Thursday, 30 September 2010

They dined on Mince and slices of Quince.

We have dined on mince and slices of quince - albeit in separate dishes, though I'm sure I heard Greg Wallace say something about smoked bacon and quince on Masterchef last night.

For the last few days I've been steadily working my way through the Norfolk Kitchen Quince Mountain. I avoided Membrillo and Jelly this year as we've had lots of those in previous years thanks to the old Japonica Quince, instead I've made the most of the quince flesh in crumbles, cakes etc as that was difficult to do with the tiny Japonicas. Quince upside down cake was a great success, pieces of pre-cooked quince in the bottom of a cake tin with a standard 3 egg sponge mix poured on top and baked at gm4 for about 45 minutes. The secret ingredient is a couple of tablespoons of rose water added to the sponge mix, along with the usual vanilla extract.

Quince Mincemeat also worked well. I took Delia's mincemeat method as a base and came up with this mixture from bits we already had in the cupboard:

225g Quince (chopped into small pieces and poached til soft)
110g suet (I used vegetarian)
400g chopped dates
110g mixed candied peel
175g brown sugar
zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
25g chopped walnuts
2 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
Generous amount of Cointreau (because it was already in the house, brandy is in the original recipe) - probably a double measure.

The method is really easy. Mix everything together except the alcohol and put into a covered dish in a very, very low oven for 3 hours. Take it out and stir a few times as it cools to distribute the fat, add the alcohol when it's completely cool. Pot up into sterilised jars in the usual fashion. Delia says this methods prevents the fresh fruit juice seeping out and fermenting as it seals the pieces with fat. I can vouch for it working as I used this method last year and the mincemeat was still fine 9 months after it was made. I tasted it last night and it's really very good, even before it's matured.

I also made Quince Chutney from Pam Corbain's River Cottage Preserves book.

1kig pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced
1kg quince, peeled, cored and diced
500g cooking/wild apples, peeled, cored and diced
500g red onions, diced
500g raisins
50g fresh ginger (fresh horseradish in the original recipe but I couldn't get hold of any)
500g brown sugar
600ml cider vinegar
Spice bag
2tsp peppercorns
12 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks.

You probably know the drill. Mix everything together, bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for ages til it looks like chutney. Then pot it into sterilised jars etc makes about 10 jars.

Other than these 2 recipes, I've been freezing the quinces. I find it easier to boil the quince whole for roughly an hour or so til they're soft then let them cool completely. Once they're soft, they're much easier to chop neatly, I then pack them into foil trays and stack them in the chest freezer.

I think I'm coming to the end although I may bottle a few in spiced cider or something similar as a change from the plain, frozen ones. I still have masses of the pesky things left so I may begin to distribute them to friends and family - whether they want them or not!

(By the way, did you know that a 'Runicble Spoon' is actually a spork?)


  1. I still haven't tried quince and I have to say it's not something i have come across in the like the sound of the mince though...maybe I will adapt the recipe!!

  2. No, you don't get them in supermarkets. Not sure why, they're lovely. If you were closer I'd give you a bagful.

  3. Hi, I just discovered your blog...after years of fighting my quinces and getting blisters for my efforts, I tried a new tack this time round and exchanged them for a huge bag of bread flour at the Greengrocers on Earlham Road, Norwich. Blissful cop out!

  4. Quinces (and Jam) are great currency in Norfolk. I've swapped mine for compost, manure, jam jars, 11 kilos of yellow bullace and, hopefully, some green tomatoes for chutney.

    Have you got any more you want rid of by the way? Someone in Hindringham contacted me through the blog as he was trying to get hold of some Quince. Diss was too far for him to come but if you're in Norwich that would be a bit more reasonable. I could put you two in touch if you're interested?

  5. Hi Tracey, I just took the last ones off the tree today and want to make a painting of them, plus they smell good in the studio! I might be able to source some more, and can be contacted via my website at They have more in the Green Grocers at Earlham too.