Taste of Home: Chicken broccoli spinach quiche

This chicken broccoli spinach quiche is full of flavor. I made it with homemade pie crust. My family usually eat it for brunch, breakfast or lunch. If your family ain’t crazy about broccoli and spinach, you can throw in any combination of vegetables for a hearty meal any time of the day.

Chicken broccoli spinach quiche

It’s a snap to make but looks great on the table. It’s a pretty flexible recipe too with regards to veggies and cheeses. I absolutely like my quiche – fast, cheap, tasty and picture-worthy.

Chicken broccoli spinach quiche

What you will need:

  1. For the pie crust:
  • 200 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 1 fresh chicken egg
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 20 grams of salted butter at room temperature
  • ¼ cup of cold water
  1. For the fillings:
  • 500 grams of chicken breasts – skinless, boneless and cut into thin strips
  • 20cL fresh cream
  • 1 broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 pack spinach leaves
  • 100 grams cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 medium-size onion, cubes
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly crashed
  • salt taste

Chicken broccoli spinach quiche

How to make it?

      Prepare the pie crust.

  • In a mixing bowl put the flour, butter and sugar. Mix well.
  • In a separate small bowl, cracked the egg to make sure that it’s a good one and to remove some eggshells. Then put in into the mixture. Mix well.
  • Add the cold water little by little until you get the desired consistency. Knead it well.
  • Form into a big ball.
  • Wrap it with a plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate it while you are preparing the fillings.
  • After you refrigerate it, flour the surface of the working area.
  • Roll dough out to your desired thickness. Make sure the edges extend a couple of inches beyond the 9-inch pie plate.

      Prepare the filling.

  • Put olive oil in a frying pan. Add chicken and stir. Add salt, paprika and onion. Mix well. Let it cooked until the chicken turn white or light brown. Once cooked, put it in a large mixing bowl.
  • Using the same frying pan, put some salted butter. Put the broccoli florets. Add 3 tbsp of water. Cover the pan. Sauté the broccoli florets for about 4 minutes. Once cooked, put it in the mixing bowl together with the chicken.
  • Using the same frying pan, put a tablespoon of olive oil. Add spinach and the sauté for about 3 minutes or until the spinach leaves reduced its volume, don’t overcooked it. Once cooked, put it in the mixing bowl.
  • Add fresh cooking cream and freshly crashed black pepper. Mix it well. Add flour. Stir, and make sure all the ingredients are well combined in a bowl.

      Putting together.

  • Spread the fillings into the crust. Press it a bit hard using a spoon to make sure there’s no empty spaces.
  • Bake it for 60 minutes at 175⁰C to allow the middle to set and for the crust to cook properly and to get flaky.
  • Spread the cheese on top of the quiche 25 minutes before the time.
  • Let it cool for at least 30 minutes.

      Serve, share and enjoy.

France: Wild Blackberries picking in Bretagne

Bretagne has a natural abundance of wild Blackberries in August. Luckily, when my family and I went there last July 2019, the blackberries picking season crept up on us faster than we thought.

Wild blackberries

Wild blackberries

wild blackberries

The thorny blackberry brambles were covered with delicious fruits. While we were walking in the forest and along the coast, we spied some ripe blackberries, we picked some and nibbled on.

Pete was ecstatic when he spied loads of wild blackberries. It was his first time to try blackberries and see them on their vines.

Blackberries fresh from the wild.

Blackberries are certainly nature’s finest treasures – chunky, juicy with unpredictable taste (because the fruit is sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet). They have vibrant colors too – from green to red to black or dark-purple. The deep purple color ensures that blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. They’re rich in flavor and brimming with nutrients, making it a perfect snack to enjoy.

ripe wild blackberries

young wild blackberries

wild blackberries

Is there anything better than picking fresh wild blackberries while trekking on a warm French summer day? We think not. It was absolutely an exhilarating experience and the memories last forever.

