October 05, 2011

It's Quince time again!


I can't believe a whole year has passed and here I am picking quince again...

It's been a very busy summer of preserving and I've had lots of fun developing interesting and memorable flavour combinations. If I had to choose, the boysenberry and lemon verbena was a personal favourite along with greengage and vanilla bean, reminiscent of poached plums and custard...

For now, I am busy de-fluffing, chopping and poaching quinces. As their wonderful fragrance fills the whole house it's left me feeling rather nostalgic as I think back to last October where it all started with a box of Quince. Since then I've barely had time to reflect on the market stalls' successes and of course it's failures...


Despite the busyness, we were able to squeeze in a couple of trips to France which, as always, was so inspiring. Provence is well served with fruit in abundance and one of my favourite things to do is visit one of the peasant markets in the area, where the farmers sell their freshly harvested fruit and vegetables to the locals. There is a strong following of preserve makers who go each week to buy the fruit direct from the growers and the prices are unbelievably cheap. You can buy a tray of beautifully fresh Williams' pears for a just a few euros and every time we go I can't help feel a touch envious knowing I'll have to pay so much more for seasonal fruit here.

I am also excited about the treasures I found trawling around the brocantes and marches aux puces (flea markets) in Provence. I have a small collection of vintage french jelly jars, which I plan to fill with jewel-like jellies and other yummy delights such as quince mostarda, which I plan to sell as gift sets at the Christmas Frome Artisan Market on Sunday 4th December (www.wegotfleas.com) These will look perfect alongside the preserve spoons and pickle forks I've been gathering along the way. More to follow with pictures...

Bye for now. I better get back to the quince.