Autumn Labours

When we were based more permanently in Spain, one of the few occasions that Big Man and I  worked together in the kitchen was for the autumn making of Quince Jelly. Practically everyone round our way over there has a couple of Quince trees and come mid October for about six weeks, we were inundated with offers of bags of Quince.

They’re a funny sort of fruit, looking like over sized pears, smelling sweetly perfumed, tasting sour and dreadful if you bite into a raw one, heavenly after cooking gently with plenty of sugar or honey.


We were walking through Bexhill town centre this morning, where we’re blessed still with small independent traders selling fish, meat, fruit and veg, making curtains, looking after our teeth and eyes and selling us clothes and gifts. Big Man suddenly stopped in his tracks causing a bit of a pile up with me and the two dogs bundling into him, and was sniffing the air like a police tracker dog. “Can you smell that?” he asked excitedly.  Nope…nothing was jumping out at me but I’m recovering from a cold, so hardly surprising.  “Quince, I can smell Quince,  and they must be good if they smell so wonderful”.


We reversed back up the road a few metres and outside the fruit and veg shop the marvellous sight of a small crate of smooth skinned, golden yellow Quince awaited us. Needless to say,  we snapped them all up (just over 4kgs in total) which the lady in the shop was intrigued by as she didn’t know what they were and was curious to know what we were going to do with them.

We eventually got home lugging our 4kgs of Quince,  a 5kg bag of sugar (we didn’t need that much but it was a bargain) two confused dogs and several library books.



Big Man got straight to work chopping and less than two and half hours later we were done, we’ve got it down to a fine art now. We were sustained during our labours by a very large gin and tonic. He’d bought me back a bottle of Gin Mare  (a new one to us) from duty free, flavoured with olive, thyme, rosemary and basil. Absolutely delicious but very strong!


Tomorrow we’re going to take a little tub of our Quince jelly, or dulce de membrillo to the lady in the shop so that she can try it with some cheese. Hopefully she’ll enjoy it as much as we do and if you’d like to give it a go, follow this link for the recipe which can be scaled down easily, or you could make this delicious crumble, or this incredible savoury lamb dish.


29 thoughts on “Autumn Labours

    1. Thanks Mad, the kitchen’s been done about a year now, really should take some photos but it’s always a bit messy! Big Man and I are all about a united Spain 😀 Think I need to ask when they’re getting more Quince so that I can make the Ottolenghi lamb dish again.

    1. Unless you’re prepared to peel, boil, blend, then add sugar and blend again it’s always going to be a little bit gritty. However, boil very gently at the start the gradually bring the heat up so that the Quince are falling apart by the time you blend them is our approach. I use a stick blender and this year it’s turned out pretty smooth 😀

  1. Well, I know what quinces look like and that is about all. Now my curiosity is truly awakened and am thrilled for your achievement of turning 4Kg of the fruit into all ‘THAT’! Best of all for selfish me, the recipe for that lamb dish is going right on top of my recipe pile . . . looks delicious even without any quince aroma in the background . . .

  2. We remember it well we used to get samples from you when we lived there. The G & T also sounds rather good, lol. XXX

  3. What a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. The Mr and I don’t often get to cook together, but it’s so wonderful when we do. Especially with a large gin to keep us company!

  4. Good team work!
    The idea of a g &t to keep you going is a good one. I haven’t come across that gin but will look out for it. The Management has just bought a bottle of Bewdley gin – yes honestly! The brewery had a problem with their machinery and couldn’t finish a brew so sent it to be made into gin. It has come back 45% proof! Not tested yet 😉

  5. “SCORE!” Right there Ms Chica. Still waiting for my little quince tree to flower, let alone fruit but I see membrillo futures 🙂

  6. My dad loves quince jelly / jam. I have just hit a complete blank as to what else he loves doing with them! Must be the thought of one of your lovely strong gins. 😀 I think he cooks them like stewed fruit, yes, that’s it. Have a beautiful and happy week friend.
    🙂 Mandy xoxo

  7. I know what you mean about the sweet aroma from quince. When we had our orchard, we had one quince tree and if I picked a few for a bowl in the kitchen it perfumed the whole room.

  8. Wow, I really admire those who have the energy and dedication to engage in this kind of “industrial” food preparation! I remember back in Rome we had a pomegranate tree that gave what seemed like hundreds of pomegranates each year. We might have used one or two a season… gave away the rest to a neighbor to make preserves, if you can believe that. She probably made a fortune!

  9. Quince looks lovely but the GIN!! I am going to look for a bottle on my next travels – Oh how I long to travel again – wish I travelling to have lunch with you though – I think so fondly of our rather tipsy day with Mad. Miss you. c

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