Friday, 12 October 2018

My Kitchen in October






Designed for practicality, not looks.   I like to have my most frequently used kitchen tools handy!

My excitement over my potential quince harvest was somewhat tempered by the surprising contempt in which these golden globes are held by so many people.

We planted two quince trees last year, one lost all the fruit very early on, the other one has gone on to produce three dozen beautiful fruits.


I had hoped that they would have a few more days of sunshine to help ripen them, but the weather has other ideas, about a quarter of my crop has fallen, due to the high winds.    Four more fell while I was typing these few lines, so I have been out and picked the lot, rather than risk having them all bruised.  I have thirty-two of them left, some are huge, others quite small. 



People complain that they are rock hard and difficult to peel and cut, but I found them surprisingly easy to prepare for cooking, so far so good!   I put two of the smaller ones into an apple crumble, grated, and then mixed in with the apple.     Wonderful.   The fruit took on a pretty pink colour and the flavour was greatly enhanced.   Success!

There are lots of recipes I intend to try out, but next I wanted to try out a savoury dish, stuffed quince.   It was simply quince cored and cut in half, then baked for twenty minutes.     Make some patties out of finely chopped onion, mince, spices/herbs/seasonings to your taste.   Put one on each quince half, then bake for another 25 minutes.     I made a fresh tomato sauce to go with it, but gravy would do, then served it with brown rice and buttered kale.

I would normally insert a photograph, but my phone is refusing to let me share any pictures at the moment..

It was delicious - and no, I didn't use real mince, I used a vegetarian substitute, because that is my choice.   Meat eaters could use lamb, beef, goat, camel, whatever animal you fancy!

So far, so good.   They are delicious, sweet or savoury.   Each and every one will be used in the kitchen.

Fresh bread for Friday, crusty, chewy and delicious.  A quick and easy no-knead loaf fresh out of the oven.

Yet another photograph which I can't share, even though it let me send it to instagram.   Hey ho!

There are gremlins at work.

Ha, I have found a way round it - here is a cropped screen shot from IG.



The new cooker is working well, so is the double ended wood burner stove at the other end of the kitchen.     It has been a mild autumn so far, so we haven't had to have the heating on, but I must admit that just every once in a while I have found myself backing up towards the cooker, to warm my back (!)  in the way that I used to do for the Rayburn - only to realise that it is no longer there.

Old habits die hard.

Tomorrow I plan to bake a quince cake.    I also need to help my grandchildren to make a large salt dough sheaf of corn, they have to decorate a church windowsill for harvest festival.     That should be quite fun.     I have gathered some bits and pieces which may help them, some hessian, a couple of baskets, some lovely long leek seed heads (to give height to their display) a couple of home grown pumpkins for colour, the wheat sheaf we can make, plus anything else they think may do the job nicely, the church mice could be enjoying themselves for a night or two!

Much of my time is still being spent on making the fairies, why oh why didn't I just make a few each month throughout the year?   

I love it really, personal dresser to fairies, what is not to like?

The cats love it, especially old Sparky.   She steals any glittery trims or ribbons she can get a hold of and the wooden balls which I use for heads are whisked away for a great game of football.   Toby watches with amazement as she whizzes them all around the conservatory floor, he glances at me, then back at her and presumably wonders how she can get away with it.

I need to head off to try to sort out my mobile phone problems.    Enjoy your weekend.

22 comments:

  1. Never tied Quince though my neighbour seemed to know about them when he was alive. I'm glad yo are so good at cooking to expriment like that

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    1. Hello Bill, Unfortunately they are not easy to find in the shops, but if you ever get your hands on some quince then rest assured, they are delicious and can be used in lots of different dishes.

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  2. People don't seem to want anything that means a bit of work...I'd love quinces, but make do with Japonica fruit...even harder work!

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    1. The quince project has been a success so far, gz. I am having to rein in my enthusiasm, there are so many recipes I want to try out, but I also want to test the keeping/ripening qualities of them. Japonica fruit, something else I haven't tried.

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  3. You sound especially delicious today, dear faierie dresser. Your grands will produce a wonderful display.

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    1. They will definitely have fun along the way, Joanne! Their mother isn't daft, she knows that I love little projects like that - probably more so than the grandchildren, though I want it to be their work, not mine.

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  4. I always enjoy quinces when I can get them. The apple and quince crumble sounds delicious. As you say they go such a lovely colour.

