Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Smoked Cheddar Cheese and Asparagus Quiche

Smoked Cheddar and Asparagus Quiche (0035) by Meeta K. Wolff 
She was always very meticulous and precise in the kitchen, never a hint of chaos or hectic surrounding her. The perfect hostess at the several dinner parties held at the apartment overlooking the bay. Depending on the time of the day the sea shimmered all shades of blue and green. I would often watch her looking out of the large windows far into the horizon. In the kitchen she always looked so peaceful and in her element.

My mother never seemed at ease anywhere else more than in the kitchen. It was her retreat where she shut noise and turmoil out and replaced these with serenity and order. When it came to organizing and planning parties and other social events for their large group of friends, many would depend on her to replace mayhem with her systematical and calm order. 

Smoked Cheddar and Asparagus Quiche (0026) by Meeta K. Wolff

One of the things I remember fondly are the picnics she would organize. Whether it was at the foot of the Pyramids in Cairo, the beaches of Kuwait or in a Bedouin tent in the desserts of Qatar my mother would gather her friends and families together for an amusing and delicious day.

The warm breeze of early spring would entice us outdoors to spend long and lazy days in the sun, under lush green trees, playing ball games and cards. Somewhere in the distance an old cassette player would be strumming the tunes of ABBA’s Super Trouper. A floral print blanket, spread out on the sparse grass added a splash of color and the bubbly chatter rises a notch as wicker baskets are unpacked. Out emerge the incredible home-made treats, each one carefully prepared and neatly arranged on the blanket. Flaky puff pastry spread with cream and crowned with tangy raspberries, crisp salads, wobbly puddings, light cucumber and tomato sandwiches drizzled with a mint chutney or savory bites of mini pizzas and tarts. When the picnic baskets were empty the ladies would gather their men folk and kids around the picnic blanket and as praise and flattery flowed in all directions, my dad would wink at mum appreciatively. 

Market Fresh by Meeta K. Wolff

These tiny moments I would catch from my parents have been inscribed in my memory: my mum humming in the kitchen or gazing out into the sea finding her moment of tranquility or my dad’s silent display of affection. Now, when I am filling my own basket with picnic fare, I think back to the several picnics I enjoyed with my parents, cherishing the memories of some faintly recollected moments and other crystal clear reflections.

For me picnics are a quintessence of summer and family time together. My parents created monumental memories for me and I hope to do the same for my son. We love picnics and pack our bags or baskets whenever time and weather allows us to. I cherish these few moments more now. With Tom working in Stockholm for 10 day stretches our time together is limited. There are times when one will want to laze around, the other will want to spend outdoors - picnics always solve that problem.

Smoked Cheddar and Asparagus Quiche (0037) by Meeta K. Wolff

One of my favorite dishes for picnics are quiches and now when summer supplies us with ample produce to create many variations, there is plenty of room for creativity.

This quiche uses crunchy, green asparagus fresh from the market, highlighted with some divine smoked cheddar cheese I brought back from the Plate to Page weekend in Somerset and a trip to Brown & Forrest smokery. A spectacular combination.

Recipe: Smoked Cheddar and Asparagus Quiche

Printable version of recipe here

Smoked Cheddar and Asparagus Quiche by Meeta K. Wolff

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 65 minutes
Serves: approx. 6-8 slices

Ingredients:

  • 140g all-purpose flour
  • 85g butter, cubed
  • 85g smoked cheddar, finely grated
  • 5 eggs
  • 175ml milk
  • 100g smoked cheddar, grated
  • 300g green asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • fleur de sel and freshly cracked pepper

Method:

  1. Put flour and cubed butter into a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the grated cheddar into the pastry and whizz the processor just a couple of times to incorporate. Add 3 tablespoons cold water and mix until the pastry forms a ball. Do not over-process. Alternatively you can make the pastry with your hands by simply adding flour and butter to a bowl and rub with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the cheddar, kneading to incorporate then add the water and knead until the pastry comes together to form a ball.

  2. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 5 minutes. Butter a quiche or tart form.

  3. Heat oven to 180 degree. Lightly dust the work surface with flour, roll out the pastry and line the form. Place in the freezer and chill in for 20 minutes. Line the pastry case with baking paper, fill with beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, then return the pastry case to the oven for a further 10 minutes.

  4. Break the eggs into a jug, whisk lightly, then pour the milk, add fleur de sell and pepper to taste and whisk to incorporate. Sprinkle half the grated cheese over the pastry case, then add the asparagus, egg mixture and remaining cheese (you may not need all the mixture, so add it gradually). Bake in the lower half of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the egg mixture has set.

Note: If you cannot find smoked cheddar you can substitute it with regular cheddar like Montgomery.


Verdict

Smoked Cheddar and Asparagus Quiche (0025) by Meeta K. Wolff

Jesse Pattison the owner of the smokery stressed the point that smoking an item to the point where it looses its flavor is not something they believe in. And indeed the sublime flavor of rich cheddar with subtle notes of smokiness works so well when paired with delicate vegetables like asparagus. It’s magnificent picnic fare, together with some clotted cream berry tarts and some spritzig elderflower lemonade, you have the settings for a grand day with family and friends .

