Tuesday 9 December 2008

Cook's Alphabet 'Q'

Cook's Alphabet 'Q'

This is the seventeenth in my series of 28 postings going through the entire alphabet, as it relates to cooks and cooking. As you can see, today I'm dealing with the letter 'Q'.

The letter 'Q' is, of course the seventeenth letter in the English alphabet and, despite what you may be thinking, there is lots to talk about for the letter Q. Today's recipe is for a classic English fruit used to make an American-style fruit brownie. The fruit being Quince, of course:

Quince Brownies

240g dark chocolate, chopped
100g unsalted buter, cubed
110g plain flour
120g granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
150g finely-grated quinces
110g chopped pecan nuts or walnuts
freshly-grated zest of 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g raisins (optional)

Combine the butter and chocolate in a bain-marie over (double boiler) over simmering water. Stir until completely molten and combined then set aside to cool.

Meanwhil, sift the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time into the chocolate mixture and beat in with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined before adding he next egg. Now pour the resultant mixture into the flour mix, beating well to combine thorughly. Add the quinces, nuts, orange zest, vanilla and raisins (if using) and stir to combine.

Line a baking pan about 20 x 20 x 5cm with baking parchment or aluminium foil, butter lightly then pour the chocolate batter inside. Place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake emerges cleanly. Remove from the oven and allow the brownies to cool completely befor cutting into squares and serving.

(This recipe reproduced, with permission, from the Celtnet Quince Brownies Recipe page. )

Today's cooking term is Quenelle: Quenelle is a traditional French term for a fine minced fish or meat mixture that are formed into small (usually oval) portions before being poached in stock. The term is also used scribe the shape of the portions as a neat three-sided oval (a little like a rugby ball) which is formed by smoothing the mixture between two dessertspoons. Essentially a quenelle can be formed from any semi-soft medium such as ice cream, cream cheese, mousse or chocolate. The shape being the same as that of the traditional meat quenelle.

Today's wild food is Quickthorn: Quickthorn is an alternate name for the hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, the flower buds and young leaves of which can be made into salads and puddings. The berries (known as haws) are also good to eat and can be made into teas, desserts, pies, cakes sauces, jams and ice creams. The recipe below is for a classic hawthorn soup:

Hawthorn Soup

450g Haws (Hawthorn Berries), de-stemmed and washed clean
1.5l water
120g sugar
2 tbsp honey

Wash the haws and remove any stems. Make a horizontal slice around the midsection of the fruit, and gently pry open with your fingers. Use the tip of a paring knife to carefully pull out the seeds then repeat with the remaining fruit. This is tedious, but essential for this recipe.

Bring the water to a boil in a large stock pot and add the prepared haws and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for between 25 and 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir-in the honey. Allow the soup to cool to room temperature, tip into a bowl and cool in the fridge before serving.

(This recipe reproduced, with permission, from the Celtnet Hawthorn Soup Recipe page. )

For more information on cookery-associated terms and information beginning with the letter 'Q' here are various links that may well be of interest:

Recipes beginning with 'Q'
Spices beginning with 'Q'
Herbs beginning with 'Q'
Wild foods beginning with 'Q'
Cook's glossary 'Q'

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