Quesadillas

 
Freddie was the one that started making quesadillas in the family, and shortly after she'd told me about her methods, I saw this recipe on the BBC one Saturday morning. Combining Freddie's method with Silvana Franco's recipe and shaking gently, here is my recipe for Ham and Cheese Quesadillas:
 
01
 
 
The basic ingredients you need to make these:
 
02
 
 
Using a sharp knife, cut the ham up in strips.

These strips should be large enough so that you can taste them when it's all done, but small enough so that they don't overpower all the other flavours.
This dish is quite salty and creamy as is - the dried, cured hams are often quite salty in their own right, so be careful. I normally go for strips roughly 1.5 centimeters wide.
 
03
 
 
For the flavour reasons described in step 2, I always take extra care to make sure that the strips of ham are well separated from each other. This kind of ham has a tendency to stick together, so it's worth taking an extra minute to tear them apart.
As an extra bonus, here's your chance to rip and tear a bit at the strips you've made, to give them that rough, rustic feel. (Like your stomach is going to care.)
 
04
 
 
Put the ham to the side and bring your knife to the basil. This is of course a matter of taste - basil can have a very overpowering, pungent flavour. I normally use about four leaves for one of these, but your mileage may vary.
 
05
 
 
Make sure that the basil is quite finely chopped. Since it's very aromatic, you probably don't want to end up with half a leaf of basil in your mouth in one go.
If you think chopping things is boring, pretend you're Jamie Oliver and make fun of his accent while you're doing it.
 
06
 
 
Next, it's time to get cooking for real, with all the preparé out of the way.
To make the dish a bit crispier, heat up your pan and warm your tortillas (without any butter or oil) for 10-20 seconds on each side.
If you haven't got asbestos fingers, you may want to use a spatula; whatever you do, be careful. Remember that this will get hot.
 
07
 
 
Your tortillas may catch a bit of colour and puff up slightly, but don't worry - this is no problem. As long as it doesn't burn you should be fine.
First heat one of your tortillas on both sides, then put it aside for now. Then heat the other on one side, then turn it over and...
 
08
 
 
...reduce the heat to low. Now it's time to start assembling.
Cover the tortilla as much as possible with your cheese. I use ready-sliced Gouda for this, which is very convenient. Dutch slices are quite big (10 x 15 cm or so), so I tear them into three parts and cover as much as possible. Three slices are normally enough to cover the tortilla.
If your cheese melts rapidly when you put it on the tortilla, remove it from the heat whilst assembling.
 
09
 
 
When the cheese is all distributed, it's time for the ham. Scatter it across the cheese as much as possible.
Sing a little song while doing this, it always helps.
 
10
 
 
The next step is again no rocket science.
Spread the basil on top of the ham (remember to impersonate Sybil Fawlty every time you handle basil) and make sure it's not clumped together. Again, rip the leaves apart even more if you feel violent.
 
11
 
 
Add another layer of cheese on top. To make it balanced, use (roughly) the same amount of cheese as you did on the base.
 
12
 
 
Cover the whole lot with the previously heated tortilla.
 
13
 
 
Turn up the heat slightly again and make sure that it all sticks together as the cheese in the bottom melts. This is crucial for the turning part which is coming up...
 
14
 
 
...right about now. When you're satisfied that your cheese is melting, use some clever method to turn the whole ench^H^H^H^Hquesadilla over. There are a few schools here; Freddie uses a plate or pan lid to tip and slide it with (she uses grated cheese which is a lot more... mobile.), I simply use a spatula.
Be careful that your bottom tortilla doesn't burn before turning it over.
Allow some time for the other layer of cheese to melt before scooping it out of the pan.
 
15
 
 
Finally, it's time to put that sharp knife to use again. The more cheese you have, the sharper the knife you need - it sounds strange, but it is true.
I find it easiest to cut the quesadilla first in halves and then in sectors; six or eight sectors depending on the size of the tortillas.
 
16
 
 
That's about it. You are done.
Some last-minute tips: