I started to write this morning, but it was so moany and so dull, I had to stop myself. I mean, who wants to read that? I had fallen into a little pit of self pity. Woe is me, I couldn’t sleep last night, my tum was so poorly, I still have some of my book to do (panic! stress!) and so much work to finish. I am SO-VERY-TIRED.
And then I thought, pull yourself together, life is very short, and it isn’t much fun down this tiny shallow pit of not even proper despair, now is it? Especially when you are despairing because you are busy doing what you love to do? I don’t understand myself sometimes.
So I dragged my carcass to the kitchen and made myself a banana, raw honey and bee pollen smoothie (all whizzed with milk & a little yogurt, simple as that). Very worthy and I hoped, redeeming. I sipped away and thought, right! Lets get on with it.
I have an extensive cookbook collection – nay, huge – one that has got me into trouble because it becomes invasive, but I adore it and so I will fight for it. My favourites at the moment are Indian, Mexican and Italian books. Those cuisines remind me of summer, passionate places that make brilliant food (the secret ingredient is love, etc!). I particularly can’t get enough of three of the Grand Dames of cuisine – Diane Kennedy, Madhur Jaffrey and Claudia Roden. Such a pleasure to read, I don’t even need to go into my kitchen. I savour every bite with every word.
Today, I thought I would make use of my impulse purchased wildly expensive courgette flowers (zucchini blossoms if you are in the US), and make Diane Kennedy’s quesadillas containing them. Yes, definitely. I even contemplated making some queso blanco to go with them. I lined up a recipe, then binned that, before I thought about going to Peckham to buy some from the Gringa Dairy (it is very good). Then I got a hold of myself and told myself to calm down and get on with it. I was deep in procrastination now too.
Never mind. I went to the fridge and what should I see but the Westcombe Dairy cheddar curds hat I had – yes, again – impulse bought last weekend at Neal’s Yard Dairy. With poutine in mind (that delightful squeaky savoury Canadian dish of chips, with curds melted on top, and gravy. YES), I had forgotten about them, and now thought they would be perfect for my quesadilla. And what was next to it, right there, just looking right back at me? Kimchee. My beloved spicy fermented Korean cabbage (try it: it is divine). Above that some kale, on its way out but still good. And some spring onions. Done. I put my courgette flowers gently back in their drawer and trotted to the kitchen.
I happened to have corn tortillas. Make your own (very easy really if you can get your hands on some masa harina), or buy some good ones. I like the small ones from the Cool Chile Co in London, and have them in my fridge often. If you are in the US, you are spoilt for choice, and in Ireland, don’t look further than My Mexican Shop who have them shipped in from Mexico and can send to your door.
Back to the quesadillas. If you can’t find kimchi, pimp your kale with chilli and maybe a splash of vinegar. You can substitute the cheddar curd with cheddar, or something milkier like mozzarella.
RECIPE: Kale, Kimchi & Cheddar Curd Quesadilla
per person – you will want 2, I promise
a handful of cheddar curd, or grated cheddar, or mozzarella
a pinch of good dried chilli
a handful of kale, washed and trimmed of the stems
2 tbsp of kimchi, chopped a little
3 spring onions, chopped fine
a little oil for frying
Place one tortilla on a hot frying pan, turn it after a minute or two and spread your cheese on it. Sprinkle a little chilli on it and stick it under the grill (I used a pan with no plastic that could go directly under the grill). Not essential but I always make sure my cheese is properly melted and the cheddar curds needed that extra touch.
While this is grilling, fry the kale in a tablespoon of oil. When wilted add the kimchi and spring onion and heat through.
When melted put back on a hot hob. Add the kale and kimchi mixture, on top of the cheese. Put another tortilla on top, and with a spatula, carefully turn it, so that you the kale side is facing down.
Leave for a further couple of minutes until crisp.
Serve immediately, hot.
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