…they dined on mince and slices of quince…

…which they ate with a runcible spoon…

IMG_2097(I still don’t know what a runcible spoon is!)

Do you know the nursery rhyme “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear? This was a childhood favourite and includes these lines, so the word “quince” was familiar to me from a very young age. However, I never actually knew or thought about what a quince is…
Until I married a Swiss whose mother has a quince tree in her garden and each year, would prepare various delicacies, including quince paste. Of course, there came a year of glut and a couple of bags of quinces made their way to our kitchen. For hours we boiled these stubborn, hard fruit, and eventually managed to get a couple of jars of jelly out of them – which turned out to be my eldest daughter’s favourite jam of all time!

After that, I never really bothered with them, just too much trouble, until I was tempted once again, and things were quick and easy!! I’ve made various quince dishes since, using them to accompany autumn pork, especially as a chutney, as well as sweet jam/jelly. Now I know there are different kinds, too. Ours are bright yellow with a very irregular, nubby surface that isn’t easy to peel, and unappealing brown fuzz, but as long as they’re ripe, I now know how to enjoy the scent they impart in my living room before I cook them, as well as during cooking and on the tastebuds later on!

Incidentally, the nursery rhyme appealed a great deal to my middle daughter and my mother made a wonderful quilted hanging of it for her when she was small – and how could I resist giving her a beautifully mounted version for her new house?! 

I
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’ 
II
Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose. 

III
‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon. 

IMG_2096P.S. Butternut squash lying around? Try Jamie Oliver’s Sicilan Stew (from his latest Save with Jamie) – a huge success here!  IMG_2076 Happy Autumn!

(Apologies for being a bad blogger – our fair share of upheaval has prevented me from writing recently! That’s life!)

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3 thoughts on “…they dined on mince and slices of quince…

  1. MMh, would love to be there with that delicious fragrance wafting arorund – especially when you have to put the quince in the oven to roast slowly for two or three hours! And middle daughter’s version of the Owl and Pussy Cat included something about “a beautiful Green Peace boat” …

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