Dulce de Membrillo – Quince Paste

I hope you know quinces, if not, I wish you get some and try to prepare this divine preparation which can be prepared in advance and which can be part of menu in both sweet and savory winter dishes in the coming festive days.

“Dulce de membrillo” or simply “membrillo” (Spanish name of quince paste or quince cheese) is a sweet, sticky, very thick jelly made with quinces, and is a typical dessert eaten with cheese in Spain (as the name), but it is also wonderful served for breakfast on toasted bread.

This year we got a very mild autumn and until now, the temperature did not reach the freezing point.

At the beginning of October, we collected most of the quinces, but some of them were too high for the harvest. This week the last quinces fall down, I collected them, and I knew I had to preserve them as soon as possible.

I remembered that I have already prepared quince paste, but this time I wanted to use less sugar and add more lemon flavor. I also decided to blend them only after turn reddish; it is easier for me to reduce the liquid in this way.

As membrillo contains a lot of sugar, it may be kept in the fridge for a long time. However, as I in my recipe I reduced the quantity of sugar, I suggest to keep it well wrapped in the fridge for about 2 weeks, if you want to keep it longer, I suggest to freeze it.

Dulce de Membrillo – Quince Paste

  • Servings: about 2 kg
  • Difficulty: medium
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Credit :Artandkitchen

Ingredients

  • 2000 g quinces
  • 1000 g sugar
  • 1 big lemon
  • 100 ml water

Directions

  1. Place the sugar in a heavy pot add grated lemon zest, the juice of the lemon and the water. Stir. Place the pot to very low heat.
  2. Immediately peal the first quince, remove the cored and dice them. Add the prepared quince to the sugar mix and stir. Continue to prepare the quinces add them one by one to the mixture. You will see that the quinces will release their liquid-
  3. Let this simmer slowly stirring form time to time to reduce the liquid; don’t let it stick and burn at the bottom. Most of the quinces will turn mush and after about 1 to 1½ hours, the mixture will begin to turn orange-reddish.
  4. When the liquid is mostly reduced, turn it to puree using the hand blender.
  5. Continue cooking stirring frequently with a wooden spatula, until the paste becomes very thick and has a deep orange color.
  6. There several ways to check if the paste is ready to be poured in the molds:
    • Draw the wooden spoon along the bottom of the saucepan: it should leave a trail and the quince mixture will stick to the spoon.
    • The mixture is thick enough to hold the spoon upright
    • The paste should easily come off from the sides of the pan.
    • The paste is thick enough if you are able to see the base of the pan when you draw the wooden spoon through the mixture.
  7. Scrape the paste into your prepared tin (I use simply clear foil) and level the top.  I also used  silicon molds, which worked perfectly for this. Leave to set for at least a day in a warm place, then wrap and store airtight in the fridge.

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Easy Dark Chocolate Truffles

Some truffles recipes are very simple, others may be challenging but in any case, the results are worth it. It is always a good time to play with chocolate!

This recipe is very easy, changing the liquor you may change the taste; you may also add for example finely grated orange zest.

Serve these rich, melt in the mouth truffles after dinner with coffee. If possible use some good quality chocolate and you have prepared for yourself or for a homemade gift.

Easy Dark Chocolate Truffles

  • Servings: 400g
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit :Artandkitchen

Ingredients

  • 100 ml heavy cream
  • 250 g dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon Cognac, Brandy, Amaretto, Rum or Grand Marnier
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated
  • 50 g cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Combine place the cream in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
  2. When the cream is warm add the chocolate and stir the mixture over the heat until just melted and smooth.
  3. Remove the bowl from the heat, place it in a cold-water bath, and whisk in the champagne.
  4. Pour the mixture on a tray prepared with parchment paper, spread to a square of a thickness of about 1 to 1 1/2 cm. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or until set.
  5. Warm a knife in hot water, dry it off. Cut the block to make squares or rectangles of about 1-2 cm. Save the trimmings for yourself!
  6. Place the sifted cocoa powder in a bowl. Carefully toss each cube cocoa powder.
  7. If serving the same day, arrange the truffles on a plate and store in the fridge until serving. Take them out of the fridge a little bit before serving to take the chill off. Truffles can also be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

 

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

Almost one year ago, I thought I should try to prepare these cute, decorative and elegant pearls, which would give a special taste and wonderful look to many salads as well as dishes.

