October 22, 2010
To market, to market ... to sell some quince!
My house is filled with the scent of quinces - forty five kilos to be precise! I've been on a mission over the past few weeks trying to source enough to make some delicious products to sell at the local farmers markets in Bath and the surrounding areas.
If you're not familiar with quince, it's a handsome yellow-green fruit, like an irregular, furry skinned pear with a fragrant, fruity-rose smell that reminds me of Turkish delight. If you place a bowl of quinces somewhere warm - near a fireplace or radiator - they'll look good and scent the room for several weeks. They are currently fashionable with chefs, so I'm hoping they will become more widely available, as they are a very delicious fruit. At the moment they can be difficult to find. I was lucky enough to source mine through a couple of local greengrocers who knew people who had a quince tree or two in their garden and didn't know what to do with them.
I've been busy making the Spanish classic membrillo - quince paste - eaten with manchego cheese, but equally delicious with Stilton or a crumbly cheese such as Wensleydale or Caerphilly. I wanted the quince paste to look pretty on the cheese board so I decided to make them in a set of rather beautiful mini vintage jelly moulds, which I sourced from Millie and Dottie's Emporium - a vintage lovers paradise (their new Christmas grotto is definitely worth a look for some truly magnificent retro decorating and stocking filler ideas). I also love quinces as jelly, spread on toast, or mixed up with Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche to eat with fruit. They also work brilliantly with hot or cold meats - particularly if the jelly is infused with rosemary, lemon verbena, or ginger mint.
Other goodies on the list are quince 'sweets' dusted with sugar, a wonderfully gooey windfall apple and quince cake and a quince cordial - great served as an aperitif with Prosecco or topped with fizzy water and ice.
Watch this space for further details of market dates!