Thursday, 11 July 2013

What to eat when it's too hot to cook

I don't know about you but I get bored with plain salads when I don't want to cook because turning the cooker on will raise the temperature in my kitchen from kitchen to kiln. Add to that the fact that husband doesn't really like barbeques. I know! We don't own one, so our children are of course deprived - they've only been to barbeques at other people's houses.

Options are limited - sandwiches? Repetitive. Stir fries? Too faffy. And salads aren't the children's favourite.

I say that, but I have found one or two main course salad type recipes that the children wolf down. We like this spicy salmon tabbouleh which takes a few minutes cooking, I microwave the salmon and just pour hot  water on the bulgar. This smoked mackerel and potato salad needs the potatoes cooking and so do they in this bean, ham and egg salad but it's just one ring on the hob.

I'm afraid that if I want options, I do resort to some bought things at this time of year, that I can just take out of a fridge, pop on a plate and add salad leaves, tomatoes, and some cucumber - hey presto, dinner! Which also means I have more time to do other things too.

Recently, the people from Higgidy Pies gave me the chance to try out some of their pies. Being the time of year, I'm not really in the mood for pies in this weather so we've been trying out the quiches instead. First, we tried the Balsamic Onion and Mature Cheddar quiche which went so quickly I didn't get chance to take a  photo. At the top is the usual cheesy egg filling topped with a cheese and onion crumb but underneath, just above the pastry base is a balsamic onion chutney. The children eyed it suspiciously because they complain about "too much onion" (even though they eat it in most things without realising) but they ate it and actually liked it.I liked the combination of flavours and the nice touch of seeds in the pastry.

Then, we tried out their Crustless Smoked Bacon and Mature Cheddar quiche. Now, I struggle with crustless quiches. I make my own which is fab but as I said, I'm not baking in this heat if I can avoid it! But then, I started seeing them in the shops - but they do have pastry. If you don't believe me, have a look at the ingredients page on the Higgidy website. It's 18% pastry. Normal quiches are 23-24% pastry. Why is that crustless? The pastry is identical to the regular quiches, there's just a bit less of it. Odd. I don't really get why they do this, or indeed call it crustless. As you can see from the photo above, the crust is noticeably thinner.

Anyway, apart from this, we also enjoyed this. The custard was similar to the balsamic onion quiche but it was topped with bacon lardons and a crumb nicely flavoured with a bit of parsley. Again, it didn't last long (but long enough for me to grab a quick snap) and we ate it with some salad leaves and some coleslaw. Yes, I bought that too!

My only reservation about them is the price. At £3.99, they would be only an occasional treat. Up against own brand versions, some like Waitrose are similarly priced but others are less than half the price. I know there would be a quality difference but it is a huge price gap. I think I'll be waiting for them to be on special offer.

Higgidy are running a competition at the moment aimed at new parents in honour of the imminent arrival of the royal baby.  They have three boxes of Higgidy pies and quiches to give away and one of the pies will be personalised with the name of their baby. If you don't have a baby, you can enter for someone who does, and the competition is open until a week after the royal baby arrives. To enter, all you need to do is go here and enter your name and email. It's that simple.

(Higgidy Pies sent me some vouchers to try their range for free. I have not been paid further for this post.)
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