Stocking up

I was given some quinces today, so I cut them up to make cotignac, which is a preserve made by simmering quinces with quartered oranges, taking out the oranges, puréeing the quince and then cooking it again with sugar before bottling it. It’s not over-sweet and is good with crème frâiche. I also set about making quince jelly, I left both simmering as I was going out, with instructions to the Sage when to remove them from the stove. He remembered the cotignac but forgot the other quinces simmering in the preserving pan – I don’t suppose an extra hour or two will matter. When it had all cooled down, I looked for the jelly bag, which is simply a muslin bag in which one puts fruit to drain out the juice – jelly is jam without the bits. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’m wondering now if it had got so ancient that I threw it out last year. Anyway, the quinces needed to be done – easy enough to make another jelly bag, but I decided to improvise with a ready sewn nylon tube…a stocking. In the first place, I was going to look for a laddered pair of tights and cut off the good leg, but then I couldn’t be bothered so got a perfectly good stocking in a not so interesting shade and sacrificed it.

I discovered the advantage of a tights leg when I started to fill the stocking. The opening really isn’t quite wide enough. After a few minutes, I picked up the mushy quinces in handfuls and stuffed them in, ending up with using a funnel to hold it open while I poured in the liquid. I hung it up to dry on a convenient hook in a beam in the kitchen, nailed in many years ago for just this purpose and it dangles fatly, dripping tears of quince juice into a bowl. Tomorrow, I’ll measure it, add sugar and boil it until it’s ready to set.

I do slightly regret the stocking, not being a wasteful sort of a Z, but I wear them less now than I used to, as they really don’t go too well with a bicycle. Chilly. And a bit revealing. And I have plenty more pairs for when I’m feeling frivolous.

Weeza came over with Zerlina, who slept most of the afternoon. When she woke, Squiffany and Pugsley had come to call. Squiffany went to give her a kiss and z smiled. Pleased, she bobbed forward again, and z smiled again. Squiffany was entranced and they chatted together for some time. She smiled at me too, but I had to blow raspberries at her to obtain the reaction – the first time, a startled look came to her face and she blinked and frowned before grinning.

7 comments on “Stocking up

  1. mike

    We’ve had a very poor year for quinces. Last year, we had armfuls of the blessed things; this year, less than half a dozen. But I think we’ve probably still got most of the membrillo that we made two years ago, so it’s not as if there was a pressing need!

    Cotignac, eh? I must remember that word for next year.

  2. Z

    I remember you making membrillo – that’s quite a firm paste isn’t it?. I seem to remember having it once served with cheese, if that’s likely at all. Delicious, but I’ve a feeling I’d only have it once in a while. The cotignac is good as it’s easy to make into a pudding, not as sweet as jam but can be used as one and can be added to apple, pear etc, if one is the sort of person who makes pies, which is not likely in my kitchen. I’ve just googled it and most of the recipes use lemon juice and one has red wine – mine is simply quince, orange, water, sugar and optional candied peel which I never use.

    Al’s had lots of quinces brought in to the shop for sale this year, so the crop must be pretty good round here.


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