Mini Spinach & Ricotta Quiches and a Picnic

 

It’s absolutely glorious outside, so here I am sat inside blogging. I say that but I’ve spent the last couple of days outside making the most of it and I’m simply inside now as it’s Sunday evening and the Women’s World Cup is on. Last weekend, when it was momentarily warm on the Saturday, I squeezed in a picnic with some friends in Finsbury Park. It was a good excuse to try out my rather nifty new picnic basket (sent to me by the guys and gals across at Joules) and for me to do some summer baking. I opted to make mini spinach, ricotta and chorizo quiches and some mini victoria sponges.

Spinach Ricotta Quiche

Victoria Sponges

I have a confession, I was planning to spend my Friday night baking but ended up having an impromptu dinner at Caravan (Kings Cross, they’ve got Negroni, ON TAP?!) with the lovely Erica (of I’m Being Erica) and more than a few drinks with Erica and Shaun. This meant that I squeezed the baking into the Saturday morning (which was fortunately hangover free) and was running a tad tight.

Me

Picnic

Sponges

I’ve wanted to make a quiche for quite a time, and while I was tempted to start with a large one (which would have probably been a touch easier for a first attempt), I opted for miniature individual quiches as I felt it’d be easier for the picnic. It also meant I could make a mix of vegetarian and meat ones without having to stress too much. I’m also a bit of a rookie when it comes to pastry but used this recipe here.

Quiches & Gin

I mean hey, who doesn’t want a picnic as well? My initial picnic plans fell through when my friend Natasha (Unorganised Chaos) realised she’d double booked herself and couldn’t get out of the trip to Bristol. A few London friends I’d not seen much of since moving down stepped in and we spent the afternoon drinking prosecco & gin and eating food in Finsbury Park before Rob had to head off and play Camden Rocks.

So do you have any plans for a picnic this summer?

Mini Spinach & Ricotta Quiches and a Picnic
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 16-18
Ingredients
  • • butter, for greasing
  • • 400g/14oz shortcrust pastry (see link)
  • • 3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • • 400g/14oz baby spinach leaves
  • • freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • • 250g/9oz ricotta cheese
  • • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • • 300ml/11fl oz double cream
  • • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • • 100g Chorizo, cut into small pieces (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C(160°C fan assisted) and grease a muffin tray with butter.
  2. On a lightly floured surface roll out the shortcrust pastry until thin and divide up into squares (or circles if you’ve a pastry cutter). Fit each of these into a separate hole in the tray making sure they form a well in the middle. You don’t want them coming too high up the sides. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the fridge and cover each quiche with greaseproof paper then fill with baking beans (I used rice). Place in the center of the oven and bake blind for 10-15 minutes. Once removed raise the temperature of the oven to 200°C(180°C fan assisted).
  4. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 3-5 minutes until the pastry is just cooked and golden.
  5. In a pan, fry the chorizo until cooked and remove. In the same pan add a little bit of butter and sauté the onions for a few minutes until soft. Towards the end add the spinach and place a heat proof lid over the top to help it wilt. Remove from the pan, season with nutmeg, salt & pepper and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl mix the ricotta with the mustard and season.
  7. Spoon a small amount of the mixture into the base of each pastry basket then add a layer of onion and spinach plus a piece of chorizo.
  8. Whisk the egg yolks and cream together and spoon about a table spoon of mixture into each quiche (you want it to be full but not overflowing, the crust should still be visible around the edge).
  9. Transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack or eating them then and there.