• So, to make membrillo first wash, peel and core your quinces – then put them in a pan covered with water, bring to the boil and then simmer gently until tender (about an hour).
  • Drain the fruit and puree it in a blender.
  • Add the puree with an equal volume of sugar and cook gently until all the sugar is dissolved and the puree thickens (another hour).
  • Line a deep baking tray or suitable container with lightly oiled greaseproof paper and spread the paste in an even layer at least 5cm (2”) deep.
  • Place in a low oven 120C/250F for another hour until colour deepens. Remove and leave to cool. Cover and store in fridge. Cut a slice as needed and serve with Manchego. A generous slice of membrillo wrapped in greaseproof paper and piece of Manchego is a good present when going to a friend for dinner.

Get a Handle on Storing Squash and Pumpkins

home grown squashI’ve been harvesting my squash and pumpkins and thought it might be useful to pass on a tip if yours are still outdoors. Make sure you cut the stem about 15cm (6”) from the fruit. That way they won’t rot round the neck and suddenly collapse in on themselves. I’ve made my first batch of squash and coconut soup – it’s a favourite autumn and winter lunch. I peel and chop the squash and give it a light coating of olive oil and roast it in a moderate oven with shallots and chilli, adding a few tomatoes for the last half hour. Once everything is tender I add a tin of half-fat coconut milk and the same quantity of stock season it and let it simmer for half an hour. If it is too thick to blend add more stock or hot water.bowl of steaming squash soup

Cherry Compote

ingedients required to make cherry compoteI’ve never been entirely happy with the cherry compote that I make from some of our cherry crop.  Because they are sweet cherries, when cooked  they just don’t have the intensity of flavour you get with morellos, but I’ve now found a rather delicious solution.   By adding one part blackcurrants to four parts cherries with a couple of spoons of demerara sugar, the blackcurrants sharpen the cherries and the cherries sweeten the blackcurrants. Problem solved.cherry compote in pan