Michelin STAR KAWAKAWA, SPINACH AND BLUE CHEESE QUICHE
Serves 8 – 12
Our littlest and only boy cousin, Russell Yves Uenuku Pirrit, was born 42 years ago to great fanfare. With the Pirrit name secured for another generation, his arrival home to the family farm in Te Kauwhata was the most momentous of days. With his dad, my Uncle Barry, at the culinary helm a large and very festive feast was prepared on the coal range to celebrate. Most of the food was grown, raised or hunted. Eggs from the chooks, ducks and swan from the lake. Snails and veggies from the garden. Black peaches, and juicy oranges from the fruit trees. Lamb and beef from the farm. Cheese from the goats. Milk and cream from the house cow.
And yes you read that right. Snails from the garden. Russel’s mum Jocelyn hails from inner city Paris and almost alien-like she appeared on our back country sheep farm in the mid 1970’s in the loving arms of our Uncle Barry. With her recipe for Snails Grilled with Garlic Butter firmly in hand she shared her love of this tasty treat and we all fell in love. With her. And with snails. She was the most exotic and adventurous of creatures. A month before any family feast you’d find her and Russell collecting and feeding up garden variety snails on garlic and herbs in a specially built wooden cage in the backyard. And then they’d milk the goats and make the cheese and don bee suits to collect honey dripping from combs. By the time he got to kindergarten Russell was already an esteemed croissant chef. Other kids had play dough. Russell had croissant dough. It was way more tasty.
So, it’s no surprise Russell turned up in Aotearoa after 21 years living abroad, with a Michelin Star under his belt, Estera his amazing Polish/German wife on his arm and lots of family meals to catch up on. To celebrate their home coming we were lucky enough to get Russell to whip up a quiche in our Legacy Pan and I introduced him to Kawakawa. It’s warm, peppery and tongue numbing deep flavour goes really well with the blue cheese and spinach. And come to think of snails drizzled in a garlic and kawakawa butter could be a most tasty combination.
Thank you for sharing this recipe with us Russell and please come home again soon. I’ll make sure to collect and feed up those snails a month before your arrival! I promise.
250g puff pastry
10 large kawakawa leaves
120g fresh baby spinach
250g blue cheese, crumbled
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 160°C conventional or 140 °C fan forced.
Grease your Legacy Pan with butter then line bottom and sides with puff pastry. Trim with a knife so there is no overhang. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Pinch off the kawakawa stems and finely chop with the spinach. Scatter in the bottom of the pan followed by the crumbled blue cheese and the lemon zest.
Beat the eggs, cream, salt and pepper till just combined.
Gently pour over the kawakawa, spinach and blue cheese and bake for 45 – 50 minutes until the quiche is risen and golden brown and only jiggles a little bit if you wiggle it!
Pop the pan on the stove top on a medium heat to finish off browning the bottom of the quiche. This will only take 2 or 3 minutes.
Serve with a big green salad and roasted vegetables.