Having been in France, I had of course noticed that the general quick bites are either the sandwiches that can be found in “boulangeries”, or the pizza pieces offered by Italian eateries. Sandwiches normally consist of a 6-inch baguette, coupled with different fillings. However, it is quite often, that the bread hardens after a period of exposure, making your jaws go clickety-clack when you start chewing on them.
So instead of sandwiches, I like to go for the mini-quiches, or the savoury tarts as some call it. The usuals are Quiche Lorraine, or Tarte aux Poireaux, which are Leek Tarts. Sometimes you can also find Tarte au Saumon (Salmon Tarts) or Tarte au Chevre et Epinards (Spinach and Goat Cheese Tarts). These are nice eaten either warm or cold.
At the butchers, you can also find other savory treats, such as Bouchée à la Reine, literally means “A bite for the Queen”, which is made of puff pastry, containing a creamy filling consisting of chicken and mushroom.
So here, I would like to share some recipes which you can try at home. And what’s great about these three lunch ideas is that they usually taste better the day after it is made. So it is perfect for you to make them the night before you would like to pack it for work on the next day.
1) Quiche Lorraine
I have never made my own puff pastry since it is so easily available in supermarkets, hence, I tend to just use the ready-to-use ones.So here are the ingredients for making this quiche:
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- A pack of lardon/ bacon pieces (around 200g)
- A tub of crème fraîche/double cream (around 200 ml)
- 3 large eggs or 4 medium eggs, beaten
- Emmental/ Gruyère cheese, grated (for topping) amount depends on how much melted cheese you like.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Lay out the pastry on a flan tin and pressed the pastry snugly into the tin.
- In a frying pan, heat up the lardon/ bacon until it turns pale, then remove any liquid that comes with it.
- Spread the lardon/bacon onto the pastry.
- Beat the crème fraîche/ double cream in a mixing bowl. Mix in the beaten eggs and season. (Remember that the lardon is normally salted hence watch out for the extra salt that you might want to add.)
- Pour the mixture on top of the lardon/ bacon.
- Spread the grated cheese on top the topping.
- Leave the whole thing in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese turns golden.
To pack it for lunch, you can pair it with a bowl of fresh greens!
2) Bouchée à la Reine
For this, if you are able to find puff pastry shells in your supermarket, then that will be perfect to make this.
Ingredients: (makes 4)
- 4 puff pastry shells (large)
- 1 side of chicken breast, cubed
- 1 bowl of chicken stock
- 250g of mushrooms, sliced
- 40g flour
- 6 tablespoons of crème fraìche
- 50g of butter
- Preheat the oven by following the instructions of the puff pastry shells.
- For the filling, first melt a small knob of the butter in a saucepan and use it to sauté the chicken and mushroom. Once sautéed, set them aside.
- Then, melt the rest of the butter and add in the flour but make sure that it doesn’t turn brown.
- Pour in the chicken stock. Stir them constantly with a whisk.
- Add in the cream and let it simmer for around 10 minutes.
- Add in the chicken and mushroom.
- Lay your heated puff pastry shells on a plate and spoon the prepared filling into the shells. You can serve the extra filling on the side for those who would like more.
3) Tarte aux Poireaux
This recipe is similar to that of the Quiche Lorraine, but instead of the meat, we use leeks and shallots to provide the flavour to the quiche.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
The same as Quiche Lorraine apart from the lardon/bacon, replace that with the following;
- 1 large stalk of leek or 2 small/medium stalks of leeks, chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 25g of butter
- 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
Follow steps 1,2,5,6,7 and 8 in the recipe for quiche lorraine. Replace steps 3 and 4 with the steps below:
3. In a frying pan, heat up the cooking oil and melt the butter with it.
4. Add in the shallots and leeks and stir fry them until all soften. Drain any liquid before
you spread them onto the pastry.
Just follow the rest of the steps like those found in the quiche recipe and you will have a vegetarian quiche in no time!
There you have it, three not-too-complicated French lunch ideas. Hope you enjoy these savoury dishes!
Cover photo: italianchips.com