The balls in the pictures where made with white balsamic vinegar which I infused with basil.

You can use any vinegar, with different taste; if you want, you may also buy a ready-made infused vinegar. To preserve the ball, place them in small jars covered with more of liquid, which you used to produce them.

If you want to produce more drops, work with placing the container of the oil an iced bath!

Finally, I did it and it was easy!

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit :Artandkitchen

Ingredients

  • 100 ml balsamic vinegar (any colours, infused if you like)
  • 5 agar
  • 1 cup of oil

Directions

  1. First, place the oil in a high container in the freezer. The container should be high enough, as you will drop the vinegar in it! A jar of about 400 ml is perfect.
  2. Place the vinegar in a small sauce pot, add the agar and stir well
  3. Heat the vinegar mixture stirring constantly.
  4. As soon it comes to boil, remove from the heat and let cool down a little bit ( to about 75°C).
  5. Drop the vinegar using a syringe or other dropper into the oil. I tried to produce drops of the same size and I found out that it works better if I let drop them from about 20 height; let them drop moving the syringe over the all surface of the oil.
  6. When you have finish to drop, sieve the pearls from the oil (you may use the oil for another lot) and then gently rinse under current water.
  7. Use for decorating salads, starters and even desserts.

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls (2 of 1)

Okras with Vegetables from the Oven

The plant and its seed pods are also known as “lady’s fingers” and in Greece this dish is called “Bamies sto fourno” (Μπάμιες στο φούρνο). The Greek name come from the Arabic name, bamyeh.

While in central Europe, we can get this fresh vegetable almost only in Turkish shops, in Greece we can find it in almost all supermarkets and farmer markets!

Okras could turn slimy ant to prevent this we should cook it whole, after tossing it with salt and vinegar and marinating for at least 30 minutes.

In Greece this dish is very popular ad for the recipe the quantity of oil is at least 3 fold of what I suggest her with my recipe.

Okras with Vegetables from the Oven

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

You need

  • 1 kg okra, trimmed and washed
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 red peppers, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes, diced into 1-2 cm pieces
  • 2 strips orange zest (about 5-5 square centimeters J )
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, coriander or dill chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Trim the stems off the okra, and place in a large bowl. Add the vinegar, toss and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Drain the okra, and rinse thoroughly. Place these in an oven safe baking mold.
  2. Preheat the oven at 180°C.
  3. In the meantime heat the oil in a skillet, add onion, garlic and red peppers. Fry until fragrant. Combine water and tomato paste. Add this to the skillet as well as the tomatoes and orange zest. Heat thoroughly. Add herbs and adjust salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the sauce over the okra, cover with foil or lid and place it for 1 hour and 30 min in the oven. The last 15 min remove the lid to allow the food to get a bit of color.

Chicken and Potatoes Casserole with Fig Sauce

An extraordinary warm autumn permitted to our figs three to produce the send bath fresh fruits and add in this way rich genuine ingredients to our table.

Inspired by the oriental kitchen I created this dish and I’ve already reproduced a second time for the pleasure of my family.

The figs three is still producing figs, and it’s already late October. For this recipe I’ve also prepared a few small jars of preserved figs, so that this dish will be among the Christmas delish again.

Note: There are two fig seasons a year – a smaller harvest in early summer and a larger harvest in late summer to early fall. At our latitudes, we expect the first harvest in summer (where here it is the main harvest) and sometimes, if we have a warm autumn, we get the second harvest end of September to October; this is a big gift it it happens!

Chicken and Potatoes Casserole with Fig Sauce

  • Difficulty: easy
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You need

For the potatoes

  • 500 g small potatoes, washed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the chicken with figs

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
  • 400 g chicken, breast, diced into 2-4 cm pieces
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 8 medium sized figs, peeled and cut into quarters (here you may also use preserved figs)
  • 1/2 cup water or better white wine
  • 2 rosemary springs
  • 1 thyme spring
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Topping (optional)

