bruises on the fruit, tender age in bloom

It has taken me what feels like forever to get this blog post done and it’s not because I’ve been doing anything exciting by any means, I’ve just been busy with work and overtired and rinsing and repeating. That’s a lie, I’m not even rinsing. Just grubbily unproductive. But here I am and I’m determined to make this happen because, if nothing else, the recipe I’m talking about involves quince which is in season for about the same length of time as the brief nap I wish I was currently having.

So quinces, yeah, they look like large pears and smell like if an apple was presenting you with a bunch of flowers and blushing nervously. They’re impossible to eat raw and rock hard when you try to cut through them and take forever to cook but once they do, you get blessed with soft, melting texture with just a little of that autumnal fruit grittiness, and intense, perfumed sweetness of flavour.

I bought two, knowing full well I’d probably get too busy to do anything other than occasionally appreciatively sniffing them before ruefully throwing them in the bin once they’d deteriorated beyond the point where I could ignore it; however I surprised myself by actually doing something. And that thing was delicious. I grated the quince – not the easiest task, since they’re so concrete-like, but I managed – and cooked it in plenty of butter with sliced pears, and then just added water slowly, almost risotto like, until everything was cooked and soft. A tiny bit of sugar was all that was needed, no spices or anything – I mean, you absolutely could, I just wanted the fruit to be the undistracted star. If I was going to add something here I’d personally go for cardamom – a tiny bit lemony and gingery and less obvious than cinnamon, or indeed, actual ginger. The butter with the fruit is so lush, and flavour enough, making everything all rich and sweet and juicy and, well, buttery.

buttered quince and pears

a recipe by myself

  • one large quince
  • two pears
  • 40g butter
  • one tablespoon sugar
  • water

Peel the quince (just use a vege peeler) and carefully grate the flesh, till you’re left with just the solid core. This is a bit of an undertaking because quinces are, as I said, extremely tough. Throw the butter into a large frying pan and over a medium to high heat, melt it and tip in the quince. Finely slice the pears and add them to the pan too. Continue to stir until the pears have softened a bit.

Sprinkle over the sugar, add some more butter if you feel like it, turn the heat up on high and add 125ml/half a cup of water. Continue stirring regularly until the water has evaporated, and then continue in this fashion, adding water and stirring till it’s gone, until the quince has almost dissolved into a nubbly paste coating the pears and everything is very, very tender and golden.

I ate it with extremely thick natural yoghurt, the type you can basically stand a spoon up in, and a mixture of toasted almonds and pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped and mixed with coconut sugar and sea salt. The textures and temperatures and sweet-salty-buttery-fruity thing going on was sensational, but also extremely, calmingly simple. You can do what you like with this nubbly fruity mixture though – put it under crumble, stir it into whipped cream, fold it into a cake batter, eat it with ice cream, and I suspect it would also work with some kind of pork or alongside sharp goat’s cheese.

If you’re up to your neck in quinces right now I also suggest some other recipes that I’ve blogged about – like quince sorbet, quince brandy, quince glaze and quince loaf cake  (that last post I linked to is from early 2008 which was literally 84 years ago).

And that’s like, it, really. In fact as soon as I hit publish I’m scooting to work again. I will do my very, very best to get into some wacky anecdote-worthy scrapes and capers for you so that the next blog post has more filler material. Au revoir till next time.

title from: Nirvana’s aggressively bucolic song In Bloom.

music lately: 

Gideonby My Morning Jacket. This song is from 2005 but sounds like it could’ve been written in like, 2015, it’s all soaring and dreamy and wonderful, but above all I’m thankful for this band because of the scene in Happy Endings where Alex is like “There’s my My Morning Jacket jacket!”

Santa Feby Beirut. God this song is uplifting from the second it kicks off, it’s just lovely and happy and simple and good.

next time: I made some extremely good polenta with olive oil and roast garlic, I’m also really, really wanting to do some kind of slow cooking with the weather being so freezing. I also promise anecdotes or something. 

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