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Ham, Leek and Kale Quiche with Beetroot-Cumin Pastry

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Winter vegetables does not necessarily mean Soups and Stew. Although I must agree they are very warming and colder the weather, the better these dishes taste. As for lunch using similar winter vegetables like freshly picked Leeks and Kale and from the store cupboard Potatoes and Beetroots, a quick and easy, yet a warming lunch can be made in the form of this Quiche.

Garden


Leeks: are a must grow on my list of vegetables and always from seed and always started in small plant pots in the greenhouse in the month of May. I prefer to grow them in pots and under the shelter of the greenhouse. 
Reason being, in previous years ,seedlings have had an attack from black aphids which suck the seedlings dry. I found spraying them with soapy water, and running my hand, washing the leaves on a daily basis helped. Starting the seeds in pots has lessened the risk of leek seedlings from getting affected, as I can keep a better eye on them, but also keeping/planting Nasturtiums as Companion Plants, to attract the black aphids, that will gather in large numbers on the Nasturtium leaving my Leek and Onion seedlings alone.
Black Aphids on the Nasturtiums.
Starting vegetables from seed helps me control the environment for these plants, right from the germination stage to harvest. As for the choice of Leek seeds, I will always grow the variety Musselburgh, only because the soil conditions on my plot suits this variety well, but will always add a new variety each year and see if that is as successful as Musselburgh on my plot. To date: I’m afraid, my ‘Leek List’ has only one variety on it. 
Please let me know which varieties are successful on your plot or garden, that I may try as well.

Musselburgh Seedlings planted out in early July.
As for the Kale; Cavolo Nero has always been successful on my plot, but this year decided to try and grow several different varieties including a new variety called Black Magic, “bred for the British Climate”, as it says on the packet.
Well, I can tell you not only did the weather suit it wonderfully, it was the favourite for the caterpillars too. This variety in a group of 4 varieties grown in the same space, only Black Magic leaves got decimated overnight. You could say, just like magic!
Glad I left the plants in the ground, they slowly recovered and noticed new leaf growth, plants are quite small (In the photo, bottom right corner) compared with the Dazzling Blue, True Siberian and Kale ‘Red Russian’ 
4 Named Varieties of Kale
In this year’s rotation, the whole section of my Brassica plot (was previously planted with a variety of Green manure called Field Beans), is now reaping the reward. Note the only feed these plants in this section have had is my home made Nettle feed. 
If you plan to make this brew, word of advice during the brewing process it will smell like Sewage, (I will not use any floral words, that is the only honest way I can describe it), so gloves for your hands and clothes pegs for the nose, will become the must have fashion accessories in the Summer. On the plus side, smell does not last long, once in contact with the soil, this ‘not so lovely odour’ soon disappears. 
This is a simple way of recycling the unwanted Nettle to become organic plant feed, in turn, healthy plants feeding its Grower. 

Homemade Nettle and Comfrey Feeds as well as Organic Seaweed Feeds
Now to enjoy all the brassica crops until Spring of next year and hoping these plants help me fill the hunger gap during the Spring months.

Kitchen

I must admit, meal time can be quite challenging; but as long as I can keep the meals interesting, even though some vegetables are the same, week in week out (seasonal food) especially in the winter months, then everyone is happy and well fed. 

As we all know, we eat with our eyes first. 

Winter vegetables does not necessarily have to be used in just those wonderful heart warming stews and soups only. I like to use them for quick light lunches too. For this recipe, as well as using freshly picked Leeks and Kale, there are still a few Beetroots left in the cold store and plenty of organic Potatoes too. 

To make the Pastry I have used the same measurements and instructions as in my previous Quiche recipe, adding a teaspoon of lightly crushed Cumin seeds and used freshly squeezed beetroot juice (instead of water) to bind. Marrying the Beetroot juice with the Cumin flavour, will give the Pastry a very subtle hint of earthiness and smokiness. Making the pastry just as interesting as the filling, if not more.

As for the filling; dice no more than 50g of cooked Ham; sauté some chopped leek in a little butter and season with salt and pepper. Prepare the Kale by removing the leaf from the stalk and chopping it up into little pieces. Also grated a par boiled potato (just to give it more body, again this is optional), I used Charlotte potato variety, as these waxy potatoes do not become mushy when boiled. Mix all vegetables into a bowl, season to taste and finally add Gureye cheese and fill the slightly cooled pastry casing, topping with the cream and egg mix. As for the cooking instructions, they are the same as my previous recipe .


You can use any combinations of vegetables, summer vegetables or winter vegetables. In the past, I have made quiche using left over chicken too, but to be honest I still prefer a little ham in the Quiche when I am making a non vegetarian option.

Enjoy x

Have you any cunning ways to change things up? Especially during the winter months. Love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

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