A vegan quiche (or tart or pie or whatever you want to go with, I think really it’s all of those things) is so deliciously good for this time of year, when summer vegetables like courgette are still abundant and yet the weather is turning decidedly autumnal, there’s a chill in the air and comforting food is what everyone wants. We’ve so enjoyed a slice of quiche, with a big green salad for lunch, or steamed broccoli, sweetcorn and carrots for dinner, Dan with boiled potatoes and mint butter, me with extra veg. (And probably a sneaky extra piece of quiche if I’m honest, in the kitchen.) The quiche is rich and something fresh and plainer balances it out beautifully. Good homely food, one foot in each season, which is how we still feel. The sun is shining but the air is cold and damp. This morning I woke early and thought of frost. I laid in bed in the night and reveled in the howling wind, imagining its sweep across the miles upon miles of open hills all around. And then I dreamt of Dracula.
My appetite is growing so much and I’ve gone (gone? I hope so though I doubt it…) through a stage of eating rather a lot and really indulging in foods. (Back off puritanical guilt-feasting voices in my head! The baby is hungry! And, well, just back off… judgmental (or just mental) joy-sucker! Though yes, I should probably do some exercise and I would if I could even walk, okay, she said, clutching her back and groaning). LOL. Rant over. Shackles shaken. Slice of quiche anyone?
Pastry isn’t something I usually make, it’s so rich, and I’m limited by only using pseudo-grain and tapioca flour, but we’ve had pies and tarts and jam tarts, and all sorts of late. I’ve been loving experimenting and trying new things. Making jam with plums and apricots. Making this ‘quiche’ filling and messing around with it was exciting somehow. I’ve never eaten a quiche as I grew up not eating eggs, and it is the addition of gram flour and particularly black salt (which is in fact pink) that makes it taste eggy, it’s the sulphur in the salt, which is rich with a bounty of minerals and goodness and so moreish. If you don’t have black salt (it is widely available in Asian supermarkets and cash and carries, or online, try ebay or a health food supplier) then you can make this without and it is still totally delicious. As ever these things are versatile, if you eat tomatoes and have some beauties needing eating then slice and salt them and adorn the tart they’d be beautiful. Or if you eat butter then use that instead of vegan margarine, and if you prefer a less processed product then go for mild coconut oil instead. You could use spelt instead of buckwheat for the pastry. But if you want to try something different, or if you too are working with food restrictions and are embracing the vegan, gluten, soya or nightshade-free, this recipe is perfect for you as it is ♥
A slice of something is always so satisfying isn’t it, having made a whole, and dividing it up into slices to share. Having prepared food for future meals, working hard now to make life that bit easier and nicer in the future. Having something to have a nibble on something a bit different but very homely. I love it. And using beautifully coloured vegetables too like red onion and yellow courgette is just so uplifting. Making creaminess from nuts and parsnips feels so right, and is so nutritious and luxurious to eat. A tart with a heart ♥
- 2 tbsp good olive oil
- 2 onions, one red one white, or one large white
- 1/2 parsnip/ 150g
- 1 slim leek/ half large leek
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3/4 can coconut milk
- 1 cup soaked cashews
- nut milk, dash of
- 6 tbsp gram flour
- 2 heaped tbsp bouillon powder/ veg stock(if not low salt reduce other salt to taste)
- 1 1/2 tsp black salt, or sea salt if you don't have black
- 1/5 nutmeg grated, to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh herbs, a good handful. I love basil, you can also use dried but fresh tastes best
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 4 tbsp coconut yoghurt/ cheese, optional
- 11/2 cups buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup gram flour
- 3 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp frozen margarine/ mild coconut oil
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp cold water
Soak the cashews, overnight is best but if you're short on time then soak them for 30 mins+ in hot water (the longer you soak the smoother and creamier they become when blended).
Clean, chop, boil, and when soft, drain the parsnip.
Drain and blend the soaked cashews with a dash of the coconut milk, the cooked parsnip and two of the garlic cloves until smooth, using a high powered blender achieves by far the best (i.e. smoothest) results here.
Heat olive oil and saute finely chopped white onion with the salt and the bay leaf on a low heat with the lid on for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until soft and browning.
Finely chop the washed leek and add that to the onion, stirring, and leave to saute with the lid on for 5 mins or so.
Add the creamed cashew and parsnip blend to the cooked onion and leek, on a low heat, stirring, and add the rest of the seasoning bar the fresh herbs (if using dried then add to taste now).
Mix the sieved gram flour with nut milk and stir until there are no lumps, add this to your mixture, stirring thoroughly as it thickens. Take off the heat.
Before pouring into the pastry base remove the bay leaf and add a squeeze of lemon and your chopped fresh herbs, to taste, leaving some leaves for a garnish.
Sieve the gram flour and add to tapioca and buckwheat flours in a mixing bowl with the salt. Grate the frozen margarine, or if you prefer a less processed more nutritious fat, frozen coconut oil, into the flour and mix gently until distributed evenly. You can use cold marge and cut in but freezing and grating gives a better pastry and you have to handle it less which is always a good thing.
Add the cold (as possible) water and carefully combine into a ball, squeeze gently, cautiously adding more liquid until it sticks together.
Transfer the pastry dough to the fridge, overnight, or for a couple of hours or so in a container or wrapped up in foil. It will keep for days in the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 180C/ 360F.
Grease your dish and flour your board and rolling pin.
Roll the pastry out to about 1/2 cm thickness, and transfer it to your dish, not worrying if it breaks as you can piece it together and press the pastry into the dish. Flour your hands so it doesn't stick and handle it gently.
Blind bake in the oven for 15 mins.
Spoon on your creamy mixture (don't forget to add your fresh herbs here if using them and to remove that bay leaf).
Thinly slice the courgette, red onion and the rest of the garlic, toss in a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and arrange on top of the quiche.
Bake for 45 mins or so until nicely browning and cool in its dish.
If you have used fresh herbs then serve with a sprinkle more or a garnish of whole leaves.
Eat hot or cold.
To reheat it crisps up well by heating individual slices in a dry frying pan on a medium low heat for a few minutes or so.
SONG OF THE WEEK (Peter Green’s) Fleetwood Mac ‘Black Magic Woman’ live
p.s. do you have your own recipe for making grain-free vegan pastry? I’d love to know!
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