29 December 2018

Winter Veggie Pasta


This is something I had kicking around for years in an earlier version somewhere in my notes. As it has been foggy and cold for the last few days, I thought I’d revisit it as it is rather too substantial for a summer dish. Needless to say, I didn’t have all the same ingredients as for the original recipe, so think minus cauliflower and carrots and with seabuckthorn instead of agave syrup if you want to try that version out. It is quite quick (apart from the time it may take to do all the chopping) as the sauce takes about as long to make as getting the pasta water to boil and the pasta to cook. By the way, I love pasta that retain the sauce hence my tendency to use conchiglie and fusilli for something like this.

What you need:


  • 4 tblsp olive oil
  • 300 g of broccoli, cauliflower and carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 spoonful Madras curry masala
  • 1 large onion also finely chopped
  • 100 ml bubbly (Clairette or Moscato)
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 100 ml crème fraiche
  • 1 tblsp agave syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic (not pictured)
  • salt or vegetable broth to taste
  • 50 ml dry or medium dry sherry
  • 400 g conchiglie

What you do:


  1. Sauté the onions in olive oil, add the Madras curry and allow the latter to brown a bit.
  2. Add the veggies and stir for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the bubbly and allow it to reduce until the veggies are nearly dry.
  4. Add the two creams and leave it to simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is quite creamy (the veggies will still have plenty of bite; if you want them soft, cook for longer and replenish with liquid, more bubbly, white wine or pasta water)
  5. In the meantime cook the conchiglie in salted water – about as salty as the med, an Italian told me – until they are al dente.
  6. Before serving add the garlic, squashed, the salt or veggie broth (instant or cube), bring to the boil briefly then add the sherry.
  7. Serve with some freshly grated parmesan or – my preference – pecorino romano.

03 December 2018

Quince Quiche


At the moment we have a bit of a glut of quinces in our garden. I tried this quince quiche in two ways, one with slightly caramelised quince segments and one with a quince puré. On balance I slightly prefer the second version. (Incidentally, for the quince segment version simply don’t puré the softened quince pieces.)

What you need:


  • Short crust pastry or puff pastry for the base (I lazily bought a 250g packet)
  • 3 to 4 good-sized quinces, peeled, cored and cut into slices (for the slice version) or cubes.
  • 50 g butter and
  • 3 table spoons sugar
  • two good table spoons of liquid honey
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla pod, sliced
  • 100 ml madeira
  • 200 ml cream
  • 1 tablespoon of quince syrup or jelly (to taste)
  • 75 g ground almonds

What you do:



  • In a wide or frying pan, melt the butter and stir the sugar until it caramelises.
  • Add the quince pieces and stir them until they are coated.
  • Pour in the wine and the honey, stir in the spices and allow to simmer till the quince slices are soft.
  • Cover the dough base with the ground almonds.
  • (If making the slice version, at this point lift out the quinces with a slotted spoon and spread them over the base.)
  • Add the cream and allow to reduce to a creamy consistency then purée the quinces. Add quince jelly or syrup, or sugar to taste.
  • Pour the mixture into the quiche mold (or the reduced sauce over the quince slices) and bake at 200° until the dough is brown and the topping has begun to brown (ca 40 minutes).
  • Allow to cool; it tastes great once it is cold.