Everybody’s life can be a feast and a tragedy at times, it can be calm and peaceful in one second and rocky and rough in the next. In these moments, all of us need a helping hand or someone who listens. I believe, I know, that there’s no one out there who wasn’t ever in need of help. It starts when we’re born, when our mothers are there for us, giving without asking for anything in return. That’s love. And all along the way, we meet so many people who are there for us and reach out when in need. Shouldn’t we all be willing to do so? Why is it so hard for some to show compassion and be there for the ones in need of help? Why can’t we – as those who are much better off and on more stable ground – be there for the ones who are hurt, exiled and persecuted? I believe we should treat others as we would want to be treated. If we refuse to help why should we expect help when we are in a difficult situation?
My grandmother decided to leave East Germany when the wall – die Mauer – was being built, she had to flee with 6 children. They went to West Germany with literally nothing, they left their farm and land behind to escape a regime that she and her husband didn’t want their children to grow up in. They we’re refugees in what was once their own country. But they weren’t alone, many people helped them to build up their future, many shared the little they had and my family managed to get back on their feet. 40 years later, East Germany was in need of help, the people of the West gave a share of what they had, out of solidarity, to rebuild a part of the country that had suffered for decades. The people in the East received help. That’s compassion. Today, hundred thousands of people are willing to risk their lives and leave their homes to seek help in Europe and other wealthy parts of the world, to escape political systems that are also no longer safe to live in. Wouldn’t we all do the same? Didn’t we do the same throughout the history of human kind?
Paul from the Einfach-Lecker-Essen blog started the Blogger für Flüchtlinge (Bloggers for Refugees) initiative with a few of his friends to call for support and collect donations for refugee camps, first only in Berlin, and now all over Germany. The movement is growing quickly and more and more stand up every day to give a helping hand to the ones in need. Please spread the word if you write a blog (#BloggerFuerFluechtlinge), you can support the initiative with a donation here.
Today’s recipe is a dish that is practically made to be shared – a fragrant golden quiche. A quiche is like a friend, it always makes me feel good and at home wherever I am, it’s down to earth comfort food. Add some preserved artichoke hearts, tomatoes, olives, thyme and aromatic Gruyère cheese to the filling and you have a late summer Provençal picnic tart. And when we sit there in peace, enjoying the food together with the ones we love, a scene that’s so normal for most of us, we shouldn’t forget that this is what everybody aspires to. Nothing more and nothing less.
Provençal Artichoke Quiche
For a 30cm / 12″ tart pan or baking dish you need
For the short crust base
plain flour 260g / 2 cups
salt 1 teaspoon
butter, cold 130g / 4 1/2 ounces
organic egg 1
For the filling
organic eggs 4
heavy cream 125ml / 1/2 cup
sour cream 175g / 3/4 cup
fresh thyme leaves 3 tablespoons plus a few sprigs for the topping
salt 1 teaspoon
nutmeg, freshly grated, a generous amount
large preserved artichoke hearts, cut in half (lengthwise), 3
black olives (preferably Kalamata) 10
cherry tomatoes, cut in half, 10
Gruyère cheese (or any other aromatic hard cheese), grated, 2-3 tablespoons
For the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 12 minutes.
Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (top/ bottom heat).
Roll out the dough between cling film and line the baking dish with the flat pastry. Prick it with a fork and blind-bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes or until golden.
Take the baking dish out of the oven and set the temperature down to 180°C / 355°F.
Whisk the eggs with the heavy cream, sour cream, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Arrange the artichoke hearts, olives and tomatoes on top of the pre-baked pastry base, pour in the egg-cream mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake the quiche in the oven for about 55 minutes or until golden brown, the top should be firm. Let it cool for a few minutes and garnish with the thyme sprigs. Serve cold or warm.