Parmesan and Belper Knolle Crisps

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Another cheesy recipe, I just can’t get enough! A regular Saturday night for us this time of year in Geneva would be to get some cheeses from the markets and a couple of bottles of wine, sitting in front of the X Factor whilst munching our way through our goodies. There are such a wide variety of cheeses available in Geneva we were always trying new ones. It was there that I found one of my favorite cheeses. Tête de Moine is a tasty swiss cheese that has an A.O.C. so you know you are eating the real deal. If you speak french you may know that Tête de Moine means Monks head. It was originally made by monks, just our side of the rosti border . I was surprised to find that you can buy Tête in a number of places here in Singapore. I was also surprised to try a new cheese in Singapore, not just a new cheese but a new swiss cheese we had never heard of. I did a bit of research and found that Belper Knolle is made near Bern, the other side of the rosti border and Switzerland’s capital city. I found that belper should be used as a topping on pastas and risottos rather than as a table cheese. To get the flavors out, it is best thinly sliced or grated and allowed to air for a couple of minutes before crumbling over your dish. I made a pea and mint pesto the other week and it was delicious stirred through some spaghetti along with the pesto. We only used a tiny amount and the flavors really came through. I was thinking of a new way to use it rather than just sprinkled over some pasta and I decided I would make some Parmesan crisps with a little Belper Knolle. They turned out great and really tasty! Parmesan crisps can be used to top salads, soups, risottos or even eaten with dips. Here’s how I did it.

What you need to make 5 crisps…

50g Fresh grated parmesan – this won’t work with the pre-grated stuff you get in the dry goods section of the supermarket

1 Thin slice of belper knolle

SCC Parmesan and Belper Knolle SCC Uncooked Cheese Crisp

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by covering with grease proof paper (I used a silicone mat) and cover with parmesan shapes. Don’t stack the parmesan too thickly, it’s nice to get that webbed effect on the crisps.

SCC Close up Parmesan Crisp

Leave an inch between each shape and gently slide your tray into the oven so as to not shake the cheese and make your shapes wonky! Cook for about 5 minutes, until golden and crisp. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container with a peice of grease proof paper between each layer. You can leave out the Belper if you can’t get your hands on it or add your own herbs and spices to the parmesan before cooking. I’ve added cooked bacon lardons before and they were yummy! Another way to serve them is to mould them around the bottom of a small container or glass whilst they are still warm and serve dips in them – well that’ll save the washing up later!

SCC Uncooked Heart Crisp

SCC Bacon Heart Cooked CrispsSCC Parmesan Crisp with Soup

Quiche au Gruyère

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Quiche was always a favorite for Mum and me. She would sometimes bring home a couple of slices of Cheese and Onion from the deli counter where she worked many years ago. It would put a smile on my face to see that plastic bag in the fridge with the sticker printout reading QUICHE.

It’s only in recent years that I’ve extended myself to eating Quiche Lorraine and other varieties rather than just the cheese and onion from my childhood, if you know me well, then you’ll know I’m a sucker for almost anything cheese and onion flavored.

In Switzerland, bacon lardons and Gruyère, the swiss cheese traditionally used in Quiche au Gruyère, are both readily available and reasonably priced and so are great ready made pastries if you don’t have neither the time nor willingness to make your own. I guess that’s why I eventually perfected this recipe in Geneva. I much prefer homemade pastry although I now have to give it a miss and go straight for the ready made here in Singapore. My kitchen temperature generally averages at around 30 degrees and being one of the only rooms in our condo without air conditioning, it’s difficult to make a tasty pastry. As the old saying goes, cold hands make good pastry. This is because the warmer the fat is, the more flour it absorbs and the pastry becomes tough. That aside, I have actually made this a couple of times without any pastry at all which cuts out some of those calories too!

What you’ll need…

SCC Quiche Ingredients

Short crust pastry, be it homemade or straight from the store or just leave it out completely!