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    1. It is a magical transformation and very pretty. I have spent many years hoping to find some quince, in the end we decided to grow our own, and I am so glad that we did, Susan. The blossom was beautiful, the fruit very handsome hanging on the tree and now I have the pleasure of trying out all these new recipes!

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  5. Do you have a recipe for your easy no-knead bread? I am missing French bread!

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    1. It is one I found on the internet: 390g bread flour, 1g dried yeast (quarter tsp) one and a half tsp sugar, one tsp salt, 354ml fairly warm water. Mix all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon, it will be wet and sticky. Leave the whole gloopy mess, covered, for about 3 hours. Scrape it out of the bowl onto a well floured board, gather it into a ball and then 'fold' it 10/12 times - it can be done! Put it onto some baking parchment, cover and wait another half an hour. Meanwhile, get a cast iron casserole dish, with lid, and put it into your oven, heat to 450/240 degrees. When the bread is ready (it will simply look like a disgusting blob nestling in the paper) put it into the heated casserole, put the lid back on, and bake for 30 minutes. Take the lid off and then bake uncovered for another 15 minutes. Please note: good oven gloves are essential for this one! Leave it at least 15 minutes before slicing. The bread is crusty, chewy, and full of holes. (normal no-knead bread recipes call for the dough to be left for much longer, this works, but doesn't quite have the same flavour, still good though.)

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  6. J have a quince tree in my garden. Used to make quince jelly but it's too much effort to collect the fruit now. Birds seem to like the fruit, though.

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    1. That is a shame, not for the birds, though! Quince jelly is way down on my list, there are lots of other things I would rather use them for.

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  7. I have never had the opportunity to try quince, maybe one day...

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    1. I would gladly send you a couple, but apparently they bruise easily, which is why I ended up picking them before they were fully ripened. I hope you have the opportunity to try them sometime.

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  8. Love it when you can cook and bake with the harvest from your garden or hedgerows. We used to have a sloe tree and it was a delight to pick them with the kids and have some fun. Enjoy your crafting with the children xcx

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    1. We had a lovely time, thanks, Chrissie. What did you make with your sloes - sloe gin, or something else? During the summer months I tend to cook around whatever is available from the garden - which makes for some interesting meals sometimes!!

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  9. Me'thinks a kitchen can be practical and beautiful! As yours most certainly is!
    Love the new cooker, even though it doesn't warm you. It's still an Aga, yes? Which are simply lovely, in themselves.

    Ohhhhh, all your food sounds wonderful!!! Happy, happy sigh... Yummmmmm.... Your kitchen must smell wonderful, these days! Perfect for the first really cool days.

    Sounds like a great project, with the "Grands"! They are making such wonderful memories, with you!!!! What a legacy you will leave behind, in your grandchildren's memories. A long, long, long time from now, of course!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ✨��✨��✨��✨

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    1. The cooker was made by Aga Rayburn, so yes, in that sense it is - the ovens are electric and the hob is LPG gas. The old Rayburn used to emanate heat whether we cooked, or not. This cooker only heats when we turn the oven on. The cats haven't quite cottoned on to that fact yet - the chair they claim as their own used to be the cosiest place in the house, no doubt they will soon switch their allegiance to the log burner, or a radiator.

      One thing for sure, my grandchildren will always remember their school morning breakfasts at this house, and their after school teas. We have a lot of fun and games around the table, memory games usually.

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  10. We still have had no drop-offs of quinces so I might be safe this year though I was prepared to do some quince cooking after reading your recent blogs. I find them very tough to peel and cut but also I don't like the grainy texture. Quince paste is my favourite quince recipe but it is a bit like chutney. Because it is not something greek I often forget to put it on the table. - or plate.

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    1. I wonder whether we have a different variety - they are reasonably easy to peel, a little tough to remove the core and they brown very quickly, but no grainy texture. I absolutely love them as a seasonal ingredient. I am having fun - latest offering was a ginger, pecan/walnut and quince cake, it is very good. Not sure whether I should hope that you soon receive some or not!!

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  11. I fear modern diets have been reduced in variety...I know we get foods from around the world, but variety has all but vanished...especially our home grown all for conformity and size rubbish. x

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    1. Sad, but true. Luckily, I like wonky vegetables and assorted sizes - just as well, given the ones we grow here. ;)

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Lovely to hear from you!