Blogging Marathon #32
Growing up in an English speaking country with a French name has been a challenge. French has many silent letters including the last 3 letters of my name. While the Americanized version of my name is pronounced Miray, I usually got called Mirelle, Mirelley, Muriel, Michelle and so many other variations I can’t recall them all. Whenever someone says my name correctly the first time, I always do a double take in surprise.They are usually French or speak French.
Many people often ask me what my name means. Just because it is from another language, people often think it has some deep, philosophical meaning. I just don’t understand this. People named Michelle or Maria don’t get asked this question and in France, my name has about the same popularity. I was actually named after a French singer that my Mom liked, Mireille Mathieu. Since my Dad is Haitian, giving me a French name seemed quite logical to my parents.
A French person informed me that my name comes from the Provencal region of France, where it is quite common. To answer all those people who always ask me what my name means, I found out it is derived from Mireio, which means to admire. In my search to find out the origin of my name, I also read a bit on the cuisine of Provence. The Italians have the Feast of the Seven Fishes to celebrate Christmas as described in my post here and Provence has Thirteen Desserts, representing Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles. One of the traditional desserts served in Provence for the feast is Quince Paste, also known as membrillo in Spanish speaking countries.
- 2 lbs. quince, peeled, cored and rough chopped
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 lemon
- approximately 2 1/4 cups sugar
Grate lemon zest off of 1/2 of the lemon. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and set aside.
In a large pot, place the quince, vanilla bean and lemon zest. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until quince is tender.
Drain and discard the vanilla.
Place the quince with the zest in a food processor and puree. Measure the quantity of quince puree. Place the puree and equal amounts of sugar back in the pot. (mine yielded 2 1/4 cups)
Cook on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add lemon juice and cook on VERY LOW HEAT, stirring often for 1 1/2 hours, until thickened and rosy color.
Preheat oven to 175 F.
Line a square baking dish with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper. Transfer the cooked quince paste to the baking dish and smooth the top. Set in oven for 2 hours to dry and solidify.
Flip over onto a plate and leave to chill in refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
Quince paste is now ready to serve!
Membrillo is very common for Spanish tapas, usually served with Manchego cheese. However, it marries well with any cheese. I have always loved quince paste, but rarely buy it as it is a gourmet product and quite expensive. If you have access to quince, you can now make it for a fraction of the cost of the store bought version.
For a delicious snack, I placed slices of quince paste on top of crackers with Edam cheese and pickled banana peppers. The perfect combination of sweet, salty and spicy.
Logo courtesy : Preeti
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