A very English way to add flavour to a French dish

Sage adds an English twist to this French classic.

Sage adds an English twist to this French classic.

Atul Kochhar

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Chef Lawrence and wife Julia grow some sage to use in the kitchen.

Every year we grow some parsley and chives in our small courtyard garden – but this year we decided to take things a little more seriously and planted a few extra vegetables and herbs.

We took some expert advice from Francoise at Roots, Shoots and Leaves as well as Maggie at Tuppenny Barn for the best plants to grow.

Julia did most (okay, all) of the work and thanks to the beautiful weather we have had various salad leaves and herbs to use in the kitchen.

A few more weeks and we should have baby leeks and carrots too, as long as the pests don’t eat them.

Fresh mint on new potato salad, pesto made from garden basil and chive flowers on slow roast plum tomatoes are just a few of the ways we are using the herb pots.

The sage bush has grown from its stick-like beginnings into a lush green plant and looks healthy considering the amount of use it is getting.

Sage is a very English herb, not found in many French recipes, and is mostly used as a stuffing for chicken.

The Italians are quite fond of it with chicken livers, and I’ve even tried a very good sage-infused ice-cream.

I am using it in a leek and onion quiche with parmesan and served with some home-grown leaves as a starter on the restaurant lunch menu.

Lawrence Murphy, chef and owner of Fat Olives.

Lawrence Murphy, chef and owner of Fat Olives.

The flavours are better if the tart is warm but it would be great on a picnic, left in the sun to warm while you pour a glass of cool sauvignon.

Sage, leek and onion quiche

Ingredients

A 22cm shallow short crust pastry case cooked blind

2 onions finely chopped

1 medium leek finely chopped

Butter

20 sage leaves

20g parmesan (grated)

1 egg

1 egg yolk

165 ml double cream

salt and pepper

Method

1. Cook the onion in some butter without colouring for 4 minutes or until translucent.

2. Add the leek and cook for 1 minute and then take off the heat.

3. Put this mixture into the pastry case, filling it almost to the top.

4. Mix the cream, egg and egg yolk. Season.

5. Blanch the sage in boiling water for 10 seconds and refresh in iced water.

6. Squeeze the water from the sage and slice into shreds.

7. Put the cheese and sage on top of the leek and onion mix.

8. Pour the cream and egg mix over the top.

9. Cook in a preheated oven 170c (gas mark 4) for 20 to 25 minutes, or until slightly firm and coloured.

10. Allow to cool and serve warm with some salad leaves.

To find out more about Lawrence’s restaurant Fat Olives, visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377 914.

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