December seems to feel so incredibly short! The days turn into darkness within the blink of an eye and while there is so much to look forward to this month, it already seems to fly by. I would be happy to stretch this month three times its length (although my bank account would probably not completely agree with that), just to savor every bit of it.
There are Christmas dinners, there is Sinterklaas to be celebrated and the best of all, to spend as much time as possible with parents, grandparents and close friends.
The air outside is clean and crisp. Cycling in Amsterdam is breathtaking as the beautiful Christmas lights speckle the dark.
Making December even more enjoyable is my intent to not let the present-buying-running-around frenzy get to me. This year I am embracing all my DIY inclinations. Whereas I have previously always thought that homemade gifts were a bit too personal, as everyone would then all of a sudden know that I like to stir in pots in my free time. Now, I have decided that it is the cutest and coolest thing to do. In the end it is all about attitude.;)
Currently a few cans of Dulce de Leche are in process and a big pan of ginger-apple chutney is bubbling away on my stove. Other projects on the ‘December-shelve’ are preserved lemons, coffee liquor, limoncello and cookie mixes, recipes I will be very happy to share once I get glimpses of light in this dark month to shoot some decent pictures.:)
With the noise of all festivities and preparations in the back of my mind, I am happy to make myself some simple food that doesn’t require much effort and that is just on the lighter side of the scale so I can eligibly stuff myself this weekend with all the treats my mother will have undoubtedly made.:)
This quiche with shallots and mushrooms is a very good example of simple and wholesome food.
- 100 grams all-purpose flour
- 100 grams of wholewheat flour (you might as well use only all-purpose flour, depending on your taste and cupboard content)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 110 grams of butter
- 62 grams of creme fraiche (or Greek yoghurt, or even low fat yoghurt if you’d look for a lighter option)
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 62 grams of cold water
- few grindings of black pepper
- 750 grams of shallots, peeled
- 10 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
- 500 grams of button mushrooms, quartered or sliced
- 1 tablespoon of mustard
- 100 milliliters of (Greek) yoghurt
- 100 grams of soft goat cheese
- 1 egg
Mix all the dough ingredients and knead it into a supple dough.
Refrigerate an hour before use (it will perform better in the oven and
it will be easier to handle).
After taking the dough out of the fridge, simply press the dough into a
buttered form with your fingers (I find that greasing the form is not
really necessary as the dough is buttery enough). There is no need to
pre-bake the crust, and you can simply put the filling in and bake it altogether.
I recently learned how delicious it is to roast shallots whole. With the simple addition of some water, herbs, salt, pepper and some oil or butter, the oven does all the work. In the fortunate case you still have leftover wine (what is that?!), use this instead of the water.
There is no rough chopping, just peeling and giving it some time. Admittedly, the peeling does get rough from time to time, but holding a glug of water in your mouth while handling does help (really!).
While the dough is chilling in the fridge, place the shallots in an oven tray and sprinkle the thyme leaves, salt and pepper over it. Place a nob of butter on it and add a small glass of wine or water (around 200 milliliters).
Place the tray in a moderately hot oven, on 180 degrees Celsius. The oven may be cold when you put the tray in.
After the shallots have gotten a nice color, which might take 45 minutes, I simply add the chopped mushrooms to the oven tray and let all simmer in the oven for another 20 minutes.
I spoon the shallots and mushrooms out of the tray, and spoon it into the quiche dough with a slotted spoon.
In a small bowl, mix together the yoghurt, soft goat cheese, egg and mustard with some of the baking juices of the onions (around 4 tablespoons) and pour this over the onions and mushrooms.