On my meanderings around the Hampshire countryside I have noticed some older properties still have small orchards in their grounds.
Some people put their fruit out for passers-by to purchase and if you’re lucky you may be able to pick up some quince. From October until early December is the season for English quince.
They look like a cross between an apple and a pear but its hue is golden yellow.
I can remember the first time I came across this wonderful fruit and having not used it before had to do a little research.
Every book I read suggested it should not be eaten raw.
So, being inquisitive, I sliced one up and had a taste.
The bitterness seemed to take out all the moisture in my mouth and made me suck in my cheeks. I can now confirm that it is better cooked.
If left in a bowl in your kitchen the perfume of this fruit will embrace you as you enter the room, an aroma of rose petals and honey.
Quince is a hardy fruit and even peeling it seems a challenge. Poaching in syrup can take up to half-an-hour and preserving longer, but you will be rewarded with the scent as it cooks. Some sugar and a little white wine helps soften the bitterness and bring out the floral flavours.
I have added onion and wine in this quince paste recipe which you will be able to serve with cold meats, game, pork or cheese.
n To find out more about Lawrence’s restaurant Fat Olives, visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377 914.
400g caster sugar
2 onions finely chopped
150 ml dry white wine
Half teaspoon sea salt
1 Peel, quarter and core the quince. Do not worry when the fruit starts to go brown as this will cook out.
2 Chop the fruit into 1cm pieces and place in a large pan.
3 Add the rest of the ingredients.
4 Place on a medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer.
5 Simmer gently for 45 minutes or until the fruit is soft and almost all the liquid has disappeared. The quince will also change from yellow to orange.
6 Place the mixture into a food processor and pulse until smooth.
7 Spoon into sterilised kilner jars and allow to to cool.
8. The quince paste will keep for up to six months if stored correctly.