I’m setting myself a challenge

Specifically, I am setting myself a blog challenge.

Some of my frequent readers might have noticed that I put a little flag counter widget on the blog a couple of months ago. I like seeing which continents and countries my readers come from. So far, I’ve had visitors from 28 different countries.

And I have decided that I’m going to cook a dish from each one of those countries and share the recipe with you here. My goal is to cook one per week so it will take me a few months to complete this challenge. I hope you will come along for the ride!

Now, which country shall I choose first?

What I’m listening to this weekend

I bought Lana Del Rey’s CD today and I look forward to putting it onto my iPod and listening to the whole album.

Somehow I missed last summer’s hype about Lana Del Rey which isn’t really surprising as I tend to avoid music in the charts because most of it isn’t to my taste. But when I heard her song, Video Games, played on the radio a couple of months ago I loved the song and wanted to find out what other songs she sings. And I have since become aware of the continuing hype that surrounds this singer. I am also aware that a lot of the media are delighting in ‘Lana-bashing’ and there is a huge amount of bitchy criticism floating around but I enjoy her music; I think she is a fresh, new talent who deserves to be applauded, not torn apart by the media.

This is the title track from her album. Take a listen and see what you think…

Video linked from YouTube. No copyright infringement intended – I do not own any rights over this video.

Food: butternut squash quiche recipe

There are other butternut squash quiche recipes out there but this one is mine, all mine. And it is delicious! 🙂

Butternut squash quiche

Butternut squash Quiche

Ingredients for the short crust pastry quiche crust:

1½ cups/187 g plain all-purpose flour

½ cup/113 g margarine

Approx. 3 – 4 tablespoons cold water

Ingredients for the quiche:

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 – 3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes

4 eggs

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Oregano

Smoked paprika (optional)

Step 1: Make the shortcrust pastry. Put the flour into a bowl and add the margarine. Use your fingertips to lightly rub the margarine into the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Then slowly add the cold water and mix gently together with a wooden spoon to bring the mixture together to form a dough. If the dough is a bit soggy or you added too much water, add a little more flour.

When you have made the dough, put it in a food bag and pop it in the fridge while you prepare the filling for the quiche.

Step 2: Sauté the onion and garlic lightly in olive oil with a pinch of oregano for about 10 minutes. Then add the butternut squash cubes and continue to cook. Stir frequently to avoid the vegetables sticking to the pan and add more olive oil if necessary. Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook until the butternut squash pieces are fairly tender (about 20 minutes).

Step 3: While the squash is cooking, take the pastry out of the fridge, roll it out and carefully put it into a greased quiche pan. Pierce the bottom of the quiche crust a few times with a fork to prevent air bubbles when it cooks. Next, line the quiche tin with baking parchment and place baking beans or pastry weights on top of it. Blind bake the quiche crust at 365ºF/185ºC for approx. 10 – 15 minutes. Then take it out of the oven. Keep checking the squash and when it is cooked, remove it from the stove while you prepare the eggs.

Step 4:  Beat the eggs thoroughly, adding salt and pepper and, optionally, a small pinch of smoked Spanish paprika if you have some. Then pour the eggs into the saucepan and mix well with the butternut squash, adding another small pinch of oregano.

Step 5: Pour the eggs and squash mixture into the quiche pan and smooth it with a spoon so that the filling is evenly dispersed. If you wish, top with a little grated cheese. Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes at 365ºF/185ºC. It should be golden on top and have a firm consistency.

Step 6: Serve and enjoy!

February weekend

I took this picture last Saturday, on a cold morning when the hazy mist was lying low over the hills and the orange tinge to the clouds heralded the arrival of snow. It’s by no means a spectacular photo but I like it because it reminds me of a watercolor painting, with the silhouetted trees in the distance and the soft outlines of the landscape.

February