There  is something magical about the change of seasons from Winter to Spring in the country. In winter, our fruit trees stand dormant, often ghostly in their form, devoid of any sign of life. Through rain, hail  and snow they stand strong, baring their naked limbs to the harsh winter weather. 

Then, seemingly overnight, the season changes; the buds and blossoms appear with the new promise of life and fruit for summer. 

Like our orchard, our vegetable garden slowed to a screeching halt over the colder months with a few leeks and the tough winter root veg and brassica baring the winter weather. However, like all things in life, as the sunshine appears, the joys of Spring ignite all through the garden.  Within a few days of the warming sun our asparagus,  broccoli and broad beans are bursting through the cold soil reaching out for the glorious rays.. 

If you’re anything like me, my vegetable garden is usually a couple of months behind the local farmers markets (who know a thing or two more than me about growing vegetables). Which is probably a good thing because even the most patient person can quickly lose inspiration in the kitchen if it meant relying on the homegrown variety of our delicious spring vegetables. 

When the warmer weather appears there is nothing better than to grab a picnic blanket and head outdoors for some alfresco dining.

One of my favourite spring dishes is an asparagus, spring garlic/scape and feta quiche. People often get a little intimidated when making pastry and opt for the quicker supermarket variety. DONT! Once you have made this once you will become a Pro at quick shortcrust pastry.  

You can’t beat a quiche for a weekend lunch, picnic or for school lunches. Making homemade pastry is a lot easier than you think. The only ‘rules’ that I have for pastry is to use cold butter, try not to over mix it and always allow a good half an hour for it to cool in the fridge before rolling it out. 

For this recipe I make the pastry first. While you’re getting the butter out of the fridge pop your oven on to 180 degrees

Shortcrust Pastry Ingredients;

  • 1 cup SR flour 
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 cup (125 gm) cold butter
  • Pinch salt

Mix all of these into a food processor bowl until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 

Add 1/2 cup cold water

Give it a few seconds  until it all comes together then wrap it up in baking paper and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes

While your pastry is chilling out in the fridge you can make your filling. You can add anything you like to a quiche. At the moment my go to is beautiful spring asparagus and soft feta. However your quiche, your rules!! Make it vegetarian using mushrooms, cooked pumpkin and spinach or keep it plain with onions and bacon. I usually go the whole hog (pardon the pun) and saute onion, bacon,  until they are soft. Or keep it veg and saute 1 onion in a good glug of extra virgin olive oil add a few spring garlic spears finely chopped (around 4) and season well . Steam a bunch of fresh asparagus and place a few spears on top before baking.

Leave cooked filing to one side to cool. In another bowl mix 5 eggs, a generous handful of grated cheese (I like a nice bitey tasty cheddar), 1/2 cup ricotta and 1/4 cup milk or cream if you have it. Salt and pepper.

Now your ready to roll out the pastry. Leave it on the baking paper and roll it out to 1 cm thickness or thinner if you like. Spray/butter the quiche plate or pie tin and then line with pastry with the baking paper on top. Press into the tin/plate to make sure it is sitting tight. The paper helps to press around the edges without leaving holes from your fingers in the pastry  put your baking beads onto the paper and pop in your oven for 20 mins or until the edges are starting to look golden. 

Reduce oven to 160 degrees. Remove paper and baking beads these are never tasty and cause havoc with your digestion 

Mix cooked veg, eggs and cheese mixture and pour into pastry case and bake for 20-30 mins until it is firm and golden on top.  Allow to cool a little before slicing.