Most Zimbabwean children were put off eating vegetables due to the cooking methods of boarding schools – sadly they were all boiled.. bad enough – but over boiled – yikes! Every nutrient was nuked. How was one meant to enjoy a sloppy pile of olive green “matter”?
It was almost impossible to identify which vegetable was being served, although at least we knew when we were getting carrots. However, these were boiled to a sad, pale, peach colour. I remember the nauseating smell of boiled spinach or cabbage wafting down the corridors of Godfrey Huggins, Marandellas (now Marondera), as we lined up for lunch. I was always relieved when gem squash was also served – at least I could hide the spinach under the upturned skin! I’m sure the matrons always knew what was going on as they cleared the plates – why were there so many upside down gem squash skins on such clean plates?
Spinach is a vegetable which grows beautifully here in Umguza, and thankfully my faith in this versatile vegetable has been restored. There is a bountiful supply of this disease-free, prolific and nutritious leafy veg growing through every season – from Swiss Chard, with it’s gorgeous cerise, yellow and green stems and veins, to old fashioned green spinach, as well as the baby variety.
Luckily we have cream and eggs “on tap”. Soured cream or creme fraiche adds so much flavour to this tasty quiche! I love making this crustless version, as I do not enjoy making pastry, and of course it reduces the calorie intake hugely. To be honest I never look at a recipe and I wing it when I make this so I do hope the quantities are ok.
This will make a large quiche for a big family – my normal ceramic quiche dish is 34 x 24cm and 7cm deep. Try it and let me know. Here goes!
Jacarandell Crustless Spinach Quiche
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Chop and fry 2 onions (preferably red) with 2 big cloves of crushed garlic in a splash of olive oil until golden.
Melt a large knob of butter in a saucepan on medium heat, add a few tablespoons water and add approximately 12 large chopped up spinach leaves with Finely sliced stalks until they are wilted. Stir the spinach with Mr Sibanda’s spatula – perfect for this job. Do not overcook! Drain the spinach through a colander and cool.
Beat 4 large eggs and mix with 400- 500 mls warmed cream (soured is best – soured farm cream is better!)
Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, freshly ground pepper and a few pinches nutmeg to the cream and egg mixture, then stir in the wilted spinach, fried onions and garlic.
Grease a large pyrex or oven proof ceramic dish and pour the mixture in.
Cover with grated cheddar cheese – the thicker the layer, the better! Sprinkle paprika over the top.
Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes – make sure the top is golden brown and the quiche is cooked through. Cool slightly and serve with salad and crusty bread. YUM!
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