Morcilla and onion tart

Morcilla is a type of Spanish black pudding. It’s rich and vinous, with almost a smoky edge, and has a dryer, finer grain than a British black pudding.

My friend Dave handed me some last week, with the instruction that although it makes a sensational tapas-ish snack, I’d be doing myself a disservice not to make it into an Alsace tart. He also recommends frying it with broad beans and garlic, which I will be doing at the next available opportunity.

Morcilla and onion tart

In the end, this was more like a light quiche lorraine, but bloody hell it was good.

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Swiss chard and raclette tart

Swiss chard may not be especially Swiss, nor is it to everyone’s tastes. But it does go really well with cheese, and since I had some decidedly Swiss raclette left over – and it’s very much to mine – this seemed like a good idea.

Chard has a robust leafy, earthy flavour with a stalky edge some don’t like. This is, of course, more pronounced in the stems. The leaves will wilt down like a stronger, more lettuce-ish spinach. Although they’re tougher and a little waxier.

Swiss chard and raclette tart

What that in mind, a variation on an old favourite springs to mind – the rocket and taleggio pie from the indispensable Silver Spoon.

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A fennel and mozzarella tart, with questionable results

When I was growing up, we had a phrase, an often-repeated piece of kitchen folk wisdom as trite and fundamentally meaningless as any other: we eat all our disasters.

What can I say? It’s nicer than “shut up and eat it, because there isn’t anything else” – the solidarity of gallows humour for burnt stews and sunken cakes. I’m yet to hear any piece of folk wisdom or street smarts that didn’t reduce either to meaning nothing or just being a memorably pithy example of a logical fallacy. But this one has stuck somehow.

We eat all our disasters. My mother said it a lot, jokingly in the main, as she very rarely miscalculated in the kitchen. She would probably have known better than to attempt yesterday’s lunch.

All of which is a floridly round-about way of saying that I fucked this up but ate it anyway.

Fennel & mozzarella tart with hummus

It’s a pseudo-quiche of fennel and mozzarella, and it went a little askew. Oh, the flavours worked well enough, I just failed to anticipate quite how much water is locked up in fresh fennel and inexpensive mozzarella.

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Lactose-free ham and spinach quiche

My boyfriend is lactose intolerant. You can probably imagine that this occasionally makes cooking tricky. I’m not a big fan of food substitutes and fakes – “tofurkey” and mycoprotein dressed as lamb can go hang. Soy milk just doesn’t taste right to me, and the texture always seems off when I cook with it.

Fortunately, there’s lactofree products. This is regular cow’s milk, passed over what I assume will be lactase to remove and break down the lactose, rendering it largely safe. It works, and there’s minimal impact on the taste. Their faux cheddar tastes a bit rubbery and bland, mind,  but I can’t fault the milk, cream, or cream cheese.

More importantly, this let me service a quiche craving and win moderate boyfriend points.

Pancetta & spinach quiche
Pancetta & spinach quiche

It was a cobbled-together and very much from-memory recipe, but here it is. This isn’t quite dairy-free, but for the intolerant rather than the outright allergic, it’s probably fine. That said, I accept no responsibility, please don’t sue me, and so on, and so forth.

It’s also surprisingly quick and easy.

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