I´ve gone right off Medlars….

7 Dec

Ms Chica Andaluza, Somewhere Up a Mountain in Andalucia

Dear Ms Andaluza

We understand that you have recently made Quince Jelly, something which the readers of Mediaevel Medlar Monthly would be most interested in reading about in more detail.  A reporter will contact you shortly to arrange details of the interview.

Yours most sincerely

Ye Olde Editore, Mediaeval Medlar Monthly

Reporter: So Ms Andaluza

Chica Andaluza: Oh please, do call me Chica

R: OK, Chica it is.  The Medlar is not a widely known fruit, what do you know about it?

CA: Well, I suggest your readers check out this excellent post by Mad Dog, which gives some fantastic information about this fruit which was traditionally used to make fruit jellies and cheeses.

R:  How did you manage to get hold of your medlars then?

CA: I have a lovely friend, Florence, who let me pick a whopping 8kgs of fruit from her tree for my first journey into medlar jelly making.

R: Tell us a little more about it then

CA: Well, the fruit has to be “bletted” or almost left to rot before it´s edible.  This is the fruit when we picked it.

And this is the fruit about 2 weeks later.

R: Talk me through the process of making the jelly then

CA:  I used about 5kgs of the fruit which was “rotten” enough, and washed it to remove dust and leaves.  It tastes, as a fruit, of something like prunes and plums…a sweet, pleasant, earthy taste.

Then I added just enough water to cover the fruit and cooked it until it was mushy.

R: How did you know how much water to add?

CA: I searched the internet for recipes, which were all a little vague.  In retrospect, I should probably have used more water.

The reporter notes at this point that the subject of the interview is beginning to tremble slightly and mutter under her breath.

R: Once they were “mushy”, what did you do?

CA: The fruit has to be strained through jelly bags to extract the liquid which is then boiled with about two thirds of its weight in sugar until it reaches setting point.

The interviewee is beginning now to behave like Chief Inspector Dreyfus in the Pink Panther films – shaking and twitching uncontrollably when the word Medlar (rather than Clouseau) is used.  A glass of wine calms the situation down a little.

R: Is there any special kitchen equipment needed for making this jelly?

CA: I´d recommend a step ladder

R: How so?

CA: Well, you need a large jug to put the jelly strainer over.  I went to get one out of my “despensa” and could not be bothered to get the step ladder, and tried to hook it down with a metal skewer. This resulted in a large wooden tray crashing onto my face and giving me a black eye.

Almost a week later and it still hurts!

R: Oh dear, any other experience you´d like to share with our readers…

CA:  Well, it took me almost 48 hours to strain the juice from the pulp.

R: That must have been a lot of juice

CA: Not really, about half a litre

R: Oh…

CA: And then I had to boil the syrup to hell and back to get it anywhere near setting point, so most of it evaporated

R: Oh…how many jars did you make in the end

CA: Not quite 2. I had envisioned inviting Roger over to take photos of my extensive stock of Amber hued jelly, but I don´t think I´ll bother now.

R: Will you be doing this again then?

At this point the interview was terminated as the interviewee collapsed into a hysterical heap clutching her eye and a large bottle of wine muttering “never again, never again”.

Ms Chica Andaluza, Somewhere Up a Mountain in Andalucia

Dear Ms Andaluza

Thank you very much for giving so generously of your time recently, particularly in your most delicate state of health.  Whilst we wish you a speedy recovery, we do not feel that the tone of the interview will convey the message of the true beauty, flavour and versatility of the Medlar fruit and will not be publishing your interview.

Yours most sincerely

Ye Olde Editore, Mediaeval Medlar Monthly

Advertisement recently seen in Mediaeval Medlar Monthly

FOR SALE: Almost two jars of unset medlar jelly, offers over £500 per jar or will exchange for a small house or sports car. Serious buyers only please.

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54 Responses to “I´ve gone right off Medlars….”

  1. Mad Dog December 7, 2011 at 13:08 #

    OMG – I hope your eye’s feeling better – very funny post nevertheless 😉
    Thanks for the link too!

    • Chica Andaluza December 7, 2011 at 13:56 #

      I´m on the mend – it could have been so much worse! Glad I made you chuckle 🙂

  2. chaiselongue1 December 7, 2011 at 13:14 #

    Oh dear! Never again? It looks like liquid gold….I hope it tastes good and your eye is better soon after frequent doses from that wine bottle.

    • Chica Andaluza December 7, 2011 at 13:57 #

      It does look pretty – but so much work for so little reward! Never again…please remind me of that if I decide to attempt this again next year 😉

  3. fati's recipes December 7, 2011 at 13:25 #

    I’m trying to not laugh very hard here.. Just so the house doesn’t all wake up!
    You poor thing, really, step ladder next time, yeah? (As if there’ll be a next time, that is!)

    • Chica Andaluza December 7, 2011 at 13:57 #

      No next time…ever! Will stick to quince 🙂 I can laugh now, but it was not a very fun experience!!

  4. Florence December 7, 2011 at 14:26 #

    Oh T! You make me laugh. Such a funny post. There will be plenty of fruit next year to have another go! ha ha!
    Regards Florence x

  5. ChgoJohn December 7, 2011 at 14:27 #

    Great post, Tanya! Such a high price to pay for 2 jars of jam. Your perseverance is commendable. I would have given up after the black eye, no doubt about it.

    • Chica Andaluza December 7, 2011 at 15:01 #

      A high price indeed…I am now chuckling through the bruises 😉

  6. JamieAnne December 7, 2011 at 14:32 #

    Your poor eye! I’d have done something similar. Not too long ago I got smacked in the head with a roasting pan. Hurt like the dickens!

    Loved the post! Very cute!

    • Chica Andaluza December 7, 2011 at 15:02 #

      Cooking can be dangerous – not enough Government Health Warnings about it!!

  7. Bluejellybeans December 7, 2011 at 14:42 #

    Jajaja. Qué gracioso! Me ha encantado este post (como siempre). La entrevista no era de verdad, no? Siento mucho lo de tu ojo… Cuídate!
    Ye older Giovanna 😉

    • Chica Andaluza December 7, 2011 at 15:02 #

      Gracias Giovanna! No, la entrevista no era de verdad, solo la experiencia 🙂

  8. bitsandbreadcrumbs December 7, 2011 at 16:26 #

    Funny and clever…really enjoyed this post, but so sorry about your poor eye!

    • Chica Andaluza December 7, 2011 at 18:10 #

      Thanks B&B! I think I had more fun writing the post than making the jelly. And I am making sure to get maximum sympathy for my “industrial injury” 😉

  9. spicegirlfla December 7, 2011 at 16:50 #

    Tanya, you poor thing, that looks painful! You do take your food seriously, from climbing mountains for mushrooms to this!

    • Chica Andaluza December 7, 2011 at 18:11 #

      It does look like I´ve taken a few risks the last week or so. Am going to stick to Christmas baking for a while now!

  10. thecompletecookbook December 7, 2011 at 17:24 #

    Oh no, you poor dear – hope you eye starts feeling better soon!
    So these people can’t handle the truth about your jelly hey! To funny Tanya.
    🙂 Mandy

    • Chica Andaluza December 7, 2011 at 18:12 #

      I´m chuckling now as the wine (and arnica cream) are doing the trick! I guess you win some and you lose some 😉

  11. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide December 7, 2011 at 19:10 #

    I can just see you blinking and cutting off your thumb with a cigar cutter or better yet in a strait jacket yelling Clousseau repeatedly.

  12. Food,Photography & France December 7, 2011 at 19:14 #

    I think the ideal picture would have to be a vengeful one. A jar of medlar jelly in mid flight, as it fell from the wooden tray’s hiding place, hurtling towards the flagstones below. From the look of it you’ll only get two “goes” at this shot!

    • Chica Andaluza December 7, 2011 at 19:18 #

      You´re so right Roger, I am smiling as I picture it. But knowing my luck I´d get broken glass embedded in my head!

  13. ceciliag December 8, 2011 at 01:03 #

    You are BRILLIANT, I laughed out loud, I loved this piece, and poor darling with a black eye, pass us the bottle love..Did you try holding the cold wine bottle to your poor wee bruised face then lovey, oh .. this one is empty.. best we open another one dearie..c

    • Chica Andaluza December 8, 2011 at 09:20 #

      I didn´t think of holding the cold wine bottle to my face..but by then I had numbed the pain by drinking it! Glad it made you laugh 🙂

  14. Tandy December 8, 2011 at 09:20 #

    well written post and owee for the eye! Did you take arnica?

    • Chica Andaluza December 8, 2011 at 09:33 #

      Thanks Tandy! And yes, I´m a big fan of arnica…I used the cream (always have plenty of tubes here as I am always having accidents!) and it´s so good for sorting things like this out.

  15. TBM December 8, 2011 at 12:41 #

    LOL…not laughing about the eye though. Ouch! What’s arnica? I haven’t heard of that one.

    • Chica Andaluza December 8, 2011 at 14:34 #

      Glad you´re laughing! Eye is getting better now…arnica is a homeopathic remedy (cream or little tablets) which is brilliant for bumps and bruises. Go to Boots and get yourself some to keep in the house – it always comes in handy in mine as we are both so accident prone 🙂

      • TBM December 8, 2011 at 16:30 #

        Good to know. There is a Boots right down the street. I’ll have to stock up. I am also accident prone. Thanks for the tip.

  16. Caroline December 9, 2011 at 00:09 #

    Oh nooo I hope your eye feels better soon! That sounds so painful. But the jelly looks/sounds pretty darn delicious. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza December 9, 2011 at 09:01 #

      It´s on the mend – a bit dark now but it´s getting me loads of sympathy!

