Entry 7: The Rocket and Bacon Pain In The Ass

Hello again, folks.

Apologies for the slight delay again this week but when you read through today’s entry, you’ll understand why. As you know, I usually do my cooking on a Sunday. Sundays are wonderful things, even when they’re not of the ice-cream variety. A day when you can sleep in for longer, a day when you can mess around watching TV shows and play games and then realise it’s 5:00pm and you haven’t even started chopping up ingredients yet.

This week’s recipe comes from a famous and somewhat grumpy British chef by the name of Gordon Ramsey. He’s rather well known on British TV for making very tasty dishes and being a somewhat…vocal…person to work with. As I mentioned last week, we were going to do some more savory stuff on here and I think a Rocket and Bacon Quiche definitely falls under that heading:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2197/

As you’ve probably gathered from the title, this recipe was problematic. On the “About” page of this blog, I mentioned that TV chefs like to use rather obscure ingredients for their recipes. The obscure ingredient this recipe called for was “red chicory”. Now, as you know, I’m something of a newcomer to the world of haute cuisine and had to resort to Wikipedia to find out what the heck chicory was. After spending quite sometime wandering around my rather vast local supermarket and coming up with nothing, I then tried another local supermarket some distance away and also drew a blank before deciding to give up on the wretched stuff altogether. This recipe was not endearing itself to me thus far.

Then I assembled all the ingredients together for the usual pre-cooking photo:

Either Gordon Ramsey bakes his quiche in a TARDIS or there are far too many ingredients here.

Either Gordon Ramsey bakes his quiche in a TARDIS or there are far too many ingredients here.

So, already feeling rather anxious, I was then confronted with an old nemesis of mine – pastry. Readers will know that the last time I tried making pastry, it was something of a disaster. The recipe was actually rather clear on the steps for making it, even going so far as to have step by step photos on the website. This made me feel a little more confident about it. Despite some concerns about the fact it wasn’t binding together too well, despite following the ingredients to the letter, after popping it in the fridge for 20 minutes, it was actually holding together quite nicely. I was a little constrained in my work space when it came to rolling the stuff out but the end result wasn’t too bad:

I used dried herbs instead of fresh in order to save thyme.

I used dried herbs instead of fresh in order to save thyme.

I was starting to get rather worried at this point because there were one or two points where the edge of the quiche was rather shallow. I did my best to try and patch it up but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the quantities for the pastry were a little on the short side. Still, I was determined to make at least a decent pastry crust out of all this and decided to shell out for some baking beans to help keep the pastry in good shape:

The Koala was slightly puzzled about the lack of tomato sauce for the beans.

The Koala was slightly puzzled about the lack of tomato sauce for the beans.

Another good tip I picked up from the recipe was about glazing the pastry with egg yolk. It does a lot more than just give it a nice colour; it also helps to seal small cracks in the pastry, which is handy if your filling is a custard or something similar:

"Shouldn't a custard having sugar in it instead of herbs?"

“Shouldn’t a custard having sugar in it instead of herbs?”

As with the pastry, I used dried herbs here as well to cut down on costs. I don’t think it adversely affected the outcome. With the pastry in the oven, it was time to start preparing the other ingredients. First step was the rocket:

"There is no way on earth all that is going to fit in the quiche tin."

“There is no way on earth all that is going to fit in the quiche tin.”

Despite my colleagues concerns, this was the bit I was least worried about. Leafy greens like spinach and rocket reduce very quickly in size after being wilted over a high heat and the end result was considerably less, as you can see in the photo below:

The Koala was starting to see the merits of savory dishes.

The Koala was starting to see the merits of savory dishes.

Then followed an awful lot of frying – bacon, mushrooms, onions…the kitchen smelled pretty tasty after all that. Yet ever after all the frying and reducing, there was still an awful lot of filling here – I halved the amount of mushrooms and was starting to be glad I’d left out the chicory.

Then things started to get a little stressful. After taking the pastry case out of the oven, I noticed there was a small gap on one of the sides. Again, I tried to patch it up as best I could but once the filling went in, I could see a small amount of custard escaping from the side. By this time it was about 8:30pm and I’d been working on this for three and a half hours. An hour later in the oven and I was feeling very frazzled and hungry:

The finished quiche.

The finished quiche.

The end result…was not bad. There’s definitely a good mix of flavours and despite the gap, I was very happy with the pastry. The texture was good (although I need to remember to prick the base next time) and tasted pretty decent. The custard was not as thick as I thought it would be but didn’t impact on the taste too much. The bacon and mushrooms give a wonderfully smokey flavour to the whole thing too. I’d probably say it was a 50:50 success. I would almost definitely say there was far too much filling here. If I were to make it again, I’d reduce the quantities by about 25%

Oh. I mentioned at the start I was a little late in putting this entry up. Part of that was baking the quiche late at night. Here’s the other reason:

"Let's never, ever do this again."

“Let’s never, ever do this again.”

Amen to that. Let’s do something less complicated next week!

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