Taste of Home: Carrot and Passion Cake

I grew up with my family’s tradition – food is meant to be shared – whenever someone comes to our place, no matter at what time they arrive, and no matter if they have already eaten, we serve them food and drinks. Now, that I have my own small family, we still continue the tradition, because we are pleased to feed people, and personally, I always find excuses to do so.

So, one of the dishes that we like to share is carrot and passion cake, my family’s favorite. It’s a pretty straightforward recipe, perfectly spiced and simply delectable. We love the velvety texture, the mild sweetness, and the overall scrumptious taste – which made it always an instant hit.

Carrot and passion cake served with homemade passion tea.

In my recipe, I used lots of grated carrots. The cake itself is not too sweet but it is flavorful as the carrot flavor really shines. I added passion juice of 2 fresh passion fruits for the texture and moisture. It’s refined sugar-free as I used honey or maple syrup instead of granulated sugar.

My family and I like to eat the carrot and passion cake without frosting because the cake itself is already tasty and enough to satisfy our sweet tooth.

For those who would like to try, here’s my simple recipe:

What you will need:

  • 200 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • passion juice of 2 passion fruits
  • 2 medium-sized eggs
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 6 tbsp of honey

Delicious carrot and passion cake.

How to make it:

  1. Prepare the carrot and passion cake mixture.
    1. Combine the dry ingredients – flour, nutmeg and baking soda – in a bowl. Mix it well.
    2. Add the wet ingredients – olive oil, eggs and passion juice. Mix it well.
    3. Put in the carrots. Mix it well until everything is thoroughly combined.
  2. Prepare the baking dish.
    1. Butter the surface of baking dish.
    2. Flour the baking dish. Remove the excess flour.
  3. Pour the cake mixture into the baking dish.
  4. Bake it in a pre-heated oven at 175⁰C for 60 min or until you can poke it with a toothpick that comes out clean.
  5. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  6. Share and enjoy.

 

 

 

France: Collecting Flint in Bretagne

One of the unforgettable experiences that we had during our last summer vacation in France was collecting flints along the coast of Bretagne.

Collecting Flints along the coast of Bretagne, France.

Alan and Pete collecting Flints along the coast of Bretagne, France.

Flint is a type of stone – it’s a sedimentary rock that can be best identified by its smooth and hard appearance. It was used to start fires and to make stone tools such as knife, thousands of years ago, during the Middle to Upper Paleolithic periods, which is from about 100,000 to 10,000 years ago. We learned that during the Mesolithic Period beginning (roughly and depending on geographical location) 10,000 years ago, flint entered into its Golden Age and became extremely popular as an exceptionally high quality stone tool. Its excellent durability has made it possible to accurately date its use over this time.

Collecting Flints along the coast of Bretagne, France.

Alan taught me and Pete how to identify a Flint stone. Here are some of its characteristics:

  • The color of the rock usually appears black or dark gray.
  • Uncut flints have smooth and rounded shapes. Some flints have edges which means that they have been scraped away and this shows that they have been used as a tool before.
  • Flints have natural, glossy surface.
  • Flints produced a “spark” when it strikes against the object that is made of carbon steel.

As we were walking along the coast of Pointe Saint Mathieu, Pete noticed something special – it was a small flint stone. We were so thrilled and fascinated the moment Pete found one first, and it motivated us to look for more flints. A few days later, we decided to spend a day on Pontusval Beach and hunt for more flints. We got so thrilled and excited as we found and collected many beautiful pieces of flint – with a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and forms.

Collecting Flints along the coast of Bretagne, France.

Collecting Flints along the coast of Bretagne, France.

As we got home, Alan and Pete made a stone knife out of the big flint stone to see if it can really cut. It was our (Pete and I) first time to see flint stones, and our first time to see flint stones cut and shaped as tools those thousands of years ago. Oh, boy! It was so sharp – it cut like a modern knife!

Looking for Flints along the coast of Bretagne, France.

Looking for Flints at Point Saint Mathieu, Bretagne, France.

Overall, it was a great and remarkable experience. We were happy as a clam especially because my son saw flint stones with his naked eyes which nowadays is becoming rare.

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • The best places to find flints in Bretagne is on the seashore, along the beaches, along the coast, near boulders, or near a batch of pebbles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

France: Wildflowers in Bretagne

During our summer vacation in Bretagne, France, my family and I loved hiking and walking, may it be in the rugged headlands, by the dramatic cliffs, along the coast, on the wide sandy beaches, through the quaint fishing ports, up in the mountain or in the forest. While hiking along, we made frequent stops classifying, naming or just simply admiring the alluring wildflowers. Even when already tired, sweaty and thirsty from trekking, when we spotted these dazzling flowers, they always took our breath away.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France. This one is Coquelicot, one of our favorites. We really like its delicate-looking petals and its bright red with orange tint of color.

Wildflowers in Bretagne

Wildflowers in Bretagne

Wildflowers in Bretagne

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Personally, I have always been in awe of the blooming wildflowers. They are delicate and dainty. They are independent as they grow on their own and require no maintenance. They are unexpected, unique and exotic. They are wild, fierce and strong. They are free. They are amazing, beautiful and delightfully attractive.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

Wildflowers in Bretagne, France.

I love wildflowers because they brighten up my day, and they fill my heart. And, I certainly love the wildflowers’ stunning splash of colors!

France: The Abbaye de Daoulas in Bretagne

Before we headed off to our friends’ place, we visited the Abbaye de Daoulas which is about 900 years old. It is a former abbey of the Order of St Augustine located on top of a hill in the town of Daoulas, in the department of Finistere in Bretagne, France. It has been classified as one of the historical monuments in France since July 12, 1886.

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

The buildings inside the Abbey of Daoulas are exceptional witnesses of art in Bretagne from the Roman era to present day. Today, the old abbey is divided into a church, a cemetery, a cultural site, a school, and a garden.

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

After we parked our car, we entered into the “House of the 18th century” which is the current headquarters of the offices of the association where to purchase the entrance tickets.

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

As we got into the inner courtyard, we were greeted by a gorgeous gigantic old cedar tree. We couldn’t help ourselves, spent some time there and took some photos.

The old Cedar Tree at the Abbaye de Daoulas, Bretagne, France

The old Cedar Tree at the Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Then we ambled to the charming cloister with 44 pilars that was built in the last quarter of the 12th century. We have learned that it is the best preserved cloister in Bretagne. We also saw a basin that is octagonal in shape, and was built in the 12th century in the inner garden of the cloister. In this area, Christian monks used to spend a quiet time for meditation. Truly captivating!

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

From the cloister we hiked up to the garden. Oh, it’s so pretty and alluring there. We have learned that it contains 650 species of medicinal plants and herbs. We love the serenity of the place, the dazzling colors of the flowers, enjoy seeing the beautiful bees flying, incredible insects crawling, and bewitching butterflies hopping from flowers to flowers, and the enchanting pungent smell from the different herbs. Alan even told me, “Such as shame that the camera can’t capture all the nice smells.”

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

The first time that I got intrigued with an herb garden was when I read a book “Once in a Lifetime” by Cathy Kelly sometime last year. Now that I’ve seen such a gorgeous garden, I really want to have one.

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

After spending about an hour in the garden, we walked down to Notre-Dame-des-Fontaines, built in 1550 in Gothic style. Long ago, it was used for great devotion. At present it is surrounded by lofty trees and dense foliage.

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

We strolled further to the donkey stable located near the fountain, and kept walking to the exit of the office, and headed to the Romanesque Abbey (today it’s the parish church) that was built in the late 11th century. The old south porch became the entrance of the cemetery.

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

Abbaye de Daoulas in Daoulas, Bretagne, France

We spent about two hours there, and we enjoyed everything – the garden, the buildings, the history. Overall, it was well worth a visit, and whether you are a garden lover, a history lover or an old stones lover, this place is for you!

