Pomegranates and Quinces
We were recently given a great gift (bought from the Cypriot greengrocer) of fat waxy quinces and pomegranates both looking as if they’d tumbled out of a C18 oil painting.
I love pomegranate and added the juicy, ruby-red jewels to a dish of Camargue red rice mixed with flat-leaf parsley and a French dressing.
The quince are such a sensuous fruit I would happily carry one round in my pocket in order to take in the subtle scent of Bramley apples and to stroke the waxy skin. But waste not want not is my 2016 mantra so I converted two of them into Quince Pickle from Diana Henry’s Salt, Sugar and Smoke.
600ml of cider vinegar, 225g of granulated sugar, 6 cloves, 6 juniper berries, 12 black peppercorns, 4 strips of unwaxed lemon rind, 1kg quinces.
Put all ingredients except the quinces in a pan and bring to the boil and simmer till the sugar has dissolved. Peel the quinces and core before cutting into eights. Heat the vinegar again and drop the quince segments in and cook until tender about 30 minutes. Transfer the segments into sterilised jars then boil the vinegar to reduce. Pour over the fruit and include the spices but omit the lemon strips. The pickle will store for a year and can be served with hot and cold meat dishes and terrines.
The other two fruit were stewed in a syrup of sugar, water, cloves and lemon juice for 45 minutes to store in the freezer. They can be added to stewed apples or served chilled with a good vanilla ice-cream.
In despair about finding anything to pick for the house I suddenly spotted a small self-seeded Euphorbia wulfennii with acid green flowers emerging on the tips of the primitive stems. It seemed a bit mean to pick the only flowers but I have several clumps on the allotment so will replace the plant forthwith.