milk or beaten egg. Bake the tarts for approximately 10 minutes or until golden. Serve the warm tarts on a bed of mixed greens. Delicious with a crip, white Bergerac or a minerally Sancerre.