One thing I don’t miss about living in the UK is negotiating the supermarkets. Invariably I would leave angry — because of the nonsensical arrangement of items — sugar with tea and not with flour and baking goods — and increasingly because of the plethora of prepared meals. It was a struggle to find the ingredients to construct a meal oneself.
In honor of Bastille Day, I made the very French quiche. I learned to love quiche when my very au fait mother used to serve it as a first course. Quiche from Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I. It used to be a long involved process — make the pastry, cut up the bacon, grate the cheese…
French supermarkets are supportive of the cook who wants to prepare a meal from scratch but who could use some short cuts. I bought pre-rolled pastry (all butter), lardons de jambon (the bacon already cut into small tranches) and grated emmenthal. It was left for me to gently fry the bacon, mix up the eggs and creme fraîche, add the slow cooked onions from the night before, a couple of handfuls of the grated cheese and the cooked bacon and pour the whole lot into a tarte pan which I had lined with the pre-rolled pastry. Perhaps I should have blind baked the pastry, but I didn’t. Half an hour in the oven and it was done. All in all, less than an hour.
Now that’s convenience.