This morning I woke up to discover that I had a young daughter with the sniffles and a temperature. Checking the radar I discovered that there was a whole lot of rain also headed my way. Blast! Looks like I wasn't going anywhere soon.
Thankfully there was all those quinces just lying around the kitchen counter. I had sugar in the cupboard, and a whole day to fill in. Quince paste it was!
I've always been a bit trepidations about making quince paste. For some reason, preserve making in general fills my soul with terror. Maybe it's from studying years of microbiology at uni, but I always have a fear that something won't get sterilised properly, and I won't realise until I have proudly offered one of my nearest and dearest a taste of my home-made jam, only to watch them drop dead in front of me. However, I decided to gamble on making successful quince paste. After all, the thing is so jam packed (ha!) with sugar that even I couldn't muck it up, and no nasties would be able to live on it if they tried, sugar being such an excellent antibacterial.
So I said "Jorthy! Get thyself into the kitchen, and get cooking, you big old scaredy cat!", and I did. And now I am kicking back triumphantly, revelling in my quince paste-scented kitchen, waiting for the pots to cool down so I can gobble it with an oat biscuit and some stinky blue cheese.
Tyger is also lurking about, wondering when she can snaffle some, which makes me think that somebody will definitely be fine for school tomorrow.
1.4kg quinces (about 4), peeled, cored and roughly cubed
1 - Combine the quinces and water in a medium-sized saucepan, and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer, and simmer covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2 - Allow to cool, and then blend the water and quinces together until smooth (I used a stick blender, so I didn't have to wait aaaaaages for it to cool down). Then add the sugar to the quince puree, and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
3 - Turn the heat down to low, and cook very gently for 2 hours, stirring regularly to make sure the mixture doesn't stick and burn to the bottom of your pan. Watch out - the thing will begin to burp and splash out after the first hour. Cook until the mixture is very thick, and has turned a deep reddish colour.
4 - Take off the heat, and transfer into little pots or containers. Allow to cool, then cover with gladwrap and keep in the fridge until required. When serving, bring back to room temperature, and serve with a dry biscuit and some really nice blue cheese.
Make 4 small pots worth.