Butter for greasing

100g cooked bacon lardons

4 eggs

160ml double cream

75g Gruyere

100ml milk

20cm, circular Flan dish  – If your dish is slightly smaller, you can just pour any left over mixture into muffin tins to make make mini crustless quiches. Cook for about 20 mins until golden and set and pop them in the fridge once cooled and they make great little snacks!

 SCC Fried Bacon

Preheat the (fan assisted) oven to 160 degrees. If you are using pastry, you will need to blind bake the pastry in the flan dish. To do this, simply grease the dish with the butter, lay the sheet of pastry into the dish pressing it in smoothly. Leave a little pastry as an over lap – I usually cut this off once it’s all cooked. Next you’ll need to lay a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and fill with baking beans If you don’t have baking beans you can use dried beans, pulses or rice instead. This bit stops the pastry from rising up. Bake for 20 mins before carefully removing the beans, continue to bake for an additional 5 mins.

Its not very photogenic but thats what working with pastry in 30 degrees plus does!

Its not very photogenic but thats what working with pastry in 30 degrees plus does!

Whilst this is cooking we can make the filling. Beat the eggs in a jug and then add the milk and cream and beat a little more. I always beat the eggs separately and then add the milk and cream afterwards as I have made this before and noticed whilst pouring the filling into the case, I still had a whole yolk. Now add the bacon and cheese, stir through and season with salt and pepper.

This is the crustless version with the mixture poured straight into the flan dish

This is the crustless version with the mixture poured straight into the flan dish

Next, without taking the flan dish out of the oven you’ll need to pour the mixture into the case, this is so that you can get as much mixture in as possible without it spilling over the edge. Using an oven glove, slide the oven shelf out and pour the mixture into the case. Continue to bake for 40 minutes until nice and golden on top. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing and serving with a fresh side salad. Any left overs can be chilled and eaten straight form the fridge.

Crustless, fresh from the oven. Just like a gooey, cheesy, creamy, oven baked omelette

Crustless, fresh from the oven. Just like a gooey, cheesy, creamy, oven baked omelette

Served with salad for a yummy weekend lunch. I added a handful of chopped mushrooms to the mixture here as I had some in the fridge

Served with salad for a yummy weekend lunch. I added a handful of chopped mushrooms to the mixture here as I had some in the fridge

Cheesy potato skins

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Finger food really is great, you can have so many of your favorite things in one sitting without feeling like you’ve been sat at an all you can eat Las Vegas buffet. I regularly do these if we have guests coming round for nibbles as all the prep work can be done beforehand and then you can just bung them in the oven to heat through once you’re getting hungry, leaving you to enjoy a nice cold glass of wine. I digress, back to the food! In this case, we fired up the BBQ for the first time in our new home and I just had to make some of these yummy gooey potato skins to pop on the coals.

 

All you’ll need is

 

Baked potatoes (enough to serve everyone who’s eating)

Butter (you’ll need a small chunk to help blend the ingredients)

Cheese, grated, I used 50g with 3 small potatoes but use as much or as little as you like, it all depends on how much you like cheese!

Onion, roughly chopped, I used half for the two of us but again, it depends how much you like it

Bacon lardon, I used about 40g for two servings

Salt and pepper

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Clean and pierce the potatoes and bake in the oven as you would a baked potatoes. Leave until cool enough to handle. This next bit is easier to do if the potatoes are still slightly warm. Cut in half and scoop out the filling taking care not to tear the skins. Roughly mash the potatoes with the other ingredients and spoon it all back into the skins. At this point you can either leave to cool and refrigerate over night or wrap and pop them in the freezer but if you want them now, stick them straight into the oven at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the tops go golden, or, as we did last night, wrap them individually in foil and pop them on the BBQ until they’re nice and hot.

 

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Cheddar and onion is one my favorite flavor combinations but it’s so easy to experiment, last night I did a mix of Cheddar, onion and bacon and Stilton, bacon and onion, you could also try adding spring onions, salad peppers, sweet corn or even baked beans for the kids!