Nothing more French than quiche

This week, we visit France with two classic recipes for Bastille Day - a deliciously rich spinach and mushroom quiche, and a green salad with apple and walnuts. The salad, from Normandy, is a lovely one to have at this time of year and complements the quiche beautifully.

The quiche recipe can also be used with other vegetables, herbs, cheeses and nuts. The vegetables need to be cooked first and drained well; they can be steamed, roasted or gently fried. Other vegetables you may like to try are asparagus, broccoli, eggplant, leeks, pumpkin, red pepper, silverbeet, tomato and zucchini. Add a few almonds or walnuts for crunch and goodness.

Spinach and mushroom quiche.
Spinach and mushroom quiche. Photo: Colleen Petch

I used a basic shortcrust pastry for my quiche, made with 110 grams of butter and 225g of plain flour. You could use frozen pastry instead. The quantity of filling in the recipe fits perfectly into a 23 centimetre tart tin with a removable base.


Serves 6

1 x 23cm blind-baked shortcrust pastry shell


2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or grape seed oil

1 bunch English spinach

pinch of grated nutmeg

2 eschalots, sliced

250g button mushroom

1 tsp chopped thyme

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 free-range eggs

300ml combined pure cream and milk (half and half or two-thirds and one-third)

2 tsp Dijon mustard

50g grated Swiss cheese

Remove the stalks from spinach and wash the leaves thoroughly. Place the dripping leaves in a saucepan over heat and cook, turning in the pan until wilted. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can, then chop and set aside. You should end up with about half a cup of prepared spinach.

Brush the mushrooms clean with a paper towel or tea towel and trim the stalk ends. Then cut the caps into slices. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the eschalots for a few minutes until softened. Raise the heat a little and add the mushrooms with a grinding of pepper. Fry them, stirring and tossing until done and the moisture has cooked away. Add the thyme and a pinch of salt and take off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 180C regular, or 160C fan. Place the tart shell (still in the tin) on a pizza tray or oven tray. Brush the inside base of the crust with Dijon mustard. Break the eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly, then add the cream and milk, a grating of nutmeg and a little seasoning. Tip the spinach and mushrooms into the custard and stir through. Spoon the mixture evenly into the tart shell and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until puffed up and golden. Allow the quiche to settle for a few minutes before removing from the tin. Serve with a green salad and glass of chilled white wine.

Variations for a spinach or mushroom quiche: simply double the quantities for either the spinach or mushrooms and then follow the recipe.


Serves 4-6

1 mignonette

1 handful of watercress

1 crisp red apple

½ lemon

½ cup walnuts, lightly toasted


3 tsp apple cider vinegar or 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

1 small eschalot or clove of garlic, finely chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp each of walnut oil and extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp chervil or parsley, 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped

Wash and dry the greens. Place the vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients together and then whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust.

Close to serving time, quarter and core the unpeeled apple. Cut into thin slices and toss with a squeeze of lemon juice. Arrange and dress.

Diana Lampe is a Canberra writer, dlampe@bigpond.net.au