Did you know it’s National Picnic Week between 17 – 23 June? Well nor did I until I was invited to take part in a Picnic challenge by Unilever Kitchen. I received a lovely hamper full of products from Hellmans, Colmans, Maille, Knorr, Flora and Bertolli and all I had to do was come up with an exciting recipe to jazz up any picnic using one, some or all of these products!
My initial thoughts were sandwiches, mini quiches or maybe a Coronation Chicken with the Colmans Sweet Chilli Mango Sauce. But then I had a eureka moment when I thought more about the quiches and how to make them more interesting. I’d cross them with a sandwich I thought and not just any old sandwich, a Croque Monsieur! I remembered my Quick Apple Puddings which were topped with buttered/sugared bread so was pretty sure this could work turned on its head. So after a couple of individual prototypes I perfected the recipe and discovered that rolling out the bread made it easier to fit into the muffin tray. So the following day I made up a whole batch of Croquiches and just as they were going to go in the oven disaster struck. On opening the oven door I discovered that the roof/grill element had collapsed into the oven – not exactly what I needed at that precise moment to say the least. After a yell to my husband, some frantic screwdriver finding and me turning off the oven and holding up the grill with some oven gloves the problem was fixed! This was not ideal but at least it wasn’t a soufflé I thought. The oven went back on and the Croquiches had waited at least 10 minutes before being baked. So what effect did this have? Well it made my red onions to green! My prototypes had lovely red onion pieces in and in these ones they had turned green – the colour must just have leached out in the long wait.
I can’t tell you how much my family loved these Croquiches and my husband suggested I knock up another batch in order to resolve the problem! Nice try hubby! (It was raining today anyway)! But luckily I had photographed my prototypes and can therefore show you how they should look.
I’m so pleased I was asked to take part in this challenge as this recipe is going to be one I make and make. Whether eaten hot or cold the bread forms a wonderful crunchy crust around the outside, the base is just like a Croque Monsieur and the center is a quiche. Best of all they appeal to young and old and you can eat them on the go should you want to venture off from your picnic base! So thank you Unilever Kitchen for challenging me to make something I would never ever have thought to make otherwise!
As these Croquiches are made with everyday inexpensive ingredients from your fridge I am entering them into this month’s Credit Crunch Munch which is run by myself and Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and is being hosted by the talented Anneli over a Delicieux this month.
Step by Step Guide
- 6 Slices medium sliced bread (I used half & half)
- Flora Buttery, for buttering
- 3 Slices Mature Cheddar
- 2 Slices ham
- ½ Tiny red onion, finely diced
- Dijon Mustard with Honey (I used Maille)
- 3 Large eggs
- 3 tbsp Milk
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Cut the crusts off the bread and flatten with a rolling pin, rolling from the longest side (will make the slices slightly squarer).
- Spread Flora Buttery on both sides.
- Press the slices down firmly into a muffin tin you will need to make a fold on either side. (Try not to tear but if you do just patch up with a spare bit of bread).
- Using a cutter the same size as the base of your bread “nest” cut 6 discs of cheese and ham.
- Slather the cheese discs with the mustard and top with the ham discs, then place firmly into the base of the bread “nest”.
- Using your finger rub more Flora Buttery into the unbuttered edges of the bread.
- Whisk the 3 eggs, milk and seasoning together.
- Fill the bread “nests” with the egg mixture and then tops with about a teaspoon of diced red onion.
- Place in the centre of your oven and bake for 20 minutes until the baskets are golden and toasted on the outside and the egg mixture is set.
- Enjoy hot or cold.
NB: I received a picnic hamper full of Unilever products and was not paid for this post.