By Association

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I’ve been told that what i perceive as “yummy” often seems be based on perception – it’s not the taste itself that’s amazing, but rather the memories that a certain kind of food or restaurant brings to me. In The Case of the Quiche, here is how I’ve formed my associations:

My first quiche was when I was when I was about 4 or 5, when I thought lemons could grow out of my head if I swallowed a lemon seed and “quiche was pronounce “kween-chie” (I was an odd child). It was one of those from-the-freezer reheatable ones, along with mushroom and tomato pockets and beef mince pies that I would be given for breakfast. I just remember all of that tasting amazing. I’m not sure whether I’d say the same now.

It was only those few years in London when I made my first quiche. I distinctly remember using the Sainsburys white casserole dish with the dark burn marks in the corner that no amount of vicious scrubbing can get off. I also remember walking into the house in London to find the remaining square of quiche gone and a satisfied polished plate with a ketchup stain next to the white casserole dish. And even though most of the time I throw a fit if anyone eats the last bite of my food, I just felt happy that time – that someone else found quiche “yummy”, and it wasn’t just another one of me and my food-associations. (Or maybe s/he was just hungry.)

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Salmon and Broccoli Quiche
Prep time: 1 hour

350g shortcrust pastry (and an 8inch greased pie tin)
1 salmon fillet
1/2 broccoli*
1/2 onion
3 eggs
80ml single cream
80ml milk
salt and pepper
garlic granules (optional)

1.   Preheat oven to 180degreesC. Line the pie tin with rolled-out shortcrust pastry (about 5mm thick). Flatten it against the sides and the base to make sure no air bubbles are trapped, and prick the bottom all over with a fork. Then, line a piece of baking paper over the pastry and fill with baking beads**. Bake for 10 min.
2.   Meanwhile, saute onions, and fry broccoli lightly until soft. Also pan-fry the salmon and cut it into smaller chunks.
3.   Retrieve pie crust and remove the baking paper +  baking beans. Spread the onions, broccoli and salmon evenly in the crust. Then, whisk egg, cream, milk, salt, pepper and garlic granules and pour into the crust over the fish and vegetables.
4.   Return pie tin to the oven for 35 more minutes. Then turn the oven off but leave the quiche inside for an additional 10 minutes to set the filling.

* I first cut out the broccoli florets and diced the rest of the stem. Not only did I not waste the broccoli, this also added some crunchiness and texture to the quiche – E didn’t even realise it was the rest of the broccoli at first!
**Blind-baking: to stop the pie crust from collapsing onto itself (see www.nigella.com). I keep a small box of risotto rice in place of baking beans for this purpose.

concepts and perceptions

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