Enjoy!

Talking about family and friends: Being part of the food blogging community had so many rewards but the one that I love the most is the friendships you make along the way. I’ve “known” Anne of Anne’s Food and Dagmar of A Cat in the Kitchen virtually for several years now chatting via Twitter or Facebook often, but we’ve never met in person. Now it’s all changing and I am excited. I’ll be flying to Stockholm with Soeren tomorrow to spend the weekend there with Tom. Anne has invited us all over to enjoy Midsummer meal with her, her family, Dagmar and her family on Friday. This for me is the essence of blogging and it makes me smile from ear to ear. I have packed bratwurst and prosecco for the feast and look forward to meeting old-new friends.

Have a great weekend everyone!

You might like these picnic ideas from WFLH:

Asparagus Fennel Tortilla (0023) by MeetaK Vol Au Vents- Chicken Ricotta (01) by MeetaK Mirabelles Lemon Poppy Seed Foccacia (02) by MeetaK
Spanish Tortilla with Asparagus, Fennel & Cress Vol-Au-Vents - Ricotta Spinach Chicken Dimpled Mirabelle Plum Foccacia with Lemon Poppy Seed Butter


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

29 comments :

  1. Beautiful memories, Meeta, and what a charmed life you all led with this wonderful woman! I can understand how you retained such perfect, vivid memories. And I love the quiche, the smoked cheddar must be amazing and a great complement to the asparagus. We've love picnics and have been waiting for the summer to arrive so picnic season can commence. Lovely post, beautiful photos!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What wonderful memories Meeta. I love looking back on memories like that. I can't believe you picnicked near the pyramids in Cairo! It's my dream to see the pyramids one day.

    Your quiche looks amazing. I especially like the sound of the smoked cheddar with the aspargus. Your picnic spread looks divine too. I love the colourful salad and berries.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love picnics. Your quiche looks amazing! A pity I can't find smoked cheddar here as it is a great addition to your savory tart.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  4. Years from now Soeren will be telling his own children about the amazing picnics his mother planned for him. What wonderful memories you are creating!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This looks so beautiful and amazing Meeta! I remember passing through asparagus fields when I visited germany many moons ago...it was so magical and makes me feel nostalgic. This post brought back those memories.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yum! That looks absolutely wonderful! You are so very welcome here, I'm really looking forward to it :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Was pleasantly surprised to see your comment today Meeta. Been ages! I just can't find to bloghop these days although I do come across almost all your gorgeous pics on Pinterest these days :) Thanks for staying in touch!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Awesome memories....everyone need those to go on in life....beautiful recipe.....

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for dropping by, loved reading about your mom and her dexterity in organizing events. And as you said it..Picnic is certainly the best way if one wants to laze around and other want outdoor.
    What dreamy pictures..love the cutlery, basket, quiche..everything!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lovely to slip into your childhood world. Images we would all love to reproduce.
    How smart to bring back some smoked cheddar... I think next plate to page I'm bring one outfit, computer and camera and LOADS of space for the return!
    Love the smoked cheddar and asparagus combo.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The kitchen is a retreat for me also. I feel so good and calm in the kitchen. Really nice photos.

    ReplyDelete
  12. so beautiful Meeta! I shot a picnic theme recently in the middle of winter and it is so hard to re-create this mood!

    I love picnics though, and when the weather is warmer for us, this will be on our menu ;)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just made a frittata but this looks so much better!

    ReplyDelete
  14. These pictures shout picnic. Totally in love with them.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Picnics are the best - yours looks lovely in the photos! It sounds like a great quiche too, perfect for summer.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Meeta I gust found your blog...I'm speechless....is fab!!!! This recipe is delicious!!!! thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  17. So, so gorgeous. You make me want to eat

    ReplyDelete
  18. Love that ingredients shot, the asparagus and eggs in the basket. Such fond memories you got. We both have cheddar on our minds but I never considered smoked, I should, next time!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Your mom sounds amazing. It's hard for me to keep up the cooking motivation day after day so I appreciate those who can. As for the pictures, wow!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Perfect memories and a perfect quiche... Hope you had a great time in Sweden Meeta!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh I love a good picnic! It's my favorite thing about the summer, the best are filled with good food, wine and great company.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Those are some great memories, Thank you for sharing them with us. And thank you for the delicious recipe as well.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Beautiful recipe and wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing!

    Best,
    Sihi

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your photos are SO beautiful and I want everything in that picnic basket :) I love how the quiche looks with the asparagus.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Even till date Ma would be controlled and calm even if she is prepping food for an army and Dad would make a huge chaos in the kitchen even while making tea for just the 4 of us :D Love those memories and enjoyed reading yours. Quiche is also one of my fav, picnic or at home.

    ReplyDelete
  26. you have such a beautiful way with words Meeta...your memories sound very precious. Quiche is the perfect picnic food...love it with the asparagus. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous pics too!

    ReplyDelete
  27. what an amazing dish and gorgeous pictures1

    ReplyDelete
  28. I've nominated you for an award... check it out!

    http://therealfoodrunner.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love your photo, I would like to do the same. Can you tell me what is your camera and lens?

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta