“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Feelin' Quincy


 belongs to the same family as apples and pears; its shape is similar to a pear, but larger. It has lumpy yellow skin and hard flesh that is quite bitter so shouldn’t be eaten raw. When fully ripe, the quince has a wonderful perfume. Quince paste or ‘membrillo’ is a popular accompaniment to cheese in Spain.  The term "marmalade", originally meaning a quince jam, derives from "marmelo," the Portuguese word for this fruit

My dear mother managed to answer the teaser in just under 11 1/2 hours, which has to be something of a record. Well done, that woman! 

So, what can one do with quince? So glad you asked. Well, of course, there are the traditional uses such as jam and winemaking, adding it to tarts and pies such as apple pie (adding a few cubes of quince to your apple pie will perk up the flavour, and you can try adding it to applesauce too), but in some Middle Eastern countries it is used in soups and stews, and it is also used in some Moroccan lamb dishes, such as this...

Lamb and quince tagine

Preparation time : 25 minutes
Cooking time : 1 hour 30 minutes
Total time : 1 hour 55 minutes
Serves: 4


½ tsp Cumin seeds
½ tsp Coriander seeds
100g Unsalted butter
4 Lamb shanks
1 tsp Ground ginger
½ tsp Cayenne pepper
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 Large onions, roughly chopped
400ml Lamb stock
½ Cinnamon stick
4 tbsp Clear honey
20g Fresh coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
1 Quince, peeled, quartered and cored
1 Lemon, juice and 2 strips of rind
½ tsp Saffron, dissolved in 2 tbsp boiling water


Grind the cumin and coriander together. Heat 75g butter in a large casserole and brown the lamb on all sides. Remove the meat and set aside. Add all the spices (except the saffron), and the garlic and onions; cook for 2 minutes. Season and add the stock. Add 2 tbsp honey and about a third of the coriander. Bring to the boil, return the lamb to the casserole, then turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook over a low heat for 1½ hours until meltingly tender.
Meanwhile, put the quince in a small saucepan and cover with water. Add the lemon rind, juice and the remaining honey. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15–20 minutes until tender.
When the lamb is cooked, remove the shanks and cinnamon stick and keep warm. Add about 4 tbsp of the quince poaching liquid, the saffron and its water. Bring to the boil and reduce to a thickish sauce. Taste and season.
Slice the quince and heat the remaining butter in a frying pan. Sauté the quince slices until golden. Return the lamb to the casserole and heat everything through. Gently stir in the remaining coriander and add the quince. Serve immediately with couscous or bread.

However, this might whet your appetite for quince too, something a little simpler...

Drunken Quinces with Gorgonzola and Mascarpone

Like a dessert and cheese course in one.

Preparation time : 20 minutes
Cooking time : 20 minutes to 45 minutes
Total time : 40 minutes to 1 hour 5 minutes


1 Lemon
6 tbsp Clear honey
2 Star anise
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Bay leaf
1 Rosemary sprig
600ml Red wine
4 Quinces, peeled, halved and cored
500g Gorgonzola
250g Mascarpone


Peel 3 strips of rind from the lemon; leave the pith behind. Put in a large pan with the honey, herbs, spices and wine; bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the quinces, topping up with water to cover if necessary. Put a lid on, return to the boil, then turn down the heat. Poach for 20–45 minutes until tender, turning once.
Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Take out the spices and herbs and boil until reduced by a third and slightly syrupy. Leave to cool – it will thicken further. Serve half a quince per person, with some syrup and the cheeses.

My most recent consumption of quince was at The White Lion where I partook of the cheese platter. This was dotted around the edge with little cubes of membrillo, quince jelly. Here's how to make it....


Best made in a small roasting tin as it gives you a good slab from which you can cut pieces. Brilliant with cheeses, game or pâté, it also works well spread onto a joint of lamb before roasting.

Preparation time : 20 minutes
Cooking time : 40 minutes
Total time : 1 hour
Makes: 1.5 kg


1.5kg Quinces
750g Granulated sugar


Chop the quinces – there’s no need to peel or core them, but make sure the fur you sometimes find on their skin is washed off – and put them in a large saucepan with just enough water to cover. Simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the flesh is really soft and collapsing. Push the mixture through a sieve with the back of a wooden spoon, then measure the purée – there should be just under 1 litre.
Put the purée back in the pan with 450g sugar for every 600ml of purée. Heat gently, stirring from time to time to help the sugar dissolve, then bring to the boil and cook gently for 30–40 minutes or until the mixture is so thick that if you scrape a wooden spoon through it, the purée parts and leaves a clean line at the bottom of the pan. You need to stir frequently and get well into the edges of the pan to make sure you don’t leave bits that could stick and burn, and be careful not to get splashed by hot, bursting bubbles of purée.
Spread the mixture into lightly oiled dishes or moulds, or pot in clean, sterilised jars. The membrillo will set firm as it cools and will keep for up to 6 months in the fridge.

Now go to it, my people!

So now we have to replace the quinces with a new Name This Food! food... slightly different this time. It's an easy one, but I want you to not only identify it but tell me what  is so important about it...

Name This Food!


  1. While that is true, that's not the info I was looking for. Keep thinkin'.

  2. Quince Trees in the Street in Loch, most people leave them alone or take one or two but an occasional toad who takes loads...also have apple and pear trees too...


Come on and chew the fat!


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