Quince charming


We are three weeks away from hosting our first lunch at the Mandagery Creek Farm Kitchen* and the space is looking fantastic. We are painting the walls today and have just picked up our big communal table and chairs. My clever mother-in-law has done a fantastic job resurrecting the garden and if we can keep the rabbits away, it will be looking beautiful by April. One of the trees surrounding the shed is a lovely little quince, which usually produces buckets of fruit. Not this year. This year we picked four. In an effort to eek the very most out of this dismal harvest, I poached them in a basic sugar syrup then made a cake with some of the poached fruit, put the rest on our porridge this morning and made jellies out of the poaching liquid.

* Ps...We have two places left for the lunch on April 15 and thereafter are hosting lunches on the fourth Saturday of each month, please come to one - they are going to be great fun! Please email me for more information.

Poached quinces
This recipe comes straight from Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion.
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 cups hot water
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 cinnamon stick
4 quinces, washed

Peel and core the quinces then cut into wedges. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and heat over medium, stirring. Once the sugar has dissolved, simmer for 3-4 minutes before slipping in the fruit. Cut a piece of baking paper to fit just inside the pan and press it down on the surface of the syrup, cover and poach on a low heat for 3 hours.  

Quince and sour cream cake
This is a fantastic basic cake recipe, substitute the quince with any fruit you like or just keep it nice and plain.
125g soft butter
1 cup caster sugar
zest of one orange
3 eggs
juice of one orange
1 1/4 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
100g sour cream
3/4 cup poached quince wedges, finely sliced  

Preheat oven to 180C and butter a 20cm cake tin. Cream butter, sugar and orange zest together until pale and creamy. Add eggs, one by one, beating well between each addition. Fold through the orange juice, flour and cream then spoon batter into the prepared cake tin. Arrange sliced poached quince on the top of the cake and bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden and the cake’s sides are beginning to pull away from the tin. Cool on a wire rack and then serve with a dollop of the sweet yogurt (recipe below). 

Quince jelly
2 sheets titanium strength gelatin
400ml quince poaching liquid

Soak the gelatin sheets in a shallow dish of cold water for five minutes or until nice and soft. Meanwhile bring half of the quince liquid to the boil in a small saucepan. Remove the gelatin sheets from the cold water, squeeze excess water out and place gelatin in the boiling poaching liquid. Whisk until the gelatine dissolves completely. Then add this mixture to the remaining poaching liquid and stir well. Pour this into one large mould or a mixture of pretty little glasses and place in the fridge for a few hours to set. Serve with a dollop of sweet yogurt (recipe below).

Sweet yogurt
This is a great alternative to cream or ice cream, the basic idea is to use one part condensed milk to three parts natural yogurt and then to flavour if you like with some orange juice, vanilla bean or other flavouring. After a few hours in the fridge it sets into a lovely thick custard and is just delicious with pretty much anything.

1/3 cup condensed milk
1 cup natural (Greek) yogurt
1 tbsp orange juice

Mix everything together and then leave in the fridge for at least two hours.


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