Christine McFadden Cookery and Food Writing
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Christine McFadden with students
Alternative Pancakes
A Taste of Rabbit
Beyond Carrot Cake
Bountiful Blackberries
Celebrating Celery
Cherries are the Only Fruit
Chuck, Flank and Shank
Cooking With
What You’ve Got
Cool Curries
Delectable Duck
Do I Dare to Eat a Peach?
Drupe Fruit
Excellent Eggs
Feel the Fear and
Cook it Anyway
Give Swede a Chance
Glorious Globes
Glorious Greens
Golden Orbs
Heavenly Herbs
King Cauliflower
Lovely Lovage
Meat of Kings
More Than Marmalade
Of Cabbages and Kings
Partridges and Pears
Pumpkins and Winter Squash
Remarkable Medlars
Roasting Chestnuts
Rhubarb Renaissance
Ruffian Roots: Celeriac
Sensational Sea Buckthorn
Sicilian Utopia
Strawberry Fare
The Not-So-Humble Parsnip
Time for Pie
Time to Talk About Eggs
Watercress – a culinary hero
We Won't Go Until
We Get Some
Quince recipes Christine McFadden Southwest

Christine's blog

This is the place to enjoy Christine's food-related musings – from seasonal food and food producers to cooking tools, food markets and gastro-travel. You'll also find some must-try recipes and invaluable tips and techniques.

Golden Orbs

There is something magical about quinces – the way they hang in a tree like golden orbs long after the leaves have fallen, and the way a bowl of them can perfume a room with the most exquisite fragrance redolent of Turkish Delight and guavas.

That said, the quince is a somewhat austere and forbidding fruit. The skin is covered with mouse-coloured fluff – though this often rubs off during transportation and handling – and the ivory-coloured flesh is hard and grainy, turns brown the minute it is exposed to the air and is so astringent that it cannot be eaten raw.

Preparation is a bit of a chore but, once cooked, quinces are sublime. A plus point is that the peelings and rock-hard cores aren't wasted. They can be turned into a sparkling rosy syrup that makes a delicious glaze for fruit tarts, or a sauce to trickle over ices and chilled desserts.

If you have not eaten quince before, a good way to get acquainted with them is to slice one into segments and add to an apple or pear compôte. If you like the flavour you can then experiment with dishes made entirely of quince, such as Quince Compôte, Spiced Roast Quince with Honey and Clotted Cream or Japonica Jelly. My all-time quince favourite is the divinely pretty Quince and Ginger Sorbet studded with zesty nuggets of stem ginger. Even if the weather is a bit nippy, this is a lovely dessert for an autumnal supper.

If you are lucky enough to have an excess of quinces, it's worth making Membrillo. This gorgeous dense paste is popular in Spain where it is served in thin slices with sheep's cheese and slivers of gherkin. It's easy to make and will keep in the fridge for months.

In season from October though to the winter, quinces have been remarkably prolific this autumn, judging by the generous barrows of windfalls I've received from friends. If you don't have access to a quince tree the best hunting grounds are farm shops, markets and traditional greengrocers. Look for large smooth quinces that smell fragrant – don't buy if they are bruised or have brown patches on the skin. Unripe quinces (with green skins) can be left to ripen at room temperature. Once ripe, store in the fridge or a cool dark place for up to two weeks.


© Christine McFadden, October 2022

    Photography: Christine McFadden    
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