Éric Lanlard has ruined Quiche Lorraine for me. Never again will I be able to eat this classic French dish – or not a supermarket version, at least. His ‘proper’ quiche Lorraine, as he calls it, was so good that I can never go back to the shop-bought variety.
As he explains in his Tart It Up! book, it’s a simple recipe, but it’s so often done badly. Made of eggs, lardons, Gruyère, nutmeg, double cream, shallots, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper, it’s almost a store-cupboard standby.
It’s a dish I associate with growing up in the 1970s and 1980s – which is why I had it again on Friday.
At work, we had our annual Diversity Week. This is five days in the company calendar when we celebrate one of our corporate values, diversity. I run the week, partly because I’m passionate about inclusion and partly because they were making a hash of it before and it needed rescuing.
The idea is to find out more about our colleagues and customers. Understanding them better means we can serve them better.
There was plenty going on over the week to give staff extra knowledge and skills. It was a real mixed bag of activities.
Language lessons, salsa dance classes and a black history walk of London were among the highlights. We heard how sickle cell anaemia affects black communities in particular and the Red Cross revealed the reality of refugees’ lot in Britain. An introduction to Sikhism came complete with meditation, bhajis and henna tattoos.
Our maintenance staff were trained on how to talk to transgender customers without worrying they might be saying the wrong thing. And builders on one of our construction sites were given an insight into the history of the area.
There were loads of other talks and training sessions too. One of the most popular elements of the week each year is our bring-and-share lunches. After all, free food, what’s not to like?
This year we badged it as ‘retro bistro’ – the idea being that staff who wanted to take part should bring in something they remembered from their childhood.
“With its crisp shortcrust pastry and generous, creamy cheese and ham filling, it had little in common with supermarket versions”
I took in a quiche Lorraine – or rather Éric Landlard’s ‘proper’ quiche Lorraine, which Damon made for me the night before. (I was presenting to our board and got home late, so, very kindly, he stepped in and made it for me.)
Quiche Lorraine was a dish that was popular when I was a child. Though in all honesty, the ones my mum bought in Bejam were never anything like Monsieur Landlard’s version. More’s the pity.
With its crisp shortcrust pastry and generous, creamy cheese and ham filling, it had little in common with supermarket versions – both those in the 1980s and even those now.
Among the trifle, rice and peas, and Findus Crispy Pancakes, it proved the star turn. Although the lunch was about looking back, I can’t. I’ve seen the future and it’s Éric Lanlard’s ‘proper’ quiche Lorraine.