Desserts and Sweets

Lemon-Rosmary Shortbread with Tomato Jam

 

I love the combination of lemon and rosemary-sweet or savoury. Whenever I use rosemary, I think fondly, and always with a laugh, of my vacation with my partner three years ago in Sicily. Sicily is one of my favourite vacation spots, most loved of course, because of its culinary offerings!!!

 

During this particular trip, we were celebrating our Birthdays, as they are only one day apart. We stayed in a lovely country barn in the hills- remote-and very far away from anything and anyone! It was in early September and the air was pleasantly cool and everything still and peaceful.

To get to the nearest town, we had to travel down a non-paved and rather dusty road-well…track, which took us about 15 minutes on a good day. Besides the fact that I often get car sick, it was actually pleasant meandering our way on the track, with trees lined along either side. As we drove along the path, we were confronted with the strong scent of rosemary. There was rosemary everywhere and it was divine!

The track was however, just narrow enough for one small car to get through. I always feared the day when, if ever we would approach an oncoming car, one car would have to stop, reverse, and hopefully find an area slightly wide enough to back into and let the other car pass.

This actually did occur on one occasion and I was terrified, as we were in the car, which had to reverse. As we reversed I had visions of the car flying over and tumbling down the hills. I know, I know…I am working on trying to rid myself of all of these negatives thoughts. Positive thinking. Needless to say, nothing happened and we carried on along our way.

However!

As we returned home that afternoon after a long day of driving around and exploring the various villages, going to farmers’ markets and eating Sicilian food, we approached our long and winding road.

On this particular evening, I was completely overtaken by the scent of the rosemary. I had decided then and there, that we were going to pick some and use it in whatever dish we decided to make. 

So, as we approached the most heavily rosemary-populated region along our track, I asked my partner to stop the car. Unfortunately, there was hardly enough room for me to get out and pick. So, we each reached out our hands and attempted to pick the strands of rosemary that were within our reach.

Just as my partner grabbed to reach the branch, I felt the car tip over. And then I felt the car tip over more. I was slightly elevated. My partner had sunken. And we sat not moving an inch. We had managed to place the car into a ditch!!!

 We both sat there, and sat there. And then I broke out laughing. What’s a girl gonna do in such a situation!? Both of us wondering what the hkkk are we going to do now!? Long story short; despite my utmost fearful visions, which I will not reveal now, we were very very lucky!!! An Sicilian farmer passed by after some time and called together everyone on his farm to assist us. A few strong men and a tractor, a pull here, a push there and we were out! To end the story; I got my rosmary and it was the best I had ever tasted!

As part of my summer welcome, I made some rosemary lemon shortbread with tomato jam. It sounds at first like an odd combination, but I really liked it. My partner could not fathom the fact that tomato could be made into a jam and did not want to taste it. Yes, I forced him to taste it.

He said nothing and we left it at that. It is clearly not for everybody, but worth a try!

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread 

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/3 cups of sugar

1/4 cornstarch or rice flour for more crunch

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1 teaspoons. of freshly chopped rosemary

3/4 cups of chilled butter, cut into small cubes

Set the oven to 300F degrees (150 C).

Mix the flour, sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon peel, chopped rosemary and salt together.

Cut in the butter and mix either with your fingertips or in a food processor until the dough becomes lumpy and moist.

Make the dough into 2 balls and press one ball onto the bottom of an 8-inch round or square pan. Using a knife, cut either squares or wedges into the dough, and then prick the dough with a fork and bake until pale yellow in colour. It took me 35 minutes.

Take the shortbread out and leave it in the pan until it cools, or it will crumble completely.