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expedience/must have ingredients

November 15, 2012

The quince cheese didn’t quite turn out as I’d expected. It’s the right colour, but it’s definitely toffee like, though not as hard. Think chewy toffee that sticks to your teeth. It was really difficult to cut. “If I’d bought this in a shop, you wouldn’t let me eat it” said Arlo. Pertinent observation maybe – although this same child earlier announced that he was “An ornamental rock with a voice transmitter that doesn’t move and definitely doesn’t do homework”.

So the quince cheese is sitting on a plate in the kitchen waiting for an aim in life (actually I think its aim is to weld itself to the plate and it’s doing quite a good job). I decided to use it as a sweetener – it tastes quite nice in a fruity toffee way.

I made lentils and rice –  a useful standby which you can eat warm and which is also good cold in a wrap for packed lunches.

Wash and soak a cup full of brown lentils in lots of cold water for about an hour. Drain, add some fresh water to cover, bring to the boil and cook till done, but not cooked to a mush – about 15 minutes. Finely chop an onion, a clove of garlic, a fresh chilli (deseed?) and grate a 1″ piece of fresh ginger.

Put all this in a pan with some olive oil and cook stirring every now and then till the onion’s softened. Rinse a cup of basmati rice well, and add it to the pot, stirring well. Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a teaspoon of mustard seeds and a teaspoon of cumin seeds and a piece of quince toffee (normally I’d use apricot jam).

Stir until it’s all mixed together well. Cook for a minute or two and add two cups of water. Stir, put the lid on the pan and bring to the boil. Stir again and simmer until the rice is done – about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the lentils, some chopped mint leaves and some salt. Mix well, add a little more olive oil and heat the lot up together. Eat.

Quince toffee: the must have ingredient. You read it here first, folks.

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