Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

Quinces poached with honey and bay

20 October 2016

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For someone who has named their blog after the fruit, I have far too few quince recipes on this site! So if you have made too much quince jelly, if you have no time for quince paste, if you are still waiting for the lamb and quince tagine promised some six years ago (blame this, like so much else, on Thomas), here, finally, is a recipe for poached quinces.

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Poached quinces
Recipe inspired by Alice Waters’ poached quinces in Chez Panisse Fruit and Skye Gyngell’s baked quinces from A year in my kitchen

2 cups golden/caster sugar

4 medium quinces (about 2 lbs)

3 Tbsps flavorful honey

1/2 vanilla bean

One bay leaf (I used a fresh one)

1/2 cinnamon stick

1 untreated lemon

Make a syrup with the sugar and 6 cups (1.5 liters) of water. Bring to a boil and simmer briefly until the sugar has dissolved.

Meanwhile, wash, peel, core, and slice the quinces lengthwise into quarters then eighths (this must be done at the last minute as quinces tend to turn brown very quickly).

Slice one half of the lemon very thinly, and juice the other half.

Add to the simmering syrup the honey, the vanilla bean after scraping out the seeds into the syrup, the bay leaf, the cinnamon stick, the lemon slices, the lemon juice, and finally, the quince slices. Cover the liquid with a round of parchment paper and place a weight on top if possible to ensure that the pieces of quince are submerged in the liquid as they cook. Let the quince simmer for approximately 45 minutes until they are tender.

Once cooked, carefully strain out the pieces of quince and place them in a bowl or canning jars. Return the syrup without the quinces to the heat and simmer down for a good 20 to 30 minutes to concentrate the liquid (there must be enough left to cover the fruit!).

If preserving, sterilize the canning jars in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes and close the jars immediately after pouring the reduced hot liquid on top of the fruit.

If using immediately, pour the hot liquid over the fruit and let cool to room temperature.

In both cases serve with thick Greek-style yogurt.

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Dyed Easter eggs with leaf or flower motifs

28 March 2013

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I have dyed eggs this way since I was a little girl.

My grandparents lived in Switzerland, in a chalet overlooking Lake Brienz. It was a place straight out of a storybook and I have many Heidi memories, running up mountains and down steep meadows with cows in the field nearby, an isolated chalet in the distance, and the Alps all around. Sweet summer smells of sunshine and succulents can conjure up those memories unexpectedly, but I sometimes invoke them willfully, through rituals like these: every year for Easter I dye eggs with leaf patterns, as we used to do.

In Switzerland we easily found natural dyes at the pharmacy (they are still readily available): walnut husks for deep brown, dried mallow petals for blues, and all sorts of bark for various hues of yellow, orange, and red. But here in New York I’ve been compelled to use everyday ingredients, fruits and vegetables — even better! If only they’d worked. For years I was woefully unsuccessful with all vegetable dyes except onion skins, which are brilliantly reliable and produce a stunning deep brick red.

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I was on the verge of writing off all other colors, had I not recently been taunted by blogs and photos posting deep-hued eggs tinted with spinach, turmeric, red cabbage… Why not me? I’d been using the wrong method. During all those years of stubbornly prepared and pitifully useless homemade dyes I had followed the instructions remembered from the little Swiss packets: hard-boil the eggs for 12 to 15 minutes directly in the colored liquid. This did work with onion skins but other vegetables left no trace on the shells whatsoever. Determined to get something out of my cabbage after all (and wised-up by some online reading) this time I waited for the liquid to cool, plunged the already hard-boiled eggs into the dye, and left them in the refrigerator overnight. Magic!

This time I made the experiment with red cabbage only, but I know it is the way to success, and I see a bright multi-colored Easter-egg future ahead.

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Red eggs = onion skins, blue eggs = red cabbage, brown eggs = walnut husks brought back from Switzerland

Approximately 2 cups packed onion skins

Approximately 3 cups shredded red cabbage

18 to 24 eggs

White vinegar

Freshly picked leaves and flowers

Old/cheap tan stockings

Kitchen string

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Prepare the dyes in two medium saucepans: about 8 cups of cold water for 2 cups of onion skins and about 6 cups of cold water for 3 cups of shredded red cabbage. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile hard-boil the eggs: bring a large saucepan of water to boil, gently place the eggs inside, and simmer gently for 12 minutes. Run immediately under cold water. Let dry and gently rub the eggs with a little white vinegar.

Cut the stockings into 3-inch (8-cm) squares approximately.

Place a leaf or flower onto the egg; carefully place the stocking over the leaf and tighten the stocking over the egg by gathering it at the back, thereby gluing the leaf to the egg. Twist the stocking to tighten as much as possible then bind it with a piece of string. **Alternatively, we also just tie rubber bands over the bare egg to create line motifs.**

Place the eggs in large jars, pour the cold dye over the eggs, and leave in the refrigerator until the egg acquires the desired hue.

Cut the stocking at the string and carefully remove it and the leaf (or flower) to reveal the design. **Be mindful not to scratch the egg as the dye can rub off while it is still wet.**

Once the eggs are dry, rub with a little oil for shine.

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Related posts

Happy Easter!


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