what i’m cooking… nicola galloway

Nicola Galloway lives in sunny Nelson, where she writes and photographs the award-winning food blog Homegrown Kitchen (a finalist in the Best Publication category of the Culinary Quill Awards in 2013 and 2015). She’s currently working on her fourth cookbook, which will be published by Potton & Burton in March 2017. We asked her what she’s been cooking lately.

For many years I’ve been eating predominantly with the seasons, drawing heavily on what’s in my garden. Over time I’ve noticed how the colours of what I’m growing seem to complement their corresponding season perfectly – vibrant berries and summer fruit scream sun and warmth, while the produce of autumn is mellower, with a colour palette to match the turning leaves. Winter brings beige and forest green produce – perhaps suggesting the shades of snow and evergreens – with little pops of citrus representing the winter sun hanging low in the sky. Then spring arrives all sprightly and green, heralding the warmer weather to come.

And no other vegetable declares ‘spring’ more loudly than asparagus. Asparagus is the ultimate commitment vegetable as it takes three to four years for the root system to establish before a single spear can be harvested. This year we’re enjoying our second year of harvesting sweet asparagus in our backyard, only footsteps from the kitchen bench, and nothing can compare to the fresh flavour. It’s inspired me to cook this lovely quiche, paired with mint from the garden, eggs from our chickens and a local artisan goat’s cheese.

Asparagus, mint & goat’s cheese quiche with seeded crust
Serves 4-6

For the crust
3/4 cup stoneground white flour (substitute with buckwheat flour to make it gluten-free)
1/3 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
75g room temperature butter or 75ml extra virgin olive oil
1 free-range egg
1-2 tablespoons yoghurt OR sourdough starter*

Grease a deep 20cm quiche dish (or use a 25cm tart dish) with butter or olive oil.
Place the flour, oats and seeds into a food processor and blend until roughly ground. Add the salt along with the butter/oil and pulse until it forms a breadcrumb-like texture. Add the egg plus 1 tablespoon yoghurt/starter and pulse until the mixture forms pea-like balls. Press a little of the mixture between your fingertips – if it holds together without crumbling it’s ready to use; if not, add an extra tablespoon of yoghurt/starter and pulse again until the dough comes together.
Tip the crumbly dough directly into the quiche/tart dish and quickly press to evenly coat the base and sides. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 48 hours).
* Using a sourdough starter will create a lighter crumb and improve the digestion of the grains and seeds.

For the filling
5 free-range eggs
1/2 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
large handful of fresh mint, stalks removed
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 5cm lengths
100g goat’s feta, crumbled

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C. Pre-bake the crust for 15 minutes. Put the eggs, cream and salt in a jug and whisk lightly to combine. Remove the crust from the oven and layer with mint leaves, asparagus and goat’s cheese. Pour the egg mix over the top, then season with freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until just set, then remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges. Can be served warm, or cool completely for a picnic lunch.

Recipe and photographs by Nicola Galloway