Leaves. Quince. Autumn Love.

May 4, 2012

I’ve found myself feeling terribly affectionate towards Autumn this year. The air is completely crisp all day long, with just a touch of faint sunshine warming the underlying chill. Assuming you’re wearing a cute little sweater so as to not resent the bite in the air, I find it to be an incredibly friendly, invigorating season.

The romantic in me has come out and I’ve caught myself lovingly sighing at the blush leaves surrounding me, these shades of welcoming yellow, burnt orange and deep red filling me with warmth and happiness. Yes, I’m finding myself rather in love with this season.

I feel that now might just be the right time to tell you about a little hobby of mine… I collect Autumn leaves. Weird? A little bit? Maybe. They’re just so stunning and fragile and simple in their beauty.

On my walks I’ll pick up one or two up that might catch my eye, and I carry them with me until I reach home. Ben finds this terribly amusing, affectionately teasing me, “did you get any nice leaves on your walk?” I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all of my leaves. At the moment they’re piled up like delicate little trophies on one of my glass cake stands.

I blame the fresh Autumn air for tickling my whimsical ways and encouraging me to savour the charm of the season. Because now I have a pile of leaves in my kitchen. And a craving for quince.


Quince, the epitome of Autumn flavours. Earthy, wholesome, comforting, tender. And when poached, they’re just so stunning and fragile and simple in their beauty. Like leaves.

Leaves. Quince. Autumn love.

Poached Quince

Inspired by Stephanie Alexander‘s Poached Quince recipe from her book, The Cook’s Companion.


6 medium Quince
7 cups (1.75L) Water
3/4 cup White Sugar
3/4 cup granulated Stevia (or simply add an extra white sugar)
1/2 Vanilla Pod, split down the middle lengthwise to expose the seeds
1 Star Anise
1/2 Lemon


1. Preheat your oven to 150 Degrees Celsius.
2. Peel and core your quince, then cut them into six wedges.
3. In a saucepan, heat your water and sugar/stevia over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
4. Place your quince, vanilla and star anise in a large, heavy-based casserole dish. Add the sugar syrup to the dish and then squeeze the lemon juice over the top.
5. Cover your dish tightly with a lid or foil and gently place in the oven. If using foil you may wish to place a layer of foil on the rack in the oven before you add your dish, to capture any liquid that may bubble over.
6. Cook for 6-8 hours until ruby red.

Enjoy your quince on top of porridge, muesli or pancakes for breakfast, with some yoghurt for a snack or with ice-cream for dessert. You might also use the quince in baked goods like cakes and muffins. Or do all of the aforementioned options. They’re all delicious. They’re all Autumn Love.

Heidi xo
  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) May 4, 2012 at 7:37 am

    I think you have summed up Autumn just beautifully! I too keep loving the Autumn trees and leaves in our street – in their red and yellow hues, although I am a little sad to know that the trees will soon be bare!

  • hollypop May 4, 2012 at 8:00 am

    where is everyone buying their quince?
    i want to make quince paste but my nanna says it is extremely arduous a process.
    but so yummy

  • xoCATox May 4, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I love collecting Autumn leaves too! But have to refrain, because they always end up crumbling everywhere and making a mess 🙁

    Hmm. I've been seeing a lot of quince recipes around lately! I have never cooked or even eaten quince before (save for quince paste) so am a little scared! What should the texture be like?

  • Michelle Chin May 4, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I bet they are wonderful with chocolate porridge. 🙂

  • Heidi May 4, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Lisa – thank you! oh dear, I didn't think about the fact that they'll soon be bare. How sad! Must make the most of it now 🙂

    Holly – I got these from mum's tree & my aunty's tree – lucky! Have never tried to make quince paste. It does indeed sound arduous. But yes, definitely delicious. Worth it, I would think 😉

    Cat – the texture is gorgeous, soft but they still hold together well – like poached pears almost. They're so easy! This method is really simple, give it a go!

    Michelle – indeed 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Chopinand @ ChopinandMysaucepan May 4, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Dear Heidi,

    Autumn is one of my fave seasons too and we got our dose of autumn with out recent trip to the Blue Mountains. I have never cooked with quince before and always thought to either poach them or make them into quince pastes and jam.


  • Lisa May 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I've never heard of baking the quince! Such a good idea. If I can find more at the market this weekend I might just try that.

  • Ames May 4, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I love the imagery of your first paragraph, Heidi! You made Autumn sounds so beautiful and perhaps made me appreciate it a bit more even though it has been frightfully cold! Maybe I just need to invest in some cute knitwear :). I don't think I've used Quince before but perhaps it can be a first this Autumn :).

  • leaf (the indolent cook) May 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Autumn can indeed be a gorgeous season, though there has been some rather cold and rainy days lately as we get closer to winter. Brrrr! Nothing like a warm quince dish to cosy up to, though. 🙂

  • Heidi May 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Chopine – oooh quince jam would be fun to make!

    Lisa – I love this method 🙂

    Ames – aw thank you, how lovely. Yes do use them, you'll fall in love.

    Leaf – quince are so cozy!

    Heidi xo

  • Kari May 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    I love that you collect autumn leaves. I love it particularly because I myself would quite like to do that – but somehow have never let myself! I share your enjoyment of them though, and of autumn. It's a beautiful season – this is also beautiful quince 🙂

  • Hannah May 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    You could make anyone fall in love with Autumn, dear heart! I used to collect Autumn leaves as a kid, but I rarely come across perfect specimens these days. Although perhaps I should be glorying in imperfect leaves, finding the uniqueness is the broken edges, and other such metaphorical ponderings…

  • KittyCate May 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Lovelovelove autumn! Its the best season
    My last couple of quinces have failed to go that lovely ruby-red shade, just a pale pink, so a bit perplexed by that! Any hints? xx

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 5, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I love autumn leaves too! I love the ways that they curl individually 🙂

  • Gracey May 5, 2012 at 10:52 am

    This recipe looks good!
    I love the pictures of the leaves, although its spring, its still cute! =)

  • CC11 May 5, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I also collect Autumn leaves hahaa – I love the fiery scarlet oak leaves, they look gorgeous as table decoration.
    And speaking of gorgeous table decorations, a bowl of quinces is equally sublime

  • The InTolerant Chef May 6, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I love autumn as well, it's got such a mellow sweetness to it, and even the leaves changing colour are such lovely subdued colours and textures.
    I have a big bowl of quinces waiting for me to process them, I got a heap for $3kg at the markets yesterday- what a steal!

  • Heidi May 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Kari – thank you! & you should totally start collecting leaves 🙂

    Hannah – you most certainly should, well said, lovely. You know best.

    Cate – hmmm why I'm not sure! How long are you cooking them for? Mine start to really turn ruby red around the 5 hour mark…

    Lorraine – isn't it glorious…

    Gracey – Spring is a while away for us! Savouring Autumn 🙂

    CC11 – table decorations – what a grand idea! Yes quince as decoration are indeed sublime 🙂 Nature really is the prettiest display.

    InTolerant Chef – oooh excellent!!! Such deliciousness awaits you 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • msihua May 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    That is such a very cute hobby! hahahaha… But I can't laugh.. I collect all sorts of things too, which the Boy keeps throwing out as we are running out of space.. I'm a hoarder 😛

  • Ashley May 7, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Oh i do concur, I absolutely love autumn, there is indeed something vigorating and refreshing about the nip in the air! I also