Summer is in the air and the holidays are just around the corner. The quickest and easiest way to feed a crowd of people is a quiche or savoury tart. Why not try this delicious combination of spinach and pistachio. It works well together along with the goats cheese and feta. I love quiches and they are really easy to make. If you can master making a pie crust you can fill them with almost anything your heart desires. I made this one a while ago and thought I should share it here on my website so you can start practicing. It also makes it easier for me to search here on my website in electronic format rather than in some notebook I wrote in years ago and can’t remember which one.
On the day that I made this pastry my younger sister, Leigh was going home after a life-changing operation. She had been fitted with a device that helps her urinate. In a previous operation for an unrelated issue the doctors or the nursing care had damaged her urethra irreparably. It took a while for her body to discover the damage and it presented her with not being able to urinate on her own. She had to learn how to catheterised herself in order to ensure her bladder emptied. It was utterly invasive and debilitating. She had already endured so much and had been in and out of hospitals for as long as I can remember. This device was going to changer her quality of life where she would no longer need to catheterise herself any more. This was innovative and pioneering and definitely her best option for her future. She is young and full of so much life but not being able to wee is something we all take for granted every day.
It was 25 September 2021. She had the first surgery for the implant on 17th August 2021 and by September the device wires had disconnected so the device needed to be rewired. This was definitely a huge setback as we had all pinned our hopes on her full recovery. I can only imagine how devastating it was for her. Not only did she have to manage her disappointment, but that of her family and extended family beyond that. It was so difficult to remain positive and bouyed by love, which we all had in abundance, without feelings of fear creeping in and contaminating our hope. In these moments I try to keep busy. It was on the morning after the device had been rewired that I needed to stay grounded in courage and my belief that Leigh really had turned a corner in her very long and painful journey so far.
I got into my kitchen to make this quiche. I wanted to tinker with a new pastry crust and I knew I would pour my heart and soul into it while thinking about Leigh and what’s app’ing her during the process. Joshua, my nephew has a gift for singing. His way of coping with the trauma of his precious Mom going into hospital again was to record a song for Leigh. She sent me the video’s and the gravity of the message was too much to listen to without tears streaming down my face. Even now as I listen to this song, sung by Joshua I can’t help but cry. I’m so grateful Leigh came through another surgery, but if you listen to the words of ” fix You’ by Coldplay sung by my nephew, I couldn’t not wonder if this would be a final goodbye. I tried to override all my thoughts with positive ones. But little “what if’s? kept popping in and taking over. If anyone has ever experienced a loved one going into surgery, you may have a tiny inkling of what I’m taking about. I believe some people don’t spend any time in this type of space. If you have, I feel you. If not, you are one of the fortunate ones, because it is an unbearable space of pain to be in. You will it to pass fast but time stretches to eternity while you wait for good news. It came, of course and on the 26th September 2021 Leigh was discharged from hospital. We were overjoyed, but she still had to go through another process of recovery.
It’s been a long and arduous road and by the end of December 2021 she again was doubled over with severe pain. She had an horrific infection that nearly poisoned her to death. Thank goodness she listens to her body and booked herself into emergency. She was fitted with a specialised machine that created a vacuum and drain to ensure no bugs could contaminate her wound and also simultaneously drain the wound and keep it clean and clear of infection. This too was a second time she had got a nasty infection and came very close to necrosis. During one of my visits to see her the nurse was busy cleaning the wound and I nearly passed out from the procedure. I broke out in a cold sweat and nearly fainted. I had to leave the room as I was no support for Leigh in that moment. She was more concerned for me than herself.
The story is so much longer and there is so much more that Leigh has experienced in the months and years since and prior to me making this quiche. Whilst scrolling through my notebooks this morning I opened the pages to this recipe and this is what came flooding out in a gush of emotions. I’m grateful I have my space here to share this as a way of processing my feelings and experiences. It has been a cathartic day. I love my two sisters, Lynne and Leigh and my brother, Russell more than I ever let on. To be a source of strength to them all is one of the most important privileges I have. You become what your family and friends need you to be. I hope I always step into that space for them whenever they need me. Today I needed to share here so that I continue to grow and share my strength with them. It’s also important to mention after I’d written this piece, I realised it was such a personal and intimate part of Leigh’s life. I needed to ensure that I was able to write freely to process my feelings, but I couldn’t share her personal details without her permission. I’m so grateful she blessed it with these words, “You just made me cry” and then, “of course you may share my Jacs” and finished with “you are such a beautiful human being and one that feels and thinks so deeply. I’m honoured to be in your story.” I also love her “recipe of life”. May we all draw strength from her recipe and in the meantime get practising on this delicious Spinach and Pistahcio Quiche.
Spinach and Pistachio Quiche Pastry Case
Pastry case Yeild 460g
- 250 g cake flour
- 10 g cornflour
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 100 g butter
- 30 g lard use butter if you don't want to use lard
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 sprigs mint
- 1 sprig fennel
- 1 lemon zest
- 45-60 ml cold water or 1 Tbls vodka develops less gluten for a flakey pastry
- In a separate bowl whisk the dry ingredients together250 g cake flour, 10 g cornflour, 1 tsp mustard powder, 1 tsp salt
- Add yolk, butter and lard to a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Blend until light and creamy in colour.100 g butter, 30 g lard, 1 egg yolk
- Add the mint, fennel and zest and pulse blitz until incorporated into the butter mix3 sprigs mint, 1 sprig fennel, 1 lemon zest
- Add half the flour mix to the butter mix and pulse blitz for 30 seconds. Add the remaining flour and continue to pulse blitz until the mixture resembles crumbs
- Add ice water 1 Tbls at a time until a dough forms and comes together.45-60 ml cold water
- Form into a ball or roll into a rectangle. Cover and rest for at least 1 hour or until ready to use. You can freeze too. This quantity will be enough for 2 x 22cm (230g ea) pie dishes of 1 x 20cm (180g) and 1 x 27cm (280g)pie dishes
- When ready to bake preheat oven to 200℃. Roll out pastry on floured work surface. Lift the pastry with the rolling pin and roll over dish to line your chosen buttered dish with the quantity required for that dish as indicated above. Press dough into dish. Add a sheet of baking paper on top the dough and fill the dish with baking beans. Bake blind for 20 minutes.
- Remove baking beans and let the case cool to room temperature before filling. Once cooled brush the pastry case with the egg white .
Spinach and Pistachio Quiche filling
- 1 blind baked 27cm pastry case
- 2 tbls olive oil
- 300 g spinach chopped
- 50 g spring onion finely sliced
- 1 round of feta crumbled
- 1 stem fresh spring onion
- 5 sprigs fresh mint leaves sliced
- 20 g pistachio nuts toasted and cooled and roughly chopped
- 3 exl eggs
- 100 g goats cheese
- 3 Tbls sour cream
- 1 round feta crumbled
- 150 ml fresh cream
- 5 springs fresh origanum leaves only
- In a pan add the oil and when hot fry the spinach and spring onion until all the moisture has evaporated. Leave to cool2 tbls olive oil, 300 g spinach chopped, 50 g spring onion finely sliced
- Place the pastry case on a baking tray. When the spinach mix has cooled sprinkle on the base of the pastry case and top with the feta, spring onion, mint and nuts. Season to taste1 blind baked 27cm pastry case, 1 round of feta crumbled, 1 stem fresh spring onion, 5 sprigs fresh mint leaves sliced, 20 g pistachio nuts toasted and cooled and roughly chopped
- In a jug add the eggs, cheeses, and creams and salt and pepper to taste. Use a stick blender to blend the custard until creamy and smooth.3 exl eggs, 100 g goats cheese, 3 Tbls sour cream, 1 round feta crumbled, 150 ml fresh cream
- Pour the custard over the quiche filling and press the fresh origanum leaves into custard or sprinkle over once baked
- Bake in preheated oven at 180ºC for 45 minutes covered in foil or baking paper. Remove paper and continue to bake for 15 minutes or until golden blonde.
- Remove and serve warm with a side salad of your choice. Balsamic tomatoes are really lovely with this dish and cut the creamy richness of the cheeses and creams very well.