France: Amazing Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne

One of the places that we really wanted our son to see and experience is the Pointe de Saint-Mathieu. It’s located at the extreme west of the Finistere in Bretagne in the town of Plougonvelin. The Pointe de Saint-Mathieu faces the Atlantic Ocean on its left and the English Channel on its right. It’s a really unique place, as we found many interesting things there – lots to see and amazing scenery.

Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

First, we visited the Chapel Notre-Dame des Graces (Our Lady of Graces Chapel). Inside the chapel is the nave, rebuilt in 1861, which contains the imposing statue of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary with two angels and other statues. Then we circled around the place. It’s wonderful!

Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

Second, we walked through the ruins of the abbey, which according to written reports, was built around 555 A.D. It was remade into a church in 1200AD. Then it was destroyed during the French Revolution.

Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

Third, we took a tour around the 3 lighthouses, which were built in the 11th, 19th and 20th centuries respectively. At present, only the 3rd lighthouse (or semaphore) is working as it contains more sophisticated technology such as radar, internet and satellite communication. The mixture of buildings – medieval ruined abbey, lighthouses and the semaphore tower make up a curious mix of the architectural styles.

The Semaphore Tower at Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

The 2nd lighthouse at Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France was built in the 19th century. You can climb up to see the gorgeous views.

The 1st lighthouse at Pointe de Saint-Mathieu was built in the 11th century.

Lastly, we explored the trails for two hours along the spectacular sea cliffs with its far stretching views. We took our time there. We were fascinated by the gorgeous wildflowers. So colorful and beautiful! The breeze was nice and the weather was just perfect. While trekking, we saw the lighthouses a number of times from the distance – very impressive! And since my husband informed us that the site is also an archeological area, so we kept our eyes to find flint stones hoping that we could find one. With luck, Alan and Pete found three flint stones. We felt very ecstatic especially because we found something that is very very old – the prehistoric people (from the Mesolithic Period, about -12,000 to-6,000 BC) used flint stones to make tools such as knife (much smaller and precise tools, having refined the skills of their Paleolithic ancestors).

Pointe de Saint-mathieu in Bretagne, France

Beautiful wildflowers at Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

Beautiful wildflowers at Pointe de Saint-Mathieu in Bretagne, France

Beautiful butterfly at Pointe de Saint-mathieu in Bretagne, France

Flint stones. Great finds at Pointe de Saint-mathieu in Bretagne, France.

These two were happily hunting flint stones at Pointe de Saint-mathieu in Bretagne, France.

There is a small museum and a Cenotaph, a national memorial to the French Dead Sailors, for visitors to see. We visited them the first time we went there, but this time we weren’t able to see them.

The Pointe de Saint-Mathieu is a very nice surprise on the most western side of the country– history, culture, architecture, and nature – held together for several centuries. The abbaye, the church and the lighthouse are beautiful and shed a special flavor to this part of the world. The path along the coast line reminded us of many lives lost at sea while defending their country, plus it invites to a pleasant walk by the sea for everyone. Indeed, the entire place is stunning and thought provoking!

Can you spy the 3 lighthouses?

Pointe de Saint-mathieu in Bretagne, France

Pointe de Saint-mathieu in Bretagne, France

Pointe de Saint-mathieu in Bretagne, France

Pointe de Saint-mathieu in Bretagne, France

 

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • There is a small car park and the parking is free.
  • If you stroll the coastal path with young children make sure you keep them close with you as the path has some sheer drops straight down to the sea.
  • Just like in most major French cultural/historical/natural sites, you can buy coins (2 euros), minted by the Paris official coin factory, picturing the main features of the place you’re visiting. At the pointe St Mathieu, you can also find a rather fun coin-squashing machine: insert one euro, a 5-cent coin and turn a handle, it will squash the 5-cent coin and engrave a view of the Pointe St Mathieu on it.