I’m having a bit of a sort out here at Silver Screen Suppers Towers and I keep finding brilliant things like this.

When I stumbled upon this wonderful magazine cover, I thought to myself, “did I ever write about the time I was a beekeeper for the day?”  Well I did, but it’s been in my drafts folder FOR EVER. So here’s an account of the glorious days when you could sit around a table with about a dozen people you had never met before and share a meal without worrying about a single thing.  Except for maybe bees…

WRITTEN IN AUGUST 2019 BEFORE COVID-19 TIMES

Mr Rathbone LOVES bees.  I like ’em, but until last week I wasn’t MAD about them.  But I am now!

I organised a “mystery day out” for Mr R and booked him on a beekeeper for a day course.  Look at his happy little face!

I had no idea how amazing and glorious and fascinating it would be to spend a day at the fabulous Hen Corner in Brentford hanging out with thousands of bees.  If you live in striking distance of Brentford I sooooooooo recommend this brilliant experience.  You get right up close to bees!

You stand in Sara’s garden with happy bees buzzing all around you in middle C, hoping one doesn’t go up your trouser leg in the full regalia.  Very fetching eh?!

You can buy honey that is taken from the hives on the very day you are there…

It’s bloody brilliant!

I know Sara who runs the beekeeping course from the wonderful Bread Angels network.  I offered to bring a contribution for lunch and made two movie star quiches.  These were a big hit with other attendees on the course, we had such a lovely time sharing lunch between bee stuff.

The most pleasing thing for me is that these two quiches use exactly 1 standard pot of whipping cream between them – no leftover cream!  As someone who has endless bits and bobs of cream/cheese/other foodstuffs cluttering up my fridge, a simple thing like this is very pleasing indeed.

So I am sharing both recipes, just in case you ever need to make two quiches at once, and you are the kind of person who is pleased by the NEATNESS of using up one pot of cream then bunging the empty container straight in the recycling.

Thank you Sara for an amazing day with the bees.  I was not scared of them at all and loved standing close to the hives with them buzzing all around me.  It was a wonderful experience and I would love to come again.  Once all this craziness is over, I am booking in another session FOR SURE.

France Nuyen’s Spinach Pie

This pie is so good, it won me a first at the Muswell Hill and District Horticultural Show one year!

and Anne Baxter’s Genuine Swiss Quiche did it for me another year too!  I love these “savoury tarts”!

Anne Baxter’s Genuine Swiss Quiche

1 pie crust for 9-inch pie
8 oz Switzerland swiss cheese thinly sliced or grated
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sweet cream
4 eggs, well beaten
1 cup onions, sliced
3 slices bacon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use a quiche dish and line with the pastry. Use fork to make holes in the pastry. Cover the pastry with waxed paper or foil, weighed down with dried beans. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove crust from the oven and discard the paper covering.* Fry the bacon until crisp, remove the bacon and allow to drain on paper towelling. Saute the onions in the bacon fat until transparent, do not brown. Pour the contents of the pan into top of pastry. Beat the eggs well and add the milk and cream and beat. Add the seasonings and beat until well blended. Distribute the cheese evenly over the onions and then pour in the beaten mixture. Crumble the bacon and distribute over the top. Put back into oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Test by inserting knife, if it comes out clean the pie is finished.

  • I use Gruyere, and I cube it rather than slicing or grating it.
  • I usually pop the unfilled pie crust back into the oven for a minute or two after taking out the baking beans. This avoids a soggy bottom to your pie.
  • I also bake the quiche for ten minutes without the bacon, and then pop the bacon on top, baking it for another 10 or so minutes . This means the bacon sits on top of the egg mixture and I think this makes the quiche look particularly appetising.
  • I have no idea where the flour comes in.  I checked Anne’s original recipe and it’s definitely listed in the ingredients, but not in the method.  I don’t feel it’s needed (I guess it’s to thicken the filling but I use double cream and I think it is thick enough).
  • I use Pancetta rather than bacon
  • I use full fat milk
  • I use white onions rather than red
  • There is always some of Anne’s mixture left over so I usually make a few mini quiches and stick them in my freezer.

Well chums, it is now ALLOWED to meet another 5 people in the open air here in the UK and I reckon one of these or both would be perfect for your next picnic.  Enjoy the chance to see some chums, who knows how long it will last?

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