Sunday, 6 January 2008

Dining on Mince, and Slices of Quince

What is a runcible spoon, anyway? I shall have to look it up. I still don't feel like we've got back to any semblance of normality after Christmas; although the tree and decorations are down, everything is still a bit topsy-turvy. On Friday I went to my friends' wedding - having managed to make, decorate and deliver their cake without wrecking it, I was looking forward to finally having a taste. It was a huge relief to find that, as the first wedding cake I've ever made, not only was it edible, but it was really rather delicious!

The cake had a bottom layer of traditional fruit cake (made to my usual Celebration Fruit Cake recipe) and a top tier of rich chocolate cake (adapted from my recipe for Fabulous Chocolate Brownies). I rented the heart-shaped tins from Cakecraft in Aberystwyth, kneaded colour paste into 2.5kg of RegalIce (ow!) and made the sugar roses according to the instruction given by a speaker/demonstrator at December's WI meeting in the village. I also discovered that writing on the icing plaque could be easily done by dipping the tip of a cocktail stick into a little colour paste diluted with a few drops of water, then using it to write with. This was a case of needs must, when I couldn't find the blue food-colour pen that I thought I had!

It's cold, wet and miserable here, so tonight's dinner was a nice, comforting winter meal. I made a cottage pie by frying minced beef with some chopped bacon and onions, turned it into an ovenproof dish and topped it with potato that had been mashed with a little cheddar cheese. I raked the surface with the tines of a fork, to look like a slighly haphazardly ploughed field, scattered a little more cheese over, then baked it for 20 minutes at 180°c. I like this best served with just a simple vegetable; carrots or peas most often, but tonight I shredded and steamed some winter greens that came in this week organic box . As if that lot wasn't filling enough, I made a crumble for pudding.

Good old apple crumble is made even better by adding one peeled, cored and sliced quince to the filling. I love quinces, as do most people who have (a) discovered them and (b) are lucky enough to be able to get hold of them. A local wholefood shop occasionally has a few for sale and I cleaned out the basket when I spotted them a few weeks ago. They sit in a bowl (usually on the windowsill), giving out their sweet, captivating fragrance until they are perfectly ripe and ready. With 3 left, I can't decide whether to preserve them somehow (jam? jelly? membrillo?), or just bake them with brown sugar and eat with lashings of cream...

1 comment:

Laure (Chardon) Moyle said...

if you want to make a little quince go a long way, try making quince paste. My "mamie" used to make it for us and gave us a couple of squares to eat on the way to school, that was really yummy! nice blog :)


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