I spent last weekend in Melbourne with my friend of many decades - Marisa, blogger, and author of Sicilian Seafood Cooking. She cooked, as usual, some wonderful food for me - including artichokes, chickpea and chicory soup, and poached quinces. This post is in honour of you, Marisa, and your marvellous book.
The quince is one of the oldest fruits enjoyed by humans. Some say it, not the apple, is the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. To many, it is a mystery. To most, it is a bit intimidating. How does one deal with it? It is hard, inelegant, and inedible when raw, but when cooked becomes a gorgeous, delicately pink, fragrant experience. It is delicious simply baked or poached with sugar, but if you really want to gild this lily (and why not?) there are many compatible flavours, including citrus, and the sweet spices such as cinnamon.
A sixteenth century recipe shows you how to make a ‘blaunch’ (white) sweet spice mix to use with roasted quinces – which I am sure would be equally good with the poached fruit.
To make fine Blaunch powder for rosted Quinces.
Take fyne Suger halfe a pound beaten in a whote Morter too fyne powder, of whyte Ginger pared halfe an ounce, of chosen Sinamon a quarter of an ounce beaten to fyne powder, mixt them well together, and yf you wyl have it moste excellent caste two Spoonful of Rose of Damask water in the beatyng of the Suger.
The Treasurie of Commodious conceits, and hidden secrets, (1573) by John Partridge.
Quotation for the Day.
There is greater relish for the earliest fruit of the season.
Marcus Valerius Martialis (38-103 A.D.)