They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon.
- From The Owl and the Pussycat.
quince and figs
my favourite season for fruit is right about now. i love the evocativeness of both these fruits and their contrasting personalities. Figs when ripe are soft, jammy and drip their sappy sweetness. The quince is firm, furry and floral. For me, their histories, their cultural associations, their scent, their texture, their ultimate uniqueness really draws me in. They're both romantic. My heart skips when i think of them, plotting how to eat them, sniffing in that incredible high note apple and that musty smug. Using them in the kitchen somehow connects me to the past; i feel part of a continuum of tradtion and brimming with life and its possibilities. Im humbled and grateful. Figs i love straight from the tree, a mouthful, stuffed and greedy. Quinces i love to hold and shift their weight from hand to hand and rub through velvet with my thumb. To eat, i love them baked and served with meats.
Sadly we have no fig tree; im going to have to change that soon, so for now i make the most of a few local roadside stalls and the farmers markets. The quince in the garden is fruiting. it looks beautiful, like an overhung christmas tree. It loves neglect. Its rarely watered, never pruned or fed, just surviving on its leaf litter foot warmers. Mediterranean trees love this climate and i love them too! I think this weekend i may cook duck with quince,bottle the current batch and perform the almost obligatory transformation of quince into paste (and eat with a runcible spoon!)
This was a very long and round about way to call out for your favourite quince recipe/ preserving method please...