dimanche 11 octobre 2009

Prosciutto with Manchego and Quince Jelly

Last week I started a new work assignment and one of my new colleagues was kind enough to offer the members of our team some homemade Gelée de coing or Quince Jelly. I had never tried quince before but this jelly is delicious. I am so lucky.

Quince (coing in French) is fruit that resemble apples but are firmer in texture and a vibrant yellow in colour when ripe. They have a stronger flavour than apples and are often added to pies, apple sauce and other apple recipes to enhance the flavour. Quince are usually cooked but can also be eaten raw.

I decided to do a variation of the Spanish tapas which pairs Manchego cheese with 'membrillo' a friut paté made of quince. In this recipe, I added proscuitto ham as the base for the appetizer. I think this is a very good match. I also tried it with some local Luxembourg cured ham and cheese but found their flavours to be too strong for the jelly.

Prosciutto with Manchego and Quince Jelly
Serves 4

4 slices of prosciutto di Parma, cut into 2.5 cm (1”) strips across the width
225 g (1/2 lb) wedge Manchego cheese, chilled
Quince jelly, enough for a small drop on each piece

Fold strips of prosciutto in two to make squares. Heat a non-stick pan and fry the prosciutto until firm and slightly darker in colour (add oil if you don’t have a non-stick pan). Transfer to paper towels to drain. Cut or shave pieces of Manchego cheese to match number and size of pieces of prosciutto. Place cheese on top of prosciutto and top with dollops of quince jelly. Serve warm.

samedi 10 octobre 2009

Tea and Scones

We all know how to make tea, right? Boil the kettle, pop a tea bag into a mug, add boiled water and let steep to preferred strength. Remove teabag, add milk, lemon, sugar or honey, if desired, then sit back and enjoy.
Or we could make a pot of tea using loose leaf tea. Remember to preheat the pot with hot water before adding the tealeaves and perfectly boiled water. Let steep to desired strength and serve in proper teacups.
The debate continues about whether the teapot should be cleaned with soap and water or just rinsed out. My preference is to use soap and water (and occasionally baking soda) to clean my teapots. However you make your tea, these cranberry cream scones will go nicely with it.

Cranberry Cream Scones
Serves 6-8

500 mL (2 cups) all-purpose flour
20 mL (4 tsp) baking powder
5 mL (1 tsp) granulated sugar
1 mL (1/4 tsp) salt
50 mL (1/4 cup) butter, cut in cubes
125 mL (1/2 cup) chopped dried cranberries
2 eggs
150 mL (2/3 cup) whipping cream

Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cranberries.
In small bowl, lightly whisk eggs with cream; pour into centre of the dry ingredients and blend quickly with fork until mixed.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times. Roll out to 2 cm (3/4”) thick and cut into 6 cm (2-1/2”) rounds.

Bake in 200°C (400°F) oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until lightly golden.