This Asparagus Quiche with Fresh Herbs is the perfect early summer lunch or supper recipe. In May and early June, bunches of seasonal fresh asparagus start to appear in the shops and it is time to look up recipes that make the most of it. It is the time of year when the weather becomes warmer and having a picnic or eating outside in the garden become more realistic prospects. It is also the time of year when outdoor concerts or plays, village fetes and sporting events start to take place. If you are looking for the perfect dish to take along to any of these, something easy, seasonal but luxurious, look no further than home-made Asparagus Quiche.
What you need to know about Asparagus Quiche with Fresh Herbs
I generally make my own pastry. It took me many years to realise how easy it is and I do think it tastes better than ready-made pastry. However, if making pastry is not your thing, or you have limited time, you can use ready-made shortcrust pastry. This will make this quiche even quicker and easier to make.
Make sure you use fresh asparagus. There are lots of different varieties, particularly if you go to a farmers market or farm shop, and any would be good in this recipe.
A great technique when you are preparing asparagus is to remove the base of each spear by bending it until it snaps. It will naturally break at the point where the woody and unpalatable stem meets the edible part of the spear.
Make sure you do not overcook the asparagus. This is the basic rule of cooking asparagus. You need to make sure it has a little “bite” and retains its unique flavour.
I generally flavour this quiche with a combination of dill and chives. However, you can choose any non-woody herbs that you prefer. Tarragon and lemon balm would also be excellent choices.
Mature cheddar is my cheese of choice in this quiche as I think it adds a bit of oomph to the asparagus without overpowering it. You can try other cheeses but I would steer clear of blue cheese.
You can eat this quiche either hot, warm or at room temperature. We will sometimes eat it hot with buttery boiled new potatoes for supper. It also is great at room temperature as part of a summer buffet or in a lunch box. If you are making it ahead of time, you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days. Make sure that you bring it out of the fridge at least half an hour before you plan to eat it as it is not at its best if it is icy cold.
Other asparagus recipes
Every year, I look forward to early summer when fresh asparagus is in season. Nowadays, you can buy it all year round but I am a strong believer in eating seasonal, local food. This means that early summer is the time when I get to indulge my love of fresh asparagus. It is great treated simply, just steamed for a few minutes and then either eaten hot with butter or at room temperature with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing. However, it is also a fantastic basis for quiches and savoury tarts. In addition to this Asparagus Quiche, I also make an Asparagus Tart, using ready-made puff pastry, which is fantastic quick and easy lunch or supper dish. I also make a cold Asparagus and Pea Soup with Chervil which is great on a hot summer day either as a light lunch or as a starter for a dinner party.
There are many different types of asparagus with variation in colour, the most common is green asparagus but you can get purple and white, and also the thickness of the stems. If you look in your local farmers’ market or farm-shop at this time of year, you might be lucky and find a variety of different types.
Other quiche and tart recipes
I make a lot of quiches and savoury tarts. In my view, they are one of the most versatile and useful dishes. They are easy to make and easy to divide into portions, they can be made in advance, they can be served hot or cold, there are a lot of vegetarian options which still seem to please meat-eaters and there are lots and lots of possible flavour combinations. In addition to this Asparagus Quiche, some of my favourites from this are listed below.
Asparagus Quiche with Fresh Herbs is the perfect early summer lunch, supper or picnic recipe – easy, seasonal, luxurious and great eaten hot or cold.
For the pastry:
275 g (10 oz) plain flour
125 g fat (5 oz) I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
A little water
For the filling:
15 asparagus spears
a large bunch of fresh dill or herb fennel (2 tablespoons when chopped)
a large bunch of fresh chives (2 tablespoons when chopped)
Salt and pepper
100 ml (4 fl oz) double cream
75 g (3 oz) Cheddar or other full-flavoured cheese
Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl. Add the fat and combine – either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
Roll out your pastry and use it to line a 25 cm quiche or flan dish. Bake for 15 minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”. This will stop the filling making it soggy and ensure that the base is crisp.
Next, prepare the asparagus spears. Remove the base of each spear by bending it until it snaps. It will naturally snap at the point where the thicker, less palatable base section starts.
Either steam the asparagus spears for three minutes or plunge them into boiling water for the same amount of time. This will partially cook the spears but retain their crunch and flavour.
Place the part-cooked asparagus spears in the pastry case.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the cream, and beat until combined. Grate the cheese and add to the mixture. Then finely chop the dill (or herb fennel) and chives and also add to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and then pour it into the pastry case.
Place your quiche or flan dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
This Asparagus Quiche can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature.
Marinated Feta with Garlic, Chilli and Fresh Herbs
I love this Marinated Feta recipe. For me, it is the perfect example of how by adding a few flavouring elements – garlic, chilli and fresh herbs – you can transform simple feta cheese into a truly memorable dish. It is so easy to make and it keeps for up to a month in the refridgerator. This is food preparation that anyone can do. It does not require any level of culinary skill but allows you to be creative with flavours and produce something that is tailored to your individual taste. Marinated Feta is also really versatile and is great as a nibble with drinks or on bread as a light lunch. It is also excellent for picnics as it can be transported easily in its own jar.
A cultural mix-up….
Clearly, Marinated Feta is not a traditional English dish but, using herbs from my garden, it brings a bit of sunny Greece to cooler northern Europe. One of the wonderful things about modern English cooking is the way it is influenced by cuisines from other countries which are absorbed and adapted. I think that this is what cooking and developing recipes is all about. In a strange way, this dish is actually inspired by memories of my rural English childhood when, not so long ago, access to foods from other countries was not so common as it is now. When I was about ten, a wonderful Greek delicatessen opened in my local town, bringing olives, dolmades, taramasalata and wonderful Marinated Feta to greedy locals! I loved the garlicky, herby feta and, many years later, tried to recreate it in this recipe.
… and the perfect recipe for experimentation!
I have made this recipe using garlic, chilli and have chosen to use bay leaves, rosemary and thyme as my fresh herbs. However, you can change the flavour combinations according to what you have to hand and what you think tastes good. Don’t like chilli? Leave it out. Love garlic? Put more in! If you have other favourite herbs, why not try them instead?
Feta Cheese, marinated with garlic, chilli and fresh herbs, takes minutes to prepare and keeps for up to a month. It is fantastic as a nibble with drinks or spread on bread for a light lunch. It is also great for a picnic as it is easily transportable.
150 g feta cheese
3 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme (to provide 2 tablespoons of leaves)
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional)
300 ml good quality olive oil
Sterilise a 500 ml capacity jar by washing it in soapy water and then putting it in an oven at 120 C for 15 minutes.
Chop the feta into cubes of approximately 1 cm square and place them in the jar.
Tuck the rosemary sprigs and the bay leaves around the cheese. Strip the leaves off the thyme stems and add them to the jar.
Peel and slice the garlic cloves and add them to the jar.
If using, scatter the chilli flakes over the top of the cheese.
Fill the jar with the olive oil making sure that all the cheese is covered.
Put the lid on the jar and leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours, ideally several days, for the cheese to absorb the flavours of the garlic and herbs.
The marinated cheese will last for up to a month.
When you wish to eat the cheese, remove the jar from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. This will mean the oil is liquid and the flavours are fully developed.
Marinated feta is great on its own as a nibble with drinks. It can also be spread on bread as a light lunch. It is a good option for picnics as it can be easily transported in its jar.
Use this recipe as a basis and experiment with flavours that you like. If you don’t like chilli, leave it out. If you love garlic, put more in. You can alter the quantity and type of herbs used.
I love using herbs in both savoury and sweet recipes. This Rosemary Cake with Lemon is a great demonstration of how the addition of a herb can elevate a very easy and simple recipe. It is unusual but not in a scary way. The flavour of the rosemary is not overpowering but enhances the lemon-flavoured cake. I think it is a fantastic way of showcasing the flavour of this wonderful herb, with its warm, spicy flavour.
The use of fresh rosemary provides and unusual and delicious twist to this easy lemon-flavoured cake.
125 g butter
75 g caster sugar
175 g self-raising flour
4 tablespoons of milk
2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary (each about 10 cm long) plus a few additional sprigs to decorate, if required.
100 g icing sugar
Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment or use a paper loaf tin liner.
Cream the butter with the sugar. (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture. If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.
Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
Add the milk and the grated zest of your lemon.
Remove the needle-like leaves from your sprigs of rosemary and chop finely. Put half of the chopped leaves (about 2 teaspoons) into the cake mixture. The other half should be reserved for use in the drizzle.
Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
While the cake is baking, put the juice from your lemon in a small bowl and add the reserved half of the chopped rosemary leaves. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. The idea is to heat the juice so that the rosemary releases its fragrance. (If you don’t have a microwave, you can heat the juice in a saucepan over a low heat on the stove.) Allow the juice containing the chopped rosemary leaves to cool slightly. Then combine it with 100 g of icing sugar to form a thick syrup.
Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the top.
Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely before removing. If you try and take it out while it is still warm it may fall apart as it will be very moist due to the syrup.
You can decorate the cake with a few further sprigs of rosemary.
Keywords: lemon cake, rosemary cake, loaf cake
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If you are looking for easy, nutritious comfort food which can be whipped up quickly for breakfast, lunch or supper, then look no further than these Baked Eggs with Cheese. I think that this recipe is a brilliant example of the miraculous transformation that you can achieve by cooking familiar ingredients in a slightly different way. Somehow, oven-baking makes two eggs and a bit of cheese into a sustaining and filling dish which is also a bit of a treat. It is absolutely what I want to eat on a lazy weekend morning, particularly after a late night, or when I get home exhausted after a day at work.
Baked Eggs with Cheese is also one of those versatile, flexible dishes which it is always handy to know. They are a vegetarian but fall into the “vegetarian-by-stealth” category in that that non-vegetarians do not seem to notice the lack of meat. Also, you can make as many portions as you need according to how many people you need to feed. So you can have a meal-for-one or a meal for ten (or more!) according to your requirements.
It is also a recipe that is perfect for adaptation according to your particular taste preferences and available ingredients. I love recipes like this as I enjoy experimenting with different flavour combinations. The basic recipe uses eggs, cheese and herbs. In this version, I use cheddar and chives but there are so many other cheese and herb combinations that you could try. Other good combinations are: mozarella and basil, goat’s cheese and dill, ricotta and thyme, blue cheese and chervil.
Easy and versatile. Quick and sustaining. Herby Baked Eggs with Cheese is a go-to recipe for a luxurious breakfast or an after-work supper.
For each serving:
A little melted butter or oil
25 g of hard cheese such as mature cheddar
A small bunch of chives
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons of double cream (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
For each serving you will need a small ramekin or oven-proof bowl.
Set your oven to 200 C or Gas Mark 6.
Lightly grease the inside of each of your ramekin with melted butter or oil.
Grate the cheese and put it in the bottom of the ramekin.
Chop the chives and scatter half of them over the cheese.
Break the eggs into the ramekin.
Spoon the double cream over the eggs. Using the cream makes the dish taste richer but you can leave it out if you want a lighter and healthier meal.
Season with salt and pepper.
Put the ramekin on a baking tray and put in the oven. Bake until the whites are set. Baking times will vary according to your oven and how you like your eggs. It is a good idea to check every now and then the first time that you cook them. In my oven, it takes 12 minutes for runny yolks, 15 minutes for soft cooked yolks and 20 for hard yolks.
Remove the ramekin from the oven. Scatter the rest of the chopped chives over the top.
Serve immediately with some crusty bread if you want to make it a bit more substantial.
You can make this recipe with different cheese and herb combinations. I also like mozarella and basil, goat’s cheese and dill, ricotta and thyme, blue cheese and chervil but there are lots of possibilities and it is fun to experiment!
Keywords: eggs, baked eggs, herbs, chives, cheese
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This recipe is based on on “” by Geraldene Holt, which dates back to the 1980s, and is one of my favourite cookery books, beautifully designed and produced, with fantastic recipes. My version of this recipe is slightly different as I use more garlic, fewer eggs and make individual tartlets rather than one large tart.
These tartlets are all about the taste of the herbs. Often herbs are used to enhance the flavours of other foods but here they are the stars of the show, rather than a supporting act. The choice of herbs to include is up to you, depending on what you have to hand and which flavours you prefer, but they need to be soft herbs (no bayleaves!) and you need to think about the balance of flavours as some stronger herbs, such as rosemary, will dominate the others. I generally include chives as I love their mild oniony flavour and then add other soft, milder herbs that are growing in my herb garden such as parsley, tarragon, chervil or sorrel. You can choose to just use one herb – tarragon or sorrel are good on their own as they both have very distinctive flavours – or use several. If using more than one variety, I would stick to three or four, otherwise the flavours will not be distinct.
Combined with a mixed green salad and maybe a potato salad, these tartlets make a fantastic light summer lunch or supper. They are also good as part of a buffet at a summer party or as a snack at a drinks party.
These Herb Tartlets allow the flavour of fresh herbs to be the star of the show rather than a supporting act.
For the pastry:
275 g plain flour
125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
A little water
For the filling:
1 clove of garlic
150 ml double cream
55 g mixed fresh herbs – such as parsley, chives, chervil, tarragon or sorrel
Salt and pepper
Method: for the pastry
Set oven to 200 degrees C/gas mark 6. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl. Add the fat and combine – either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
Roll out your pastry and use a round pastry cutter to cut circles. Put a circle in each indentation in your tartlet tin.
Method: for the filling
Break the eggs into a bowl, add the cream and beat until mixed.
Add the crushed clove of garlic.
Chop the fresh herbs finely and add them to the cream and egg mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the filling into each pastry circle in your tartlet tin.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
When slightly cooled, remove from the tartlet tin, and place on a cooling rack.
The tartlets can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature.