quince upon a time…

Once upon a time, in a land far away  [Elsternwick; 2011] I was given a bag of strange fruit, from the tree of someone’s strange Aunt.

I had been eating quince paste with my cheeses for years. In fact Maggie Beer, and her fruity friends, were regular guests at our family dinners since the turn of the century. However, I had never, in my adult years, laid my eyes upon a quince!

I say my ‘adult years’ because there were many unusual foods that surrounded me as a child. Coming from an Italian background, feasts were often adorned with weird & wonderful fruits and vegetables from somebody’s neighbours garden. With that, I am certain I came across a quince in my former years…If I did, however,  I had buried it way down in my memory. Buried somewhere deep below Fruit Loops, CheetosCheese&Bacon Balls and orange flavoured Hubba-Bubba. The foods, it seems, I had preferred to remember.

So, I had this bag of quinces. Furry, yellow, odd-shaped balls that smelled like rotten apples. After trying and failing to off-load these stinky little treasures onto [anybody else] …and tired of seeing them in my way-too-small-fridge, in my way-too-small-kitchen…I had no choice but to make the paste, with haste.

I set aside a whole day. I bought myself a ‘simmer mat’ (this was serious business) !

I toiled and bubbled and boiled away in my tiny kitchen an entire Friday afternoon. I watched those ugly yellow, furry blobs slowly transform into a delicious deep red, shiny paste. I distributed said paste amongst family and friends with pride. It was an unprecedented achievement!

My husband and I  had a tub of my quince paste in the fridge for almost a year. We would bring it out every now and then with a bottle of red and stinky blue, and we would coo and cluck about how wonderful it is, and how I should make some more. We’d spread it on our bread and crackers like it was foie gras. Deep down inside both knowing the odds of me having another crack were slim, we wanted to savour our treat.

Last week it ran out.

mission: to make quince paste

The very next day while shopping at my local organic supermarket: as well as discovering the delicious voice of Ray Lamontagne seeping through the barista’s iPod dock- I stumbled upon a pile of those furry yellow critters. Aha! I was fresh off posting my first blog entry and decided, then and there, that it was time. Quince paste time.

What do you know, those little babies have sat in my fruit bowl for almost a week now.

I returned home from the supermarket to research Ray Lamontagne, and purchase his album.. (as soon as I had removed the quinces from their brown paper bag and placed them artistically in my rustic fruit bowl) …His voice is sweet, soulful and just what I was looking for that day…

Meanwhile, quinces, they are getting soft. I am getting soft. What’s wrong with me? Just make the damn stuff!


I am making Quince Paste.