Alison Crowther-Smith

Archive for June, 2017

Knit Camp 2017

Monday, June 26th, 2017

The designs for my Knit Camp are now all complete, and the final two items are on the needles.  Those people who are coming to Knit camp have been seeing monthly Knit Camp Bulletins from me with news and glimpses of the five featured designs.

So here are some of the images of things I have been working on.

The theme is Bath – its culture, history and architecture.  This has proved a rich seam for me.  Next month all the designs go off to the pattern checker, the inimitable Donna Jones, and then I will do the photo shoot.  If – and I very much hope it will be – the event proves to be fun, exciting and packed with knitting time, we may well run another Knit Camp again, in future years.  Let me know if you’d be interested in that.

Quiche Recipes

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

quiches 2 quiches

You probably don’t need a quiche recipe but a couple of people have asked for some so here goes.

The pastry is shortcrust and I make 2 lbs at a time and freeze it in 2 batches.  1/2 lb lines one quiche dish generously.  My quiche dishes are quite big and they are ceramic. I think metal dishes are better but these look nicer for serving in workshops.

I make the pastry with plain flour, very cold water, and all butter. If I was making them for just us and I had any in, I’d make it with 50% lard for savoury things but it’s not veggie so I can’t for workshops.

I line the dishes with the pastry and then make sure it is not dead level with the top sides; I sort of make it stand up a bit round the edges. This is because the egg batter rises.  I guess the pastry is rolled to about 2 – 3mm deep.

I never bake them blind.  I usually line the dishes 24 hours ahead, then cling-film them and chill right up to when I make the quiche.

These fillings are all made with this batter:

  • 4 medium free-range eggs
  • A small size pot of single cream
  • Full or semi-skimmed milk to make the batter up to c700 ml in total volume
  • Pepper

I usually make the fillings 24 hours ahead and cover in cling-filmed bowls in the ‘fridge until just before I want to cook them.

I usually make the quiches between 7 and 10 am on a workshop day and then sit them on a rack until they are cool.  I cover them with a cloth and serve at kitchen temperature.  Even if I was making quiche for home-consumption, I do not serve them hot, just barely warm. They taste a lot better like this.  In all cases except the courgette and the spinach variations, I put the filling in the bottom of the dish, evenly spread, and pour the batter over it before sprinkling with grated cheddar.

Mine take about 50 minutes to cook.  I start them in the middle of the baking over (gas mark 4 or 5) and turn twice as my AGA does not cook evenly.  I pop them in the bottom (usually directly onto the base) of the top roasting oven for the last 10 minutes or so (gas mark 7 or 8).  Putting the dish directly on the base helps to dry out the bottom, but you could get a metal baking sheet very hot and then pop the quiche dish on that – same result. Letting them cool on a rack is crucial to the avoidance of soggy bottoms but still, sometimes it happens.  So the best tip is make sure your fillings are cold when they go into the case, and not wet/slimy.


Classic Quiche Lorraine

  • 1 pack of smoked, streaky bacon (or c8 – 10 slices), chopped quite fine
  • 2 large brown onion, chopped quite fine
  • 1 clove of garlic, very finely chopped
  • 4 generous handfuls of strong cheddar, grated

Fry the onion and bacon in a little oil until cooked and browned.  Add the garlic at the end.  When cold, make up as above, adding a lot of cheddar to the top. There is a lot of cheese on this.  I often lay a sheet of paper-toweling on the top once it is not bubbling anymore and this absorbs the ‘loose’ oil nicely.  It only take a moment.

Salmon and Leek

  • 2 small or medium salmon fillets preferably with the skin still on
  • 4 leeks or fewer if huge, sliced into penny shapes about 1 – 2 cm wide
  • Soya sauce
  • 1 or 2 handfuls of grated cheddar

Put about 3 tablespoons of soya sauce and a dash of oil in a non-stick frying pan and get it hot.  Add the salmon, skin side down and sear.  You can watch the fish cook by looking at the side of the fillets.  Turn.  I don’t cook them through at this stage as they will continue to cook in the oven later, so I remove them when the fish is still a bit pink (rare) in the middle.  Once cool, remove the skin and feed it to the dogs/cat.  Pull the fish into chunks, not too small.  In the same pan, add a ounce of butter and gently saute the sliced leeks until tender, then more heat to colour them a bit. Cool this and gently mix with the fish.  Once cold, lay it in the quiche lining and add the batter (see above) plus 1 or 2 handfuls of grated cheddar.

Goats Cheese and Spinach or Courgette

  • 2 packs of soft goats cheese broken into lumps
  • 1 medium pack of washed and dry young spinach OR 2 medium courgettes, sliced like slant-wise pennies, about 1 cm deep
  • Butter
  • Oil
  • 1 or 2 handfuls of grated cheddar
  • 4 teaspoons of mustard seeds (if using Courgettes); or a scant teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg (if using Spinach)

If using Courgettes, saute them in butter, oil and with the mustard seeds.  Once soft, add more heat to sear them a bit.  At the end (optional) add 1/2 a clove of very finely chopped garlic.

If using Spinach, wilt with butter, very briefly, and then drain/gently squeeze/pat dry.  Garlic always an option, just not much of it. Once cool stir in the nutmeg.

Both:  dot the lumps of goats cheese all over the base of the quiche lining.  If using Courgettes, add about 2/3rds to the case now.  Both:  pour in the batter and then add the other slices of Courgette or the all the spinach to the top of this batter – spread out.  Add 1 or 2 handfuls of grated cheddar.

Variations on the Goats Cheese:

  • Broccoli and Stilton
  • Roasted peppers
  • Other cheeses – any blue cheeses, or feta.  Whatever is left over basically.

Macmillan Afternoon Knit Club, 15 June and 23 November

Monday, June 5th, 2017

These dates could do with a few more knitters.  Based on the current bookings, everyone will have to eat 3 slices of cake and a plate of savouries – and that’s just not fair, even by my feeding standards.

All the fees (£15 a head) will be donated by me to Macmillan Cancer Support.

So it would be awesome (overdone phrase, but in this case, justified) if you could see your way to coming along.  They start at 2, and finish at 5.  You can come/go at any time around these points.

It is just a knitting session, with afternoon tea served basically all the time.  I am making a couple of cakes and some sarnies and if you want to bring something to add to the tea table, that would be marvelous but not by no means compulsory.  Just bring your knitting and crochet.

Here is the link, where either date can be booked.

Please come. Thankyouplease.