Photo by Cristina Gonzalez
It is that time of the year again, tomatoes are ripe and plentiful, figs begin to appear in the markets and quinces start falling off the trees… and lucky me, my neighbor gave me a bag full of them! I suddenly remembered that last time I was in Spain my mum was raving about her quince paste and how it was the best among all her friends… So I contacted her, got all the “ins” and “outs” and on Sunday a sweet tangy aroma took over my kitchen.
This recipe couldn’t be easier, you peel, core and slice your quinces, mix them with about the same amount of sugar, let the mixture rest for a couple of hours… (will look like this, give or take)
Resting the fruit will add an attractive reddish tint to the end product and at the same time you will end up with a kind of nectar almost covering the fruit that will prevent the quince from sticking to the bottom of the pan or splattering.
Second step, cook the quince for 2 hours… and looook, nice hey?
Last step, whiz and put it in molds, cool. The end :0)
You might want to spread the love a bit, and put some of that delightful paste in cute molds to take to your friends. Quince paste is delicious served with cheese; on top of buttered toast or along some ice cream… you can use it as well as a glaze for roast pork or chicken.
- 800g (1.7 lb) quince, peeled, washed, cored & sliced (that came from 1.2kg - 2.6lb whole fruit)
- 700g brown sugar
- Put quince Slices in a big casserole pot, and mix with the sugar. Cover and let mixture rest for 2 hours)
- Put casserole in the stove and cook quince at medium heat (I cooked it at number 5, on a 1 to 9 scale) stirring occasionally for 2 hours. Let cool for 10 minutes
- Using your immersion blender, process the quince until smooth. Put mixture on molds, cover and keep in the fridge for 24 hours so the quince paste can set properly
Dance of Saucepans
Photo by Cristina Gonzalez
I am trying to gather up as many positive things about autumn as I can… because, the truth is, autumn usually gives me a little feeling of melancholy… I can’t help it, the moment I spot the leaves getting suspiciously brown, a little pang of sadness touches me, so every year around this time I find myself concentrating on as many positive thoughts as I can, one of them being… awesome!!! Soups are back baby!
I am a huge soup super-fan, I like them all, creamy, chunky, hearty… you name it, I find them just wholesome and heart-warming. Cream of Spinach is one of my favourites, I did lighten up a little the classic version and added a side of decadent salmon mousse, to balance it a little. Serve it with plenty of little toast on the side for people to help themselves.
The salmon mouse with the baby toasts make a great appetizer, it is soooo easy to make, and healthy too, last time I took it to a bbq I had to stop people from licking the bowl!! ;0)
I have added the roasted garlic recipe as well, fresh garlic would work too, but the addition of roasted garlic paste lifts this cream of spinach to the next level. It is a must in fridge, use it to liven up your mashed potatoes, salad dressings… it is a great addition to hummus too.
CREAM OF SPINACH WITH SMOKED SALMON MOUSSE
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, chopped coarsely
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup reduce fat milk
- 1+1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 day old baguette, sliced and toasted
- 1 Tablespoon cream to serve (optional)
Smoked Salmon Mousse
- 125g (4 oz) hot smoked salmon (I used New Zealand King Salmon)
- 40g (1.5 oz) cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 whole garlic heads
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook onion stirring until soft. Add potatoes and cook for an extra minute
- Add stock and milk and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes
- Stir in spinach and roasted garlic paste, and cook for another 10 minutes. Cool slightly
- Meanwhile make your smoked salmon mousse
- Blend soup in batches until smooth or use your immersion blender. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg
- Serve soup with the toast topped with the salmon mousse. You can decorate the soup with a little swirl of cream.
Smoked Salmon Mousse: Put all the mousse ingredients in the food processor and blend for 2 minutes.
Roasted garlic: Preheat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius (410 Fahrenheit). Peel the outer skins of the garlic heads. Chop about 2cm (3/4 in) from the top and massage them with the oil. Place garlic in a small oven pan and cover loosely with tin foil, nestling it around the garlic.Cook in the oven for 50 minutes. Let garlic cool slightly and squeeze the pulp out of the skins mix with a little olive oil and store in a screw top jar in the fridge. It will keep for a couple of weeks
Dance of Saucepans