Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sticky Choc Muffins & Ratatouille Quiche

This post is a semi-ode to some of the blogs that I love to read. Two of my favorites are Chocolate & Zucchini and Not Quite Nigella. They are so wonderful and inspirational. They both have many recipes that I have used before and love. There was a recent post on Chocolate and Zucchini for a Sticky Chocolate Cake and I knew I had to try it out as soon as I read it. Conveniently I had a packet of prunes sitting in my larder that I was keen to get rid of (I accidently bought them when I was grabbing for a packet of dates off the supermarket shelf without looking!)

I adapted the recipe to make little muffins rather than one big cake, which just meant that I had to reduce the baking time to about 15-20 minutes. If you feel like something warm, super moist and chocolatey, these are perfect. And not too sweet!
I made these for my Monday morning teas with my workmates. Even better, I warmed them up in the microwave at work so the chocolate bits on the inside went all melty, it was awesome. Try the recipe, it's fantastic!

So after the success of my chicken pot pie, A was clamouring for me to make him another pastry-related dinner. I thought, since I gave him the top half of the pie crust in the last recipe, what about the bottom half this time? A quiche, with lots of hearty vegetables, seemed like a very appealing option while staring out my window at the dreary weather. I remembered seeing a lovely quiche recipe on Lorraine's blog and loved the sound of the buttery, flaky pastry. I'm not usually a huge fan of quiches, the ones I've had are usually far too eggy, with fairy soggy pastry and they sit like a rock in your stomach and you feel sick for ages afterwards. But not this one!

I made up my own filling with the ingredients I had, I am calling it a ratatouille quiche because it has a lot of the elements of a ratatouille, but I have no idea if it actually is like a ratatouille having never made it before! It's pretty yum though, with lots of vegetables so the filling is not too heavy, rich or eggy.

Ratatouille Quiche
For the pastry:
Follow quiche pastry recipe from here. (OH and I was lazy and whizzed up the ingredients for it in a food processor. Still good though!)

For the filling:
3 medium zucchini
3 medium Lebanese eggplant
1 1/2 cup button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 large onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
mixed herbs
1 cup milk
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Sweat onions on a medium heat in some olive oil until softened. Add garlic and fry for a couple minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms have released their liquid and most has evaporated. Add a generous shake of mixed herbs, season with salt and pepper. Pour in canned tomato and mash up tomato so that it forms a thick tomato sauce. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and there is no excess water in the pan. Set aside to cool.

Prepare the quiche pastry. Thinly slice eggplant and zucchini and sear on a grill pan so that the outside has some good colour but the vegetables are not soggy. Place in a bowl ready for when you assemble the quiche. Press pastry into a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes in the oven to help it get extra crispy :)

Whisk milk, eggs and cheese and grated nutmeg together in a bowl. Remove pastry from the oven and pour your tomato and mushroom sauce over the quiche pastry.

Layer the grilled eggplant and zucchini over the tomato sauce.

Pour cheesy sauce over the top of the grilled veges and neatly arrange cherry tomato slices on top. Careful not to overfill your quiche dish like I did, luckily it didn't overflow or make the pastry soggy.

Bake for about an hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is set.

Arghhh I am so in love with the pastry, it was soo crispy and flakey and the cream cheese make it extra tasty. I kept going back for more! And that is why I love reading food blogs, I keep coming across some absolute gem recipes. Thanks guys!
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  1. Yum. Both recipes look great. Funny how you accidentally bought prunes instead of dates. I think I'd prefer prunes in my chocolate cake instead of dates anyway :)

  2. Aww shucks thankyou Steph! I'm so chuffed that you like the pastry recipe. The first time I tried it I almost ate half the quiche because of that pastry hehe!

    The chocolate cake looks so good too! :)

  3. i'm like you and often adapt recipes to make muffins rather than big cakes - I find they just get eaten much quicker! I confess that I haven't used prunes before but this chocolate muffin you've made looks great!

    quiche looks good too!

  4. Y - Thanks :) Haha I know I felt so silly when I realised. I was surprised how yummy prunes are in chocolate cake!

    Lorraine - You're so welcome! It's a fantastic recipe, will definitely be doing it again. I almost ate half the quiche too, I stole all the corner pieces so I could get more pastry hehe :)

    panda - I know, it's so much easier to share around hey? I hadn't used prunes before either but was pleasantly surprised. Thanks!

  5. You had me at sticky choc muffins - fantastic! And ratatouille quiche sounds like a great homecooked dinner (or lunch!). I've yet to try and make my own pastry and like you, I'll be using the one at Not Quite Nigella's. :)

  6. Ooh - looks very tempting! I think I might have some prunes in my pantry as well so this recipe comes in very handy :)

  7. what a great post. A perfect mix of sweet and savory. Those prune and chocolate cakes look fantastic for a cold cold winter's day. I beat they would taste lovely warmed up with a nice hot cocoa or even better a nice warm glass of port. Well done, now I'm super hungry!

  8. Trisha - :) thanks! Give it a go, it's a lot easier than you would first expect, especially if you throw it all in a food processor :) and tasty!

    Forager - Ooh yes it's a good way to use those prunes :)

    Maria - Aww thank you! They were very good warmed up because it melted all the chunky chocolate bits :)


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