Salmon and Asparagus Quiche; Rich Pear Cake

Having been inspired by my little trip to the House of Anli yesterday, and their beautiful demonstration of some delicious dishes, I decided to bake up my version of the very same items. Well, I could have done the exact same thing but I decided that changing some of the ingredients to suit my finicky family’s taste buds would be best. So, I settled on a fresh salmon and asparagus quiche instead of the quiche Lorraine we had been treated to the previous day.

Taking all opportunities to add in some vegetables to up the health quotient, I added some sliced capsicums and tomatoes along with the fresh baby asparagus. I began with a simple pie/quiche crust which I blind baked and left to cool. Meanwhile, I sautéed some sliced leeks, to which I added the baby asparagus. When the asparagus turned a bright green, I took it off the stove and let it cool. The salmon, which I had sprinkled with some dill, salt and pepper and steam-baked separately, was then broken up into pieces and added to the pie crust. In, also, went the mixture of asparagus and leek, along with a good handful of shredded parmesan cheese. Separately, I broke 3 eggs into a bowl and added some milk, cream and seasoning to it and mixed it well. This mixture also went into the pie crust. The final touch was a lovely arrangement of sliced green bell peppers and tomatoes on the top. The quiche was ready to be baked and 30mins later, the mouth-wateringly delicious smell of cheese, crust and salmon permeated the air. Dinner was ready!

Dessert, however, was yet to be prepared. Again, having been influenced by the previous day’s demo, it had to be a pear cake. However, since I had some fresh pears that were perfectly ripe on hand, I decided to use these instead of the canned ones recommended. After having peeled and quartered four pears, I added 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and lemon juice from half a lemon and poached them till tender. I whipped up the cake batter (which consisted of creaming/beating 240g butter and 200g sugar till pale and creamy, adding 4 eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and finally folding in 250g plain flour and 26g baking powder) and arranged the slices of cooled pears on the very top and baked them at 170deg C till golden (approximately 50mins).Voila, dessert was ready. All that was left to do was to tuck in. Bon appetite! 

Potato Gratin with Sausages and Mushrooms

It’s the eve of a public holiday, yup friends, for the uninitiated its Deepavali tomorrow! And no, just because I’m ethnically Indian does not mean that I celebrate Deepavali (or Diwali as it’s known in the Northern parts of India). Most people don’t really understand the difference between race and religion. I guess I don’t really blame them because its human nature to assume things based on our preconceived notions. Well, in any case, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my Hindu friends and readers a very Happy Deepavali in advance! I shall try to eat as much muruku and cookies as I possibly can too, that would be my way of joining in the festivities, hehehe.

Okay so the day went by pretty normally until evening time when my 13 year old niece, Z, asked me to prepare dinner for her. Well, dinner was already prepared by my mum, and a jolly good dinner it was too: Mutton Biryani! Alas, my teenager will have nothing to do with meat, or even chicken with bones or bananas, or seafood or bread or…but I digress. So there you go, I had hardly anything in the fridge (read as hardly anything that Z would deem fit to be consumed) and I had the tall task of getting her dinner done in 30mins.

Hmmm, but then something ticked in my mind and a few minutes later I had a plateful of thinly sliced potatoes. I quickly poured some cream and milk in a bowl and mixed it up with a dash of black pepper and some salt. Then, all there was to be done was to defrost and cut up some sausages and slice some mushrooms. The layering ensued: I placed half the potato slices in the base of a casserole, added half the mushrooms and sausages and covered them with most of the cream mixture. Then I layered the remaining potatoes, mushrooms and sausages and added the last of the cream mixture. A generous handful of mozarella cheese on top and in the dish went into the oven. Oh, i had forgotten the dried parsley so halfway through the baking, I opened the hot oven and gingerly sprinkled some on top. Thankfully I did not burn my hand (which I always seem to do in such circumstances). Phew, dinner done and within 30 mins too!

Le Gratin