When we moved into our new house just under three years ago we inherited an overgrown tangle of weeds that only remotely resembled a garden. However we were delighted to finally have our own little space where we could get stuck in and relish trying to make it grow and flourish.
In the beginning we did a lot of ripping out of weeds and removing a lot of the neglected plants that had been left to become a labyrinth of fruitless vegetation. We were close to pulling out a particularly thorny bush when our passing neighbour's mother commented that we had a quince tree growing in our garden. The loppers were quickly put back in the shed.
This year we finally yielded enough fruit to gain a relatively bountiful harvest. There was only one recipe I had in mind and that was to make quince paste (membrillo). My favourite thing to eat with cheese, we also serve it in the cafe on toasted germagrain with chorizo and Comté cheese, it's so good.
Makes 12 140ml jars
Approximately 750g granulated sugar
Wash and roughly chop the quince. Do not peel or deseed, these contain natural pectin which will help the paste to set.
Add to a large pot and only just cover with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the quinces are soft and start to break up.
Leave to cool for a couple of hours and then pass through a fine sieve. Weigh the pulp and whatever the weight add the same of sugar.
Add back onto the stove on a low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook on a low heat for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. The paste will eventually become a deep red colour and thicken. Once you can scrape the bottom of the pan and it stays clear for a couple of seconds before coming back together you know it is ready.
You could further cook this in the oven so that the paste is able to be sliced but I like to put mine into little sterilised jars because it is less fuss, spreads easier on my cracker and will keep for up to a year in the cupboard.