An Abundance of Quinces…

Unfortunately over the last year or so the garden has been very much neglected.  Life seems to get in the way of pleasure, and the weeds have become overwhelming!

 

However, the beautiful old quince tree that I wrote about a bit over three and half years ago, has ignored my neglect and provided us with a bountiful crop this year.

 

I approached with caution, given that in past years codling moth has proved to be a huge problem rendering the majority of the fruit useless! But this year we were surprised to see a much smaller infestation, leaving us with a good quantity of fruit to be put to use.

Anyone who has dealt with quinces in the past, knows that the scrubbing, pealing, coring, and where necessary, removal of the codling moth infestation, can only be called a labour of love! For, surely, anyone who did not like quinces, or goodies made from quinces, would not bother with the task!

This year we have added the following to our larder, Spiced, Pickled Quinces, the obvious – Quince Jelly,

Quince Jelly April 2020-3

Quince Jelly

and, our favourite, Quinces in Orange and Cardamon Syrup, for which I have subsequently misplaced the recipe – oh the frustration! I am sure that it will materialize again, one day and then I can share it with everyone, as it is absolutely delicious and perfect for an Upside Down Orange Cardamon Cake

and even more delicious with my mum’s Baked Custard.

Mum’s Baked Custard is the BEST, never watery and sets so that it can be cut into nice squares for serving, and it is delicious! Whenever I was going home, she would always ask what she could make for me – my response was always “Your baked custard, please!”. I am sure that she knew even before asking… One day, I asked her how she made it?  The answer was so simple!  She simply doubled the amount of eggs required. So now, we, and you, can enjoy this simple light treat that is perfect served simply with poached seasonal fruit, particularly Quinces in Orange and Cardamon Syrup, and if you must, a little double cream on the side!

Served with double cream and Quinces in Orange and Cardamom Syru

Mum’s Baked Custard with Quinces in Orange and Cardamom Syrup and Double Cream!

 

Mum's Baked Custard
Prep Time
10 mins
 

No-one could make baked custard like mum. Whenever I went home she always asked what I would like her to make for me - it got to the stage that she didn't have to ask, it was waiting for me when I arrived!

One day I asked her for the recipe and she simply told me that all she did was to double the amount of eggs.

Category: Dessert
Style: Australian
Keyword: Baked Custard, Custard, Egg Custard
Quantity: 6 servings
Author: sbaskitchen
Ingredients
  • 6 eggs
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 500 ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • grated nutmeg
  • butter to grease the dish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C (160˚C fan-forced).
  2. Lightly grease a deep square ovenproof baking dish with butter.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl.
  4. Add the milk and vanilla bean paste to the egg and sugar mixture, and whisk to combine.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with nutmeg.
  6. Place the dish in a large roasting tin and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish.
  7. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until set.
  8. Allow to cool before serving.
Notes
  • To test - slip a knife into the custard and if it shows a cut when the knife is gently drawn sideward, the custard is cooked.
  • Serve with stewed seasonal fruit.

 

The Spiced, Pickled Quinces recipe is from a National Trust book that I was given when we moved to the country. The book, Good Old-Fashioned Jams, Preserves and Chutneys by Sara Paston-Williams is a wonderful resource for those who love to preserve their excess produce. These quinces are delicious with chèvre and prosciutto on top of crostini, but as she suggests, also pairs well with roast pork, duck, game, terrines, and cheese.

Spiced Pickled Quinces

This pickle is great with pork and duck, ham, pâtes and terrines, as well as cheese. It is amazing with chèvre.

Category: Preserves
Style: English
Keyword: Pickled Quinces, pickles, Quinces, Spiced Quinces
Quantity: 6 250 ml jars
Author: sbaskitchen
Ingredients
  • 8 quinces
  • Cold water to cover
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • coriander seeds
  • cumin seeds
  • sugar
  • white wine or cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Wash the quinces and rub off any fluff from the skins.
  2. Peel and core the quinces, retaining the skins and cores (see note below).
  3. Cut each quince into eight pieces and place them in a pan.
  4. Cover with water and add the salt, then bring to the boil.
  5. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then strain the liquid from the fruit, and retain both the liquid and the fruit.
  6. Return the fruit to the pan.
  7. Measure the cooking liquid into another pan, and for every 600 ml (1 pint), add 450g (1 lb) sugar, 150 ml (1/4 pint) vinegar, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds and 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, both of which have been gently roasted in a frying pan.
  8. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, and then simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Pour the liquor over the quinces and bring to the boil.
  10. Simmer gently for 45 minutes.
  11. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the quince pieces to warm, sterilised jars.
  12. Continue cooking the liquor for a further 10 minutes, until you have a syrup that covers the back of a spoon.
  13. Pour the syrup over the quince pieces and seal the jars.
  14. Allow the pickle to sit for a month before using.
Notes
  • Store in a cool, dark place.
  • Adapted from Spiced Quinces "Good Old-Fashioned Jams, Preserves and Chutneys", 2008, Sara Paston-Williams, National Trust Books, p60.
  • Use the cores and peal to make Quince Jelly.

 

The old quince tree has done us proud this year and is about to head into dormancy for the colder months.  The leaves are turning from green to a beautiful golden hue and then brown, before gently falling to the ground creating a carpet below.  Soon the limbs will be bare, that is until it warms up again, and a burst of new leaves and beautiful flowers herald a new season ahead.

 

Until next time

Bon appétit!

 

Links:

Resources:

  • Good Old Fashioned Jams, Preserves and Chutneys, by Sara Paston-Williams, National Trust Books, 2008 edition.

 

A Beautiful Farewell…

As we all scattered to our respective homes after our beautiful mother had passed, it was time to begin planning the farewell.

We are from a tiny community in Victoria, called Navarre (and yes, I still call Navarre home, so that is how I may refer to it in this post) and funerals are not just where family grieves the loss of a loved one, but it is where the community joins the family to grieve the loss of a friend and valued member of the community. So with that in mind, we knew that there would be a large number of people wanting to come and pay their respects. However, these were not normal times, things were changing fast given the world wide crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we had been restricted to a graveside service with no more than 100 people in attendance. Continue reading

Farewell Duchess – Go chase pigeons in heaven…

In 2009, it was agreed that our son, Christopher could have a Border Collie, so the search began.

It soon became apparent that there would be a wait, so put our name down with two breeders. Unexpectedly, the wait was not so long, one of the breeders had a puppy, in a new litter, that was not traditionally marked, and therefore not quite as desirable to others. We went for a visit and it was decided that we would return in six weeks time to bring our little Duchess home to join our family.

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At the same time we had started a search for a ragdoll cat, surprisingly our new family members arrived at our home within a week or so of each other. The blue ragdoll was named Banjo, after the famous Australian poet, Banjo Patterson.

But this story is about our Duchess. While she was not the prettiest when she was born, it was soon evident that she was growing into a beautiful dog, not only in appearance, but also in nature. Her kennel was placed outside Christopher’s bedroom window, and as soon as she was able, Duchess would spend her time on top of the kennel rather than in it, that way she was able to be nearer to her Christopher! A very strong bond was forming.

Continue reading

Memories of Family, Friends and Food

It has been a little while, but I am still here!

We have finished up for the year and have been concentrating on preparations for the Festive Season.

We have not had a Christmas tree for a couple of years now, so I was determined to have one this year. When I pulled the garlic from the garden and hung it to dry, I decided that it would be central to our decorations, it looked just like a cream coloured Christmas tree! Garlic Tree 3-r

I then chose to purchase a living tree, potted it into a nice green (heavy!) pot, and set it, together with my garlic tree, in our front entrance. They stayed as they were for a week or so.

Trees in place - rThen the day after we closed down for the break, I climbed up the ladder to pull down the decorations, unpacked them, carefully selected the ones that had sentimental value, that had been given to us by family and friends, some that I had made in years gone by, and others that we had collected on our travels. Everything else was packed back up, I went back up the ladder and put them all away.

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This year we will be catching up with various members of our family, but not all, so the next job on hand was to send packages of Christmas Cheer from our home to those that we could not be with. A rush job saw puddings, cakes, preserves and biscuits produced, packaged and despatched. Continue reading

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