Cheesed Off

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I’m a scrooge at Christmas time, really I am. I am pissed off, and peed off, and cross and grumpy and all manner of things that would have a triad of ghosts clanking their chains hurling down my chimney. There’s something about enforced jolliment that doesn’t seem to work with my nature. I hate all the obligations that I forget to fulfill and how I offend people left, right and centre. Not to mention that there’s not much of a holiday in it for me either – I have worked over many many Christmases, and forsee working over many in the future to come.

Anyway, moving away from this grumpy note, I have had a lot of cheese in the fridge to use up. Hard, soft, squishy – how it all piled up there, I’ll never know. Tarts and quiches are a great way to use up all this leftover cheese. I’ve been making 2 over the past few days, using up all the frozen wholemeal pastry I have stockpiled in the freezer, and they’ve gone down very well. Looking online, I don’t understand why quiche recipes always seem to call for double cream. I use milk, and honestly can’t tell the difference. The wholemeal flour pairs really well with the savoury filling, and next time I think I’m going to use less egg/milk mixture, and throw in more vegetables to cancel out the unhealthiness of the pastry itself.

It’s not a particularly festive thing to make – certainly there is a remarkable dearth of turkey, cranberry sauce or mincemeat, but in my book, it’s far more delicious, and great for entertaining veggie friends – although you could always carnivorate it with chunks of cooked pancetta, bacon, salmon or whatever else you have to hand.

Cheese and Onion Tart

  • 250g wholemeal flour (sift out the chunky bits of bran)
  • 125g butter, cut into chunks (or half butter, half lard)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • a few spoonfuls of water
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • handful of leafy green veg
  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 250ml milk (roughly)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g cheese (but you can give or take here)

Make the pastry first by rubbing flour into the butter until breadcrumby then stir in the egg and extra water to form a soft dough. Chill for 30 mins, then roll out to cover a 10 inch tart tin, prick all over the bottom and bake in the oven at 210˚C for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the base with some grated cheese. Set aside.

Gently sautee the onion and veg in a saucepan until soft and wilted, then mix in the cornflour, followed by the milk and cook until the liquid has thickened slightly. Take off the heat, beat in the eggs, and most of the cheese, reserving a little for the top.

Pour the liquidy filling into the pastry case, sprinkle the top with cheese, and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the middle is set. Eat warm.

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