  17. niasunset December 9, 2011 at 13:47 #

    Dear Chica, Thank you for visiting my blog. Everyday I become much more rich with your contributions… I am so glad to meet with you too. But I am so sad to hear your experience, I hope it is better now. This is an amazing post I have ever read. It was so enjoyable and so creative. I have never tasted and done this jam. Yes we have this fruit but I don’t know very well. Seems so nice… Andalucia should be amazing place, I haven’t been but I heard. Thank you so much, Have a nice and enjoyable weekend, with my love, nia

    • Chica Andaluza December 9, 2011 at 15:47 #

      Hi Nia and thank you so much for coming over and commenting, it´s lovely to have you here! Andalucia is am amazing region – so unlike a lot of the rest of Spain (which is also incredible). Lots of Arab culture, many different historical influences and I live in a part which is still relatively unspoilt. Take care, Tanya

  18. Karen December 9, 2011 at 15:07 #

    Yes…a step ladder next time you reach for something high. Happy that it wasn’t worse. That is probably the funniest piece that you have written. So clever!

    • Chica Andaluza December 9, 2011 at 15:41 #

      Thanks Karen – every kitchen needs a step ladder! Almost recovered now…just a bit of bruised pride and a purple bruise under my eye 🙂

  19. gardenfreshtomatoes December 9, 2011 at 18:59 #

    Great post, Tanya…too funny!
    (Not the part about your eye, naturally…)

    • Chica Andaluza December 9, 2011 at 19:25 #

      I´m happy that you laughed…even the eye was funny now that I look back on it 🙂

  20. foodblogandthedog December 10, 2011 at 18:55 #

    Never hears of Medlars and I’m glad, they sound like a complete nightmare and worth avoiding if the state of your eye is anything to go by, jeez!!

    • Chica Andaluza December 11, 2011 at 10:58 #

      They actually taste really nice, but next time I think I´ll just stick to eating them as is 🙂

  21. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise December 11, 2011 at 19:34 #

    I hope you are all better now Tanya
    brilliant post by the way! you are a talented writer

    • Chica Andaluza December 11, 2011 at 23:05 #

      Thans Sawsan. Just a slight bruise left now which looks as though I put eyeshadow on when I was drunk 😉

  22. Evie December 14, 2011 at 15:43 #

    I’m not laughing…really…not even a snigger! Glad to hear you’re on the mend. Perhaps you’ll not meddle with medlars again. Keep taking the medicine!

    • Chica Andaluza December 14, 2011 at 16:02 #

      I can hear your chuckling – but I am now at the point where I can join in! Actually, I still have a slight bruise, delicate little flower that I am 😉 Definitely no more meddling with medlars for me…and do remind me of this when I am tempted again next year!

  23. London Eats December 18, 2011 at 00:07 #

    Injury aside (eek!) that’s a great post. You’ve also caused me to re-think my garden when I move. I was toying with the idea of a medlar tree, but maybe I will consider something that is a bit easier to use.

    • Chica Andaluza December 18, 2011 at 05:28 #

      Thanks London! I didn´t have the best of luck but maybe you´d do better 🙂 Given the choice though, I think I´d go for a quince tree over a medlar!

  24. Michi December 22, 2011 at 13:41 #

    Oh my, that is one large black eye, for the love of cooking!! My sister-in-law has been trying to teach me how to make her bell pepper and tomato jelly, but in the end she’s probably going to have to demonstrate because her verbal explanations have my head spinning in circles. Ah, but at least I’m a good student! I admire all of the wonderful cooks in my Spanish vida that I have to help me learn along the way!

    • Chica Andaluza December 22, 2011 at 14:55 #

      Can you believe, I still have the traces of the bruise?! Thank god for makeup 🙂 I find it easier to watch someone show me how to make a dish and I take little notes then recreate it. I learned a lot from my Spanish sisters in law too this way. Do pass on the recipe once you´ve worked it out (please)!

  25. abdunnavi March 11, 2015 at 16:17 #

    what the food chica?

  26. salima aqiqah December 17, 2015 at 05:18 #

    I think you need to be careful again mistress
    thankful it was not until contacted direct eye #GodBless

  27. narf7 May 23, 2016 at 20:06 #

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! This post just made my day! I love it so much I am going to pin it and save it so that I can read it whenever I like and laugh. Those medlars look like a version of the apples that have slowly been decomposing in my fruit bowl. I reckon my apples might just be ready to turn into jelly by this assumption. I keep my big stock pots on the ground as after my food processor tried to scramble my brains from on high (unsuccessfully, you have to “have” brains to scramble in the first place “FOILED you dastardly beast!”) I hastily shuffled them to where they can only block the pantry door from closing and whereby I can stub my toe on them when I am foolish enough to reach into the back of the pantry without paying attention to where my foolish feet are going. Annoying but not life threatening. I was going to hunt down a medlar. I hear they do well here in Tassie but after reading this I will stick to my rotting apples in my fruit bowl. Can’t be much different and MUCH easier to achieve 😉

    • Chica Andaluza May 23, 2016 at 22:12 #

      Glad it made you smile! Glad too to know I am not alone in the clumsy stakes. Please, please don’t plant a medlar. Dangerous beasties ☺

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