Skinny(er) Stilton and Asparagus Quiche

It contains Stilton…only it’s skinnier.

After making a healthy Tomato Tartine yesterday, I started thinking about how to skinny-fy another favourite of mine: quiche. Cue an afternoon of experimentation, resulting in a mighty-fine filo alternative to a full-on shortcrust feast. Not that I have anything against pastry…I love it, but sometimes, a desire to delve into a different territory takes hold, and at the moment I seem to be slimming down the saturated fats and shaving off sugars from my favourites. So here I present my Skinny(er) Stilton and Asparagus Quiche!

Skinny(er) Stilton and Asparagus Quiche

Serves 4-6

4 sheets filo pastry

1 white onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

300g mushrooms, sliced (I like chestnut, but any that takes your fancy will work just fine)

Teaspoon of dried thyme

Bunch of asparagus spears, trimmed

250ml semi-skimmed milk

2 eggs

50g Stilton, crumbled

Salt and pepper to season

Time to get cooking!

In a pan, sauté the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of oil or a small knob of butter.

When soft, add in the mushrooms and thyme and allow to mellow gently over a low heat, until they wilt and release their juices.

Meanwhile, place the first sheet off filo in an ungreased round pie dish or flan tin. Then take the next piece, brush it with a little milk and place it milk-side down on top of the first sheet so that it sticks together, with the edges overhanging the dish. Repeat with the other two sheets.

Strain off and reserve the juice from the mushrooms as this delivers much bang for your flavour buck! Spoon the mushroom and onion mix into the base of the dish, spreading it out evenly.

Tip the juice into a measuring jug (there’ll probably be around 15-25 ml in there; small amount but it’s worth having!) Top up the liquid to 250ml with the milk, crack in the eggs and beat together.

Meanwhile, fill the empty mushroom pan with about an inch of boiling water and throw in the asparagus spears. Cook over a medium heat for around 5-6 minutes until just tender.

Lay the spears on top of the mushroom base and pour over the milk and egg mix. Season and sprinkle with the crumbled Stilton.

Tuck the edges of the filo pastry into the dish and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees (180 fan / gas 6) for 20-25 minutes until the middle of the tart is set.

Tuck in! As a note, it goes wonderfully with minted new potatoes, steamed cabbage and broad beans!


The Egg and I: Flippin’ delicious

So I have a glut of eggs. Combine this with a hatred of waste and the acknowledgement that they are nutritional power-houses, and it makes for a rather cheap and healthily satisfying set of meals.

I could do a cheesy, herby, spinach omelette, I could boil them and serve them with hot, buttery soldiers or I could poach them, breaking open the wobbly white sacks and watching the ooze of the yolk as it cascades down (all of which I will do later in the week, of course)– but instead, on this occasion, I made pancakes.

A traditionalist when it comes to pancakes and wholly influenced by the European ‘crepe’ variety, I decided, in a moment of experimentation, that it was time to cross continents and go state-side for a change. Cue a batter so thick, creamy and gloopy that it was heavenly to stir. And very simple, too – one cup of flour, one cup of milk and one egg and within minutes you have a catalyst for so many flavours and combinations that it’s almost overwhelming.

Also a traditionalist when it comes to toppings (lemon and sugar without doubt), I seized the moment to switch to savoury. Why? Just because. That, and I had some blue cheese and spinach to use up, and I never let anything go to waste.

So into a small frying pan went a ladle of batter on top of a knob of melted butter (never margarine) and after a few moments, in went a few squares of British Stilton. A flip in time plus a spot of seasoning and onto the plate it went, topped off with a generous slather of blue cheese mixed with mayo, above which lands a big handful of spinach and a sprinkle of walnuts. Repeat with a second Stilton infused pancake and subsequent cheesy, spinach-laden layers, finish with a drizzle of olive oil and you’re in for a treat!

Spinach and Stilton Pancakes

And the most joyous outcome of this flipping frenzy? Having enough batter left over to enjoy a couple of fluffy, golden brown pancakes with fruit and yoghurt for breakfast the next morning.  Happy days.