As the resident “foodie” among The Barge Ladies, I was thrilled when Captain Jason Ashcroft and Chef Dawn Coles invited me to join them for luncheon in Southern Burgundy aboard their 4-star, 6 passenger barge Saroche. Not only are Jason and Dawn are one of our favorite couples/teams in barging, Chef Dawn’s contemporary approach to France’s classic cuisine is legendary even among all the culinarians on Europe’s canals. As gastronomy is one of my favorite pastimes especially while traveling, I immediately accepted the invitation, already dreaming about savoring Dawn’s sumptuous starters and refined entrees.
As I stepped off the TGV train in Dijon, I was met by Captain Jason. A gregarious host and natural raconteur, Jason chatted away as he loaded my luggage in the barge van, and off we set for Saroche, docked on the Canal de Bourgogne in the lovely mooring of Escommes. Dawn was just starting to set the table on deck for an alfresco lunch as we boarded. She must have read my mind; it was a picture perfect day in Southern Burgundy and I had been hoping we would be dining outside on Saroche’s spacious deck!
We sat down for lunch, beginning the meal with a platter of ham and fig and mozzarella. Bon appetit! In between bites of this rustic and rich appetizer, Chef Dawn and Captain Jason shared some of the signature highlights offered on their Burgundy cruise route about which they are most excited. Private tastings at boutique wineries, a visit to the region’s busiest market, and daily cooking demonstrations onboard have real appeal to those for whom authentic culinary experiences are of interest. Dawn’s fabulous fare is, as well, an essential component of the Saroche’s sterling hospitality!
Speaking of which, it was Chef Dawn’s Quiche Lorraine that was the star of the show. Served with goat cheese crostini and paired with the flinty finish of a perfectly chilled Riesling from Captain onboard cellar, the quiche’s light buttery crust and flavorful bits of bacon were beyond my wildest expectations of deliciousness. I could not get enough, nor could I leave without getting her recipe! Lucky for me, Dawn was more than happy to oblige.
After finishing a final course of fresh fruit and Brie de Meaux cheese, I departed the Saroche with a full stomach, recipe in hand, and my dreams of an al fresco luncheon on the canals of France having come scrumptiously true.
Kelly’s Luncheon Aboard Saroche
Dawn’s Quiche Lorraine
Bayonne Ham with Fig and Mozzarella
Goat Cheese Crostini
Crudite with Hummus
Brie de Meaux
Chef Dawn’s Quiche Lorraine
This classic dish from the Alsace Lorraine region of France makes an excellent lunch, picnic or snack dish. The trick is to buy the best cheese available as this will give it the depth of flavor. Thanks to letting you in on some family secrets you will also have a deliciously lighter pastry crust too! Best accompanied by a dry Alsatian Reisling. Makes one medium quiche.
• 2 cups of plain flour
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1/4 cup margarine
• Salt and pepper
• 50ml very cold water
• 4 onions finely sliced
• 4 eggs
• 1/2 pint milk
• 1/2 pint cream
• 1/3 cup grated Gruyere, or similar hard cured cheese (Comté, Beaufort)
• 1 cup diced bacon
• 1 tablespoon butter for frying
- Place the flour, butter and margarine with a pinch of salt into a food processor.
- While you mix the ingredients on ‘pulse’ slowly add the water until combined, do not over work the mixture. It should form to a ball which should be wrapped in cling film and chilled in the fridge for 30 mins before rolling out.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the pastry.
- Line a flan ring with it (preferably with a removable bottom), place in the fridge until firm.
- Remove from the fridge, cover the pastry with baking parchment and pour baking beans on the top. Blind bake for 10-15 min.
- Melt the butter in a frying pan and stir in the onions. Cook over a low heat for about 20 min until the onions are soft.
- Stir in the bacon and saute them until lightly browned. Remove the onion and bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and let them cool.
- In a large jug, mix together the milk, cream, eggs, and 3 quarters of the cheese, season to taste carefully as the bacon is usually quite salty.
Putting it together
Turn the oven down to 180C. Spread some of the cheese into the pastry base before evenly spreading the onion and bacon mixture on top. Now place the pastry pan onto the middle shelf and pour the cream mixture evenly over the bacon and onions. (So you don’t have to juggle a sloppy quiche across the kitchen). Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and cook for 20mins. Reduce the temperature to 160C and cook for a further 20mins.