Have you ever wondered what makes something delicious? I am not just talking about sweets or baked goods here. What is it about some foods and dishes that make them so likeable I am not alone in pursuit to find this answer. Think of the newest form of cooking, kitchen Gastronomy, has brought about the scientific answers to life’s big food questions. As I have said many time before I adore Heston and his way of cooking but I also enjoy his scientific explanations for why we enjoy food. My mind was blown when he done the test for making biscuits more “biscuity” by dunking in tea or coffee.
I remember reading that a few of our favourite food have addictive compounds in it. Coffee has caffeine, cheese has K proteins and fat; and well bread is carbs. We have all heard to headlines that sugar can be as addictive as alcohol and I think there is movement for it to be classified as medical disorder too.
What is your favourite dish or food? Could it be the textures or sounds that come from a crisp packet of chips or the slurping noise that come from a warm bowl of soup? What about the temperature factor?
I have noticed that all my favourite foods lie on the temperature extremes. It must be super cold or boiling hot; nothing in between. Maybe it is our nostalgic memories of child hood favourites which draw us to like certain food more than others. However don’t quote me on this, am no food scientist; I am only a curious baker. Can you name why your favourite foods are so addictive? While some of the food stuff are obviously made to be loved, there I one problem with thinking like this.
This logic cannot be used if I need to explain my love of fruits and vegetables, In particular apples and spinach. I am sure many of you guys have favourite fruit and vegetable that can be just as satisfying as your favourite sweet or street food. My obsession with apple is well known among my family that I have gone out at 11pm to buy myself apples to eat because I was craving them. Crazy? Just a little bit. Justified? Totally.
Talking about cravings, I am going through a phase were I am in love with corn (again). Corn is one of the gastronomic delights that is wonderful as a savoury or sweet, warm or cold and has an infinite number of uses. Now I am new to Yotam Ottolenghi work, seriously the best recipes I have come by in a long time. They are so fresh and original. I am dying to try other savoury dishes but for now I settled on pastry.
Polenta is added to this short crust tart which delivers crispness, even when it is eaten the next day. Also I prefer that it help “cuts” the bland butterness of normal pastry which I admit can be too much sometimes. I used this as a base for a twist on classic quiche While we all know the basis of a good quiche is eggs and milk; I was out of these on this day. HORROR!! However I have been saved by the use of this egg less quiche with corn, chives and bacon.
You would think that this egg less version will be inferior to the egg one but it is not. It has its own creamy silkiness without the sometimes unfortunate scent of over cooked eggs. It is like breakfast in a quiche! How good is that? I am not going to say that this recipe may over take your families traditional quiche, but it is a nice way of catering to egg free crowd and can be easily made vegan. Crispy pastry, creamy but solid filling laced with the sweetness of corn and salty smoked bacon; easily a great main meal or side snack.
Egg less double corn quiche.
Makes 6 15cm tartlets.
Polenta pastry (plus blind bake)
Barely adapted From Yotam Ottolenghi
170g Plain flour
60g Fine polenta
140g butter or soy alternative ( add one tbsp of xanthan gum if using soy)
50ml soy milk
1/2tsp white ground pepper
In a food processor, cut the pastry ingredients except the milk to fine crumbs.
Add the milk ( tbsp. at a time) and mix until it starts coming togther,
Tip out on to a work surface lightly dusted with flour, and work until the pastry comes together. Gently roll it out into a roughly 5mm thick round disc.
Lifting the pastry with a palette knife, turn it around as you roll, then use a rolling pin to lay it in your tart cases. Cut off any excess hanging over the edges and use the offcuts to patch up any gaps. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Heat the oven to 180C. Place a circle of greaseproof paper on top of the pastry case, fill with baking beans and bake for 20 minutes.
You can make your filling now (recipe below)
Remove the paper and beans, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked through. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 160C.
Pour Filling into polenta cases and bake for 15-20 minutes until it is set and golden.
Eggless chive, bacon and corn filling
Apadted from Taste.com
40g soy spread or butter
100g short cut cooked bacon, in small; diced or replace with vegetables and tofu in the same amounts.
100g corn cooked kernals
370ml soymilk or regular milk
30g chopped chives
1tsp miso paste
60g Gruyere ( omit if vegan and use 2tbsp nutritional yeast plus 1 tbsp cornflour or 60g grated soy cheese)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter, miso and flour together. Stir continuously until a paste forms.
Remove from heat and slowly whisk in milk, making sure to remove all extra roux bits.
Return to heat and stir continuously until it is thickened, it should coat the back of spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in your corn, chives, cheese and bacon. Cover with cling film until ready to bake.