This is where I note my efforts as I try to recreate some old recipes. Most are taken from my small collection of handwritten recipe books which date from the late 1700's to around 1922. I also have a collection of old tatty old recipe books, well thumbed and heavily splashed from years of use. I love them all!

The old-fashioned very stylised handwriting writing is sometimes difficult to decipher, measurements and cooking instructions are minimal, no tin sizes given. Luckily I enjoy a challenge. Just to complicate things I cook and bake on my wood-fired Rayburn, which can be... unpredictable.

I suspect this blog is less about the food and more about my passion for these lovely old books and the wonderful women who wrote them.

Monday, 12 October 2020

2020, A Good Quince Year at Parsonage Cottage Kitchen

I had to harvest the quince a little earlier than I would have liked because high winds and heavy rain were forecast - quince bruise very easily so I didn't want them to fall from the tree under such a vicious assault.    Much better to harvest them gently then let them ripen in the house.

I have given away six large carrier bags of them, but I still have all of these in store.   These are stacked in the outer porch, where it is fairly cool, others are ripening in the kitchen.   The riper they become, the more the wonderful scent of quince develops, which is an added benefit.

I have made a couple more batches of quince marmalade, but there we can only eat so much marmalade in a year.   I also add them to crumbles and fruit pies, they add a delicious extra dimension.    The favourite mix at the moment is a combination of apple, quince and windfall pears.  

Ordinarily I cook fruit in very little water, however one of my old recipe books suggested using more water and, when the fruit is cooked, drain the water off and retain it as a drink.   It sounds strange, but it is surprisingly delicious.

Just as apples are used in baking cakes, so can you use quince.   My most recent cake bake was quince and ginger, a particularly nice combination.

We are still harvesting our own tomatoes, lots of them.   Roast tomatoes with roughly chopped onion, slice in some quince, drizzle the whole with olive oil and add black pepper.   I normally serve this dish with bruschetta.    I must admit that I will be quite sorry to move on to the heavier food of autumn, but then again it is nice to eat seasonally and the leeks are ready to harvest, which makes me think of soup, so perhaps it's not all bad.

It is yellow in colour, as if it wore a daffodil tunic

and it smells like musk, a penetrating smell.

(Taken from the Jane Grigson Fruit book of 1982) 



  1. I have always dreaded the bags of quince left on our doorstep but your enthusiasm for them and the ideas have made me change my mind about them.
    Quince and ginger cake sounds delicious.
    We have two squash on the bench and I shall be making soup very soon. It is finally cool enough here

    1. I baked two of the cakes today, they keep well, or they would if I wasn't married to a Hungry Horace with a sweet tooth. There were so many quince this year, quite overwhelming!
      Is the cooler weather welcome? Enjoy that soup.

  2. I very much enjoy your interesting emails and recipes. I live in British Columbia Canada, and until recently we had a lovely market that sold quince, also marrow, both are not well known here by many people. Unfortunately the market closed after many years of being owned by one family. Now my supply of quince is gone. I was however gifted a lovely marrow by a neighbour, and it was so lovely stuffed. Memories of growing up in New Zealand.
    Would love to take some quince from you!! The marmalade sounds delicious.

    1. Hello Frances, Lovely to hear from you. Would that I could email some quince over to British Columbia! The marmalade is delicious and I must admit that I do enjoy seeing them on the pantry shelves. I felt quite pleased with my efforts until I re-read the list of preserves which one Victorian cook had put down one year. I think I have written about it before but, if not, then I will do so soon.