What would you put in your lunchbox? Maybe it’s a classic ham sandwich with a bag of crisps. Or perhaps you’re like some of the super healthy types in my office, with their steamed veggies that smell of old socks.
Here lies my problem, more often than not I’ll take a sandwich which tends to be limp, luke warm and just that little bit grim by the time I get to it. Usually, I’m by the vending machine an hour later fighting over my urge for a minty Aero, just to get a bit of taste in my mouth.
So I set myself a challenge, a blank canvas if you will, to make a very different lunchbox. I settle on making a butternut quiche all neatly packed together with a salad.
I guess that by now half of you are with me and have already gathered your ingredients, and the other half are appalled, simply appalled. What about your office cred Chris? How on earth are you going to chat over the weekend football with a quiche, while everyone else has an over indulgent burrito. Well yes this could prove to be tricky and I do risk ridicule, possibly even name calling, but I’m determined to make this work.
I know I should be talking about mixing butter with your fingers tips here, but that just seems like too much effort. I just went with ready made pastry, it’s so simple and saves loads of time. The trick is to roll your pastry into the flan tray, make loads of fork pricks on the base and then bake in the oven at 200 degrees until brown. This way you’ll have a crispy base. Nobody likes a soggy quiche
1/2 a butternut squash
1 red onion
2/3 cup of grated parmesan
Slice up your butternut, drizzle in oil, season and roast in a 200 degree oven until soft and tender. Leave to cool, remove the skin and set to the side. Cut your onions really fine, gently fry and wilt down your spinach in batches. Leave to cool.
1 cup milk
1 cup single cream
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Gently heat the milk and cream in a pan only until it scalds. Just don’t let it boil. Scalding is when it gets that skin on the top, like when you had Horlicks as a kid and it burnt your lip. Set aside and leave to cool for 10 minutes, maybe do this while the pastry base is cooking.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg together. Then slowly pour in the milk as you’re beating, until you get a lightly foamy mix.
Immediately pour this over all your filling, then bake in the oven until golden brown. It should take around 30 minutes at 200 degrees.
Some might reasonably say that’s a lot of work for a packed lunch. I see their point. But this quiche will keep in the fridge for a week if well wrapped – and anyway, I need to eat less burritos and this is a good start.