I try and do as little work as possible. In the kitchen, this means using the fewest number of pans to generate the least amount of washing up. Here’s something that’s recently become a weekly ritual that provides five meals from a few vegetables.
Last time I cooked the quiche stage of the process, my mate Philippe – a great chef and all-round excellent person (“un bon mec” in French) – had a taste and recommended a couple of spices to add interest, which you’ll see in a minute.
Meal 1 – roasted veggies
Use whatever veggies you fancy at the time. Probably best to pick these up on the same day as cooking. I went for a couple of potatoes (boiled from cold for a couple of minutes, then fried in a little oil to start giving it some colour), a sweet potato, a couple of courgettes, an onion, some celeriac, a red pepper (out of season, I know, but so good), a couple of large cloves of garlic, and a couple of parsnips. Looks like I forgot the carrots this time. Pour some olive oil over them and some honey, then mix by hand (I added the potatoes after this, to save burning myself unnecessarily).
Bang them in a high(ish) oven until they look like this (it might have been about 1.5 hours).
Eat as much as you like (including all the potato – it’s a bit weird in a quiche) and leave the rest for…
Meals 2-5 – veggie quiche
Dig out a couple of spices. On the chopping board, below, are some coriander seeds crushed under a sturdy glass and chopped a bit (I don’t have a pestle and mortar at the moment), some paprika and massala.
Chop your leftover (cold) veggies.
Stick some pastry in a tray that looks like it will do the job (I leave the pastry – flaky or not – for five minutes in a warm room before opening the packet, to make it more user-friendly, and also leave the grease-proof paper under it during cooking). Grate some cheese onto the pastry, then add the veggies (I added the rest after this photo).
Beat five or six eggs with a fork (I do have a whisk, but this recipe is destined for a new site where we’ll use the minimum amount of equipment as possible). Add some milk (this bottle was full before – so, not too much) and the spices, and some salt and pepper.
Add this mix to the pan.
And put into a high(ish) oven for about 35 minutes, until it looks like this. (I take the grease-proof paper off for a few minutes at the end, to crisp up the pastry).
Eat one portion hot, then have some cold for lunch on three days. Or an easy dinner. Or a breakfast. (There are no rules.)
I’m currently working on a new website with Philippe, where he will demonstrate, though recipes, how to use spices to make restaurant-quality food you can prepare easily at home. When we have a few recipes up, I will give you the name. This summer’s guests at the écovallée yurt camp will also have the chance to cook with Philippe using veggies from just down the field – and eggs, if needed, from the chicken run.