Father’s Day is just around the corner, and in typical Aussie fashion, coupled with the fact that so many of us are living with pretty heavy Covid restrictions in place, a lot of celebrations will be happening around the dining table at home. The last thing anyone needs is stress on a day that should be full of laughter and love, so if you’re after something a little more sophisticated than a barbeque, but won’t have you stuck in then kitchen all day, I’ve got you covered.
Spinach and Goats’ Cheese Qucihe
1/2 cup ice cold water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
165g of salted butter, very cold and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups baby spinach
2 teaspoons thyme
6 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup thickened cream
Pinch of salt
170g goats cheese
- In a measuring jug, combine the water with the apple cider vinegar. Place in the freezer until you are ready to use.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornflour, salt and sugar. Mix well. Add the cold butter cubes and toss in flour, making sure each piece is coated well. Use a pastry cutter to cut the flour and butter together, until the butter is about the size of peas.
- Slowly add the cold water (start with about half), and fold into the mixture using a rubber spatula until there are just a few dry bits left. If the dough is too dry and isn’t holding together, and the remaining water, bit at a time, until the dough just comes together.
- Gather the dough together and pour onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead the dough into a ball. Form into a disk and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour before commencing the next step.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured bench. Commence rolling from the centre of the disk, rotating a quarter turn on each stroke. Roll until the dough overhangs the pan by about 3 inches.
- Fold the dough in half and lay it across one side of a greased pie dish, placing the seam of the dough across the middle of the dish. Gently unfold the crust, then use your hands to fit the dough into the pan. Prick the base several times with a fork, then trim the dough so the overhang is now only 1/2″. Refrigerate the crust for at least an hour, or ideally overnight.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and line with baking paper. Blind bake the crust for about 15mins, then remove the weights and baking paper and continue baking for about 10mins, or until the bottom of the dough has dried out.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent. Add the spinach and herbs. Gently cook until the spinach is just wilted, remove from heat immediately.
- In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk and cream. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle half the goats cheese over the pastry crust, then top with sauteed veggies. Pour in the egg mixture, and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake for 45-50mins, or until golden on top.
- Remove from the oven. Serve at any temperature.
Strawberry and Cream Loaf
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups + 2 teaspoons of plain flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 cups of strawberries, diced to the size of blueberries
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Freeze dried strawberries, to decorate
- Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 9 1/2″ x 5″ loaf pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, mix the 2 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together well.
- Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the egg mixture, mixing until just combined.
- In a separate bowl, toss the berry pieces in the 2 teaspoons flour until coated. Gently fold the berries into the batter, then pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 70 mins, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 20 mins, then remove and leave to cool completely on a wire rack
- To make the icing, beat powdered sugar, cream and vanilla together to make a thick paste. Spread immediately onto completely cooled loaf, before the icing sets. Top with freeze-dried strawberries, serve.