  • Fresh figs, washed cut into flowers
  • 1 short rosemary spring

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°C
  2. Place the potatoes in your baking mold; add the oil, sprinkle with salt and place in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes or until you see that the skin turns light roasted and the potatoes are done (check with the point of a knife).
  3. In the meantime, fry onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant, add the chicken pieces and fry until roasted. Don’t let burn the onion mixture.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar and the figs. Cook until figs are lightly caramelized, add the water or the wine and stir to dissolve the fond.
  5. Add the herbs, and adjust with salt and pepper. Let simmer slowly (if necessary add more liquid). When potatoes are ready, add the chicken-figs mixture to the potatoes.
  6. Arrange the figs for the topping and bake until figs are warm. Place the reserved rosemary spring over the dish and serve immediately.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

 

 

Juicy Prune Compote with Spices

This year we had been blessed with a lot fruits from the garden and now the plums (European plums or prunes) are just ripe enough.

I decided to create a side dish, which goes with meat (for example roasted pork, chicken or game), but now I think that this (perhaps with less salt, and adapting the spices to your taste) would be lovely as a dessert with vanilla ice cream, Greek plain yogurt or over your morning muesli (or cereals) . Next time…

For the preparation, I used allspice, finely crushed coriander and pepper, but other combinations would work as well. Alternatives could be cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, cloves, grated orange zest, garam masala and so on.

Juicy Prune Compote with Spices

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

You need

  • 12 prunes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • ½ teaspoon finely crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoon brandy (or grappa, whisky, …)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Procedure

  1. Wash the prunes, cut into halves and remove the pits.
  2. In a small bowl combine sugar spices, salt, water and brandy
  3. In a non-sticky frying pan, heat the butter at medium heat and fry the prunes on the skin side for a few minutes until you see that the skin begins to brown.
  4. Pour the mixture over the prunes and turn the prunes cut side down.
  5. Cook until the juice reduces to a thick medium thick sauce and the cut side of the prunes begins to turn brown. Don’t let burn the sugar!
  6. Immediately remove from the skillet and place in a serving plate.

 

Dried Figs stuffed with Almonds and Orange Zest

This year we had a very warm summer and the garden gave us a lot delicious figs, which we shared with friends.

However, it was only during our holidays on Crete after noticing that most of the figs fall on the floor and, as I hate food waste, I decided to try to dry some figs and prepare a great souvenir of the summer in a jar.

The good thing we had for this, beside the figs of course was the sun; the strong Greek sun is best to preserve these figs and for this reason, I searched in the internet how I should proceed.

To make them more special, I decided to modify an Italian recipe (from the *Puglie* region) and so I started to collect ripe but still firm green and black figs and to dry them in the sun!

Figs can be dried halved or cut in two pieces; I opted to cut them into two halves as the effect of the sun would be stronger drying the figs quickly and the rays would destroy all possible parasites.

The best way to dry them would be on a grid, but since I did not have this, I used my normal baking try with a black baking foil, which attracted the sun and kept the heat; in two days, the figs were dry enough, some of them almost to dry! J

If you don’t have the opportunity to collect and dry the figs, you should opt for the dry figs from the store and halve them with a scissor taking care to keep them partially attached.

These figs are an unusual addition to the holiday table and make a unique Christmas gift from the kitchen!

Dried Figs stuffed with Almonds and Orange Zest

  • Difficulty: easy
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You need

  • 50 dried figs, butterflied
  • 1 orange, peel only removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into small pieces
  • 50 almonds
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch o cinnamon
  • 10-20 bay leaves

Procedure

  1. Add a piece of orange peel on one side of the butterflied fig.
  2. Add an almond on each it and cover with the other side. Press them well together.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes at 180°C/350°F, Check on the color and temperature as cooking time may vary from oven to oven!
  4. In the meantime, combine the powdered sugar with the cinnamon.
  5. Switch off the oven, take out the figs out, dust with sugar and place them in the oven for other 5 minutes.
  6. In order to store them for a long time, place the still warm figs into sterilized jars layered and with several bay leaves between the layers for added flavor. Store the jar in a cool dry place.

Tip1: After sun drying the figs, some of them resulted very dry, too dry for this preparation, for this reason I placed them in bowl, sprinkled them with water (about tablespoons for 5 cups of dried figs) covered them, and placed in the microwave for 2 two minutes. After resting for about 10 minutes they were ready for this preparation.

Tip2: Quartered walnuts and orange zest by lemon or tangerine zest may replace Almonds!

Author: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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