Food=love in my books.
I’m so pleased to share a recipe from one of my favorite authors, Lilian Darcy. I’m reading her newest release, The Sweetest Sound, right now. And loving it. The Sweetest Sound is part of Lilian’s “River Bend Series” for MontanaBorn Books.
To research the Montana setting, Lilian (right) and publisher/author Jane Porter explored neighboring towns close to fictional Marietta, including Livingston, below.
“I’m not going to lie to you, this isn’t low-fat or low-carb, nor does it have a Spanish theme to suit the Spanish heroine of The Sweetest Sound, but it is delicious, and if you serve it with a big colorful green salad it’s even more delicious,” Lilian says.
Spinach and Feta Quiche
Recipe Type: main dish
Little secret in our family:- Sometimes if the weather’s cold, you don’t feel like a green salad, but we make it with a warm vinaigrette dressing and suddenly it works for winter after all. If you want to try a warm vinaigrette, just lightly fry in a big slurp of olive oil your choice of any or all of the following ingredients, finely chopped:- garlic, onion, herbs, sundried tomatoes, capers, and/or anchovies, add a bit of salt and pepper, and the vinegar of your choice. Toss well with the salad right before serving. Expect that the salad leaves will wilt a little. My kids will eat three times as much salad if it’s done this way than they’ll eat if it’s cold. And since I’m a cook who does things by eye and instinct, some of the quantities for the quiche filling fall into the “what looks right to you” category.
- For the pastry
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 oz/85 grams butter
- 3 oz/85 grams chilled cream cheese
- 3 – 4 tablespoons chilled cream
- Mix the flour and salt. Cut the butter and the cream cheese into small pieces and cut them into the flour with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers, till the mixture is crumbly. Drizzle on the cream and mix in until the dough clumps together. Press into a flat-ish circle, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour. (You can keep it for a day or two, if needed.)
- Roll out the pastry to fit your desired pie dish.
- For the filling:
- 1 bag washed baby spinach leaves. (These come in different sizes, so use whichever size fits the amount of spinach you’d like. Remember that it will lose a lot of volume when cooked.)
- 4 – 8 oz/100- 200 grams feta cheese. (Again, how much you use depends on how strong you like your feta flavour.)
- 6 – 8 eggs.
- ½ to 1 cup cream.
- Salt and pepper to taste. (The feta will be pretty salty, so you probably don’t need this unless you’re a salt fiend.)
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.
- Lightly steam the spinach, just until it goes limp, then let it cool until it’s not too hot to touch. Squeeze out any liquid and chop roughly. Crumble the feta cheese.
- Put the spinach into your pie dish on top of the rolled out pastry, and sprinkle the feta evenly on top.
- Mix the eggs and cream well, adding salt and pepper if desired, and then pour in.
- Bake until pastry is golden at the edges and filling is set. Cooking time varies, but estimate 40-50 minutes. (If the crust is getting too brown, lower temperature until egg mixture is set.)
Now, check out The Sweetest Sound. I’ve been waiting to meet Charlie ever since I read The Sweetest Thing. I can’t wait to see what happens when…if…he goes back to Marietta.
Ramona sang with her eyes closed. Charlie had noticed this before. Oh, she opened them sometimes, but when she was in the midst of a soaring section of music, they drifted shut and she lifted her face like someone blind, or praying.
Today, though, two days after she’d turned him down for coffee, she was closing her eyes for a different reason, as he came past.
Because of me.
She wanted to pretend she hadn’t seen him, and it was a good and clever little ruse, but he wasn’t going to accept it. Deliberately, he let half a minute tick by – enough for her to presume that he would have gone by her and entered the hospital’s main building – then he dropped a noisy handful of rustling notes and clinking coins into the dark red velour hat that sat on the pavement in front of her, and waited.
Sure enough, she instinctively opened her eyes to thank whoever had been so generous. As soon as she saw him, her eyes widened in shock, then narrowed in resistance.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi, yourself,” she retorted. If she’d been a cat, her fur would be standing on end. “And thank you.”
“For your contribution.” It sounded very distancing and formal. Intentionally, he knew. She knew how to use good manners as a weapon.
Was this a game? He didn’t like it. He didn’t want her to think any of this was about games.
And yet a part of him did like it.
Liked some of it – the bite of her resistance, the strength in her. He liked what it said about her. She was clever, he could tell, and she was strong. There was something that she wanted, and it was very clear to her, and this… thing… between them would get in the way of it, so she was saying no. Apparently she knew how to stick to her goals. He wondered what the goals were.
“I can’t decide which I like best,” he said now. “The singing, the guitar or the violin.”
“And you haven’t even seen me dance.”
Okay, now that was flirting, and would have been even without the saucy, crooked little smile and the lift of her hip.
He felt a kick of satisfaction.
So, Miss Ramona with the twenty syllable name, I’m not wrong about this, despite how you’re pushing me away.
As he’d done on Monday, he found himself feverishly shifting his schedule around in his head, wrangling a way to squeeze an extra half hour out of a day that already needed twenty-five hours in it if he was going to have a hope of getting everything done.
But then, just as quickly, he re-thought. If he didn’t ask, she couldn’t say no. If he didn’t push, she had nothing to push back against. She might find that harder. He could simply stop and talk to her for a few minutes every time he saw her here, and she’d eventually have to admit that she – Eventually?
I don’t have time for “eventually.” I don’t have time for messing around.
His intentions did another screaming one-eighty degree turn, although he wasn’t normally this indecisive. “Is there a class today?” he asked. “Fencing, or voice, or modern dance?”
“No, no class.”
“Have coffee with me, then.”
But she shook her head.
“C’mon…” He growled the word, sure of his pull on her. He was not wrong about her awareness, he knew it. They’d virtually admitted to it the other day, both of them.
Now, her pupils had darkened, and she was breathing faster. Her body couldn’t decide if she was a trapped animal or a female in heat. Maybe both at once.
“I can’t,” she said. “You must know that I mean it.” She looked miserable, but he had to take her at her word. He might have quite a healthy dose of self-confidence, but he wasn’t the kind of guy to bulldoze a woman when she didn’t want it.
All he could do was to beat a strategic retreat. “Okay,” he said. “I won’t push.” He showed her his palms like a criminal wanting to prove himself weaponless, and then turned to leave.
When he reached his office, the phone was ringing on his desk and he grabbed it, already irritated before he even knew who the caller was. There’d been a couple of them this week – or maybe the same caller, more than once – who hadn’t left messages. This wasn’t a number that received a lot of junk calls. So who…?
His impatience clawed higher as he put the phone to his ear and barked out a greeting. Something else to squeeze in, when Ramona had already kept him too long out in the freezing February air?
Whatever this call was about, he’d deal with it quickly if he possibly could, because he was already running behind.
Ten minutes later, his whole world had changed.
He had changed. His plans, his intentions, his sense of himself.
Two thousand miles away in Montana, his birth mother wanted to get in touch.
Click here to buy: AMAZON. (It will be out soon at other ebook venues.)
Oh! Will he or won’t he? I have to find out.
Bon appetit! And happy reading, my friends!