poached quinces sans wisdom.
I’m at home this week, bundled up on the couch recovering from having all 4 wisdom teeth removed on Monday.
Funny story that. Two months ago I didn’t think I had wisdom teeth. I’d been to the dentist years ago with pain in my jaw thinking that my wisdom teeth might be coming through. The dentist took an x-ray & told me she couldn’t see any wisdom teeth & that I must just be clenching my jaw. That sounded reasonable so I stopped worrying about it. Two months ago I was in serious pain & could chew anything. Every time I bit down on something my teeth really hurt. I thought I must have had a cavity so went to the dentist. Turns out my teeth were fine, no cavities, it was just that my wisdom teeth were breaking through.
Oh, and they also looked like this:
Anyway, on Monday I went to the hospital & the surgeon pulled them out under general anaesthetic (so much better than the dentist’s chair) and now I look like a chipmunk.
I’m recovering pretty well, but because I cant’ really move my jaw much & my gums are pretty swollen, I’m limited to eating only soft or liquid foods. It’s really boring. So on Sunday night & Monday morning I baked up a storm & prepared a fridge full of soft & liquid foods that I would actually want to eat (I’d like to think that I’ll eat anything, but as my husband will attest, I can be very fussy about food). I made cantaloupe (rock melon) & coconut jellies, pumpkin soup, tomato soup & poached quinces. I also got a heap of my favourite soft foods from the store – like my favourite greek yoghurt.
I thought I’d share with you the recipe I like to use to make poached quinces. I wanted quinces this week because it’s mid-Autumn here in Australia at the moment & quinces have started appearing in the stores. They really are a lovely fruit. This method is from Stephanie Alexander’s book ‘The Cook’s Companion” & is super easy to make;
6 quinces, peeled & washed
2.25L sugar syrup
Juice of a lemon
1 vanilla bean (split open with a sharp knife)
Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Core the quinces & cut them up into quarters. Wrap the cores up in a muslin cloth. Place the vanilla bean, quinces & the cores wrapped in muslin cloth in a heavy cast iron pot.
Pour the lemon juice & sugar syrup into the pot. If the liquid doesn’t quite cover the quinces, top it up with a bit of water. Cover the pot & put in the oven for 4-8 hours. I find the easiest thing to do is just leave them cooking in the oven overnight (for about 8 hours). Not only do you get lovely warm poached quinces for breakfast but the house smells beautiful & fragrant when you wake up.
One last little thing. After you’ve made the quinces don’t throw out the poaching syrup. It’s beautiful, I love to use it to flavour custard. This recipe for quince custard (also from Stephanie Alexander) is divine. I really like the soft subtle flavour of the quinces, it makes for the perfect autumn dessert.