I’ve always had a yearning to travel. While I love my country and have hopes to someday explore all the back roads and hidden gems in North America, there are soooooo many other places I want to see. There is a movie I absolutely love called The Way . I have now seen it 8 times and have recommended it to so many people that Emilio Estevez should be sending me part of his royalties lol. I won’t give the plot away. Just go to the link and then go buy the movie.
This movie leaves me aching to see the world (as well as attempt the pilgrimage the movie portrays though I know I may never be able to afford it), including parts of it not shown in the movie. I honestly can’t think of one part of the world I don’t want to see. I am “that” person who watches with wide eyes the TV travel shows, devours travel books and especially loves when my two loves; food and history are mixed in with the travel idea. When I lived in Germany, I was never blessed enough to get anywhere else in Europe and it is, of course, one of the parts of the world I want to see. And one of my main loves there is Scotland. I have seen so much of the country via books, movies, TV and the Internet and love it. I admit that food wise, there are some Scottish specialties I will probably not try… think Haggis, “Potted Heid” (their version of headcheese)
While they may not have originated there, scones seem to be synonymous with Scotland. I am pretty sure however, that these are not exactly Scottish in the flavor combo. The other day I asked on my facebook fan page whether everyone would prefer bacon and Swiss or pancetta and Swiss. One woman mentioned using figs and I loved the idea. So I incorporated them into the scones and I love them. Thanks Diane! These scones marry sweet and savory quite nicely. I just took my go to scone recipe, deleted the sugar and added in chopped dried figs, 3 types of cheese and crispy pancetta. These are slightly crispy, wonderfully flaky and getting a bite of fig with a bit of pancetta, all mixed into a cheesy scone, is amazing. The use of both butter and cream in these makes them melt in your mouth tender.
You know the drill… 🙂
Three Cheese, Pancetta & Fig Scones
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Herbes De Provence (found easily in the spice aisle and is wonderful with so many foods, it’s worth buying if you don’t have any on hand)
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and Herbes De Provence. Mix well.
Using a pastry blender, cut the chilled butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the pancetta, cheese and figs
In a small bowl (measuring cup, large pair of hands, whatever) combine the egg and the 1 1/2 cups of cream. Mix well.
Pour the cream mixture into the flour all at once. Stir well with a large wooden spoon or a fork. The mixture will still have some flour left on the bottom of the bowl. Dump it all onto a lightly floured board (make sure to scrape the bowl to get anything clinging in there) and knead for about one minute, just to get all the dry parts well combined.
Pat into a large rectangle about 3/4 of an inch thick. Use a sharp knife and cut the dough into 12 pieces. Lay them on the prepared baking pans, near to each other but not touching.
Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake at 375 degrees until they are light golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Let cool on the pan for one minute, then transfer to a serving dish. These are best served warm and fresh, though you can reheat them by either nuking them for 30 seconds or so or putting them in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.
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I blame the Germans. Really. I do. I knew nothing about curry before my ex got stationed in Mannheim Germany. I also knew nothing about German candy (which btw leaves American candy in the dust) Schnitzel (*drools*) or just how wonderful a country it was in general. I’ll talk more about Germany later I’m sure. I still miss it 23 years later (omg, I’m old). But today I’m bitching at them about my love for Curry. The Germans love curry. While I wasn’t exposed to it much there because I was a young stupid American afraid to try anything new, I did try curry ketchup. As I got older and more adventurous, I started to try things outside my comfort zone. Curry anything was one of my attempts and I love it.
The first time I tried Curried Chicken Salad was from the deli department of one of those large “we sell gourmet foods (I originally went there looking for German chocolate. Go figure.) as well as booze” types of stores. Being the cheap bastage that I am, I didn’t want to continue to pay $5.99 a pound for it (and this was years before curried chicken salad became a trend and you could find recipes for it all over the net so I shudder to think what it costs now) so I tried to recreate it. I have tweaked it some over the years but basically it is still the same recipe I made up about 15 years ago. Even if you’re not a curry fan, try this version. This cold chicken salad is chock full of grapes giving it a subtle sweetness along a mild curry flavor. It is great served on a croissant or just eaten straight or as you know is the norm for me with something I like, hidden away in the fridge in a tub labeled “Spinach” and eaten on the sly when no one is looking. 😛 This is an extremely simple recipe which makes it even better.
CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD
3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups seedless grapes (you can cut them in half if you want. Personal preference thing there)
1/4 cup raisins
2 green onions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apricot preserves (can use Peach preserves or even mango chutney)
salt to taste
Put your chicken in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is done. You can just cut the largest piece in half and make sure it isn’t pink. But don’t overcook. You can end up with rubber chicken even if it’s been cooked in water. When done, set aside and let cool. Chop into bite sized pieces.
While it’s cooking, make your sauce. It’s very difficult.
Take all the rest of the ingredients. Dump them in a bowl. Mix well. See. I told you it was difficult.
Mix the chopped chicken into the sauce. Taste for seasoning. It will have a bit of a gritty feel at first so as good as it tastes, let it sit for 24 hours or so before you eat it. That gives it time for the spices to dissolve.
That’s pretty much the reaction I used to get from my kids when they were little and I would serve this. But then again, I have a knack for taking a perfectly healthy food and while keeping the health benefits, also injecting a healthy dose of decadence, fat and calories into it 😀
I have always loved oatmeal anyway, even when it is only adorned with a bit of sugar and some milk which is how I ate it as a kid. But make it this way and call it “Pie Lovers Oatmeal” and you won’t have a problem getting even the most zealous oatmeal haters to love it. Of course, once you serve this, you can forget ever being able to serve plain old oatmeal again but I’ll leave those little issues up to you to solve. I’m just here to cook 😛
You can also make this with other dried fruits. I use apples, raisins and cherries because it’s what I like best. But feel free to sub your favorite; this is pretty flexible in that sense. Dried Peaches are pretty good in it too.
PIE LOVERS OATMEAL
2 3/4 cup rolled oats (if you want to use steel cut oats, follow the directions for amount of oats and water for three servings but this won’t be creamy. It will be chewier and denser)
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups mixed dried fruits (I used 1 cup apples, and half a cup each dried cherries and raisins)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cook the oats according to package directions, but with the simple addition of adding the fruits, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon with the oats and water.
Garnish with milk or cream (not that *I* would use unhealthy cream. I only suggest it for those of you who don’t have respect for your arteries *cough cough*) and butter.
Now wasn’t that easy?
Now eat it and convince yourself that you are eating something extremely healthy.
In reality, it IS pretty healthy, what with the fruits and the oats.