Friday, April 11, 2008

Quinces and pesto

Today I am going to pick the quinces and poach them for the first time ever! Yes, we've lost a few to the dreaded fruit fly (see previous posts), but I have about 8 relatively unscathed quinces to cook today.

Quinces are a strange fruit aren't they? Hard as rocks, fuzzy skin, boring beige when you cut into them and then a beautifiul jewel ruby colour when you cook them. My neighbour picked her quinces a few weeks ago and gave me some quince paste she made. She said it was her first attempt at quince paste. It was quite soft and jelly-like, I think she should have cooked it a little longer so it was a little more solid. Also, she added a heap of sugar, so that is what the paste tasted of. Hmmm...

I've been trawling my cookbooks for directions on poaching quinces. I found a recipe in the current issue of delicious magazine that calls for 1KG of CASTER SUGAR! 1KG, people? This was for 1 kg of quince! Why 1kg of sugar? I know quince needs a little help but not that much!
Fortunately, I found another recipe, far more sensible, that uses 3/4 cup of sugar, so I'll give that a try.

Not sure how I'll serve up the quince once it's cooked. I have quite a few eggs, so I might make some custard.

Over at the vegie patch, work beckons. Corn and tomatoes to rip out, garlic to plant. The weather has been beautiful lately, so hopefully I'll be out there very soon. The seedlings I planted two weeks ago have all survived so far, but haven't done much despite assiduous watering, weeding and fertilising. They are all cold weather crops so hopefully they will get a move on soon.

At the other end of the vegie patch is the basil bush which needs to be cut and turned into pesto. I was in Sydney on Monday and visited my favourite food shop, the Nut Roaster and bought 500g of pine nuts for $12.15. Compare that to 50g of pine nuts for $5.00 as seen at the local Coles this morning. So Sunday looks like it might be a good day for a pesto making session, using our own basil and garlic. I normally co-opt my son, whose favourite dish in the world is spaghetti with pesto, to wash and pick the leaves off the stalks. Some of the pesto I'll keep in the fridge for a month or so. The rest I freeze in 1/2 cup lots to use for pasta throughout winter. True, the colour does suffer, but the flavour is still there, which is enough for my pesto fiend.

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