Do you ever find that certain smells and tastes evoke certain memories? This can work in both a positive and negative way, of course, but let’s focus on the positive. Lavender oil on my pillow at night, for example, makes me think of hot summer days in general – the picnic-on-the-lawn days when you sleep with all the windows open – but more specifically the day we visited the lavender farm last July. It evokes memories of strolling among the fragrant flowers in shorts and t-shirt before gorging ourselves on thickly buttered lavender scones and softly crumbling lavender shortbread, washed down with fresh lavender tea, consumed on wooden benches outdoors whilst swatting away wasps. Piña coladas make me think of sandy feet, rooftop bars, and being eighteen. Spices like cinnamon and ginger are cosy jumpers, warm fires, falling leaves and Christmas lights. G&Ts will always remind me of Oxford: croquet on warm evenings, and tall men in tuxedos.
I’m not sure what it is about quiche – maybe it’s because there’s a quiche at every extended family event, or because we often used to have it for Sunday lunch when I was a child – but it has comforting, spring-like connotations for me. Served with buttery new potatoes and a fresh green salad, the positive memory is complete. Although the crumble of the pastry is part and parcel of its comfort, I’ve discovered that making it yourself is in fact not as comforting as eating it, so I’ve left it out and made the recipe as simple as possible whilst still being tasty. However, less lazy chefs should feel free to put in the extra effort, or even just buy a ready-made pastry case.
- 150g hard goats’ cheese, grated
- 1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
- 50g watercress, roughly chopped
- 5 eggs
- 300ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C (140 fan). Butter a 9 inch flan dish and then spread the grated goats cheese, chopped spring onions and watercress across the bottom of the dish.
- Beat the eggs, then gradually add the milk and beat that in too.
- Pour the egg mixture over the other ingredients in the dish, and move the mixture around so that all is evenly distributed and covered.
- Bake for about 45 minutes — you will probably want to cover it with foil after 30 minutes to stop it burning though. It should be slightly golden on top and set in the middle. Remove, let cool for 5-10 minutes, then serve. It also tastes great cold though!