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new directions for quinces

November 13, 2012

The quinces’ number was up today and I finally did something with them – they were still smelling lovely, but only faintly- so it was now or never.

Once they were cut open they looked a little more interesting – lots of seeds in a distinctive format, but I’d chopped one up into really little bits and I’d started on the other before I thought about capturing this for posterity. Silly really – as a botanical illustrator I ought to think about these things.

I’d decided on quince cheese and consulted my rather wonderful preserving book by Oded Schwartz (which has every recipe you’re ever likely to need – and quite a few that you won’t). Some of the recipes are just too much of a mission, but it’s nice to imagine that I could be organised enough to present my family and friends with potted Stilton and/or smoked salmon as festive gifts. One day maybe.

Anyway, Oded told me, in pictures as well as words, that I needed to chop my quinces, then cook them in enough water to cover them until soft and then sieve them and measure the pulp. Then all I had to do was add an ounce of sugar per fl oz of pulp and cook till done. So far so good. Actually, he also said to add the juice of a lemon, but since I had very little pulp I decided it wasn’t worth it – could be my innate resistance to following a recipe of course.

I measured the pulp (there was only 5fl oz in the end) and added the sugar, stirred it over a low heat until it dissolved and then brought it to the boil stirring every now and then. As I simmered it, and it increasingly resembled a mini volcano emitting little lava like puffs of steam, as if by magic the mixture turned the dark red I was promised. I judged it done so poured the lot onto some silver foil to set. Then I had to rush out to a meeting.

Looking at it now, in the cold light of the evening and having been meetinged out,  it appears that I may have made quince toffee, rather than quince cheese.

“How interesting” said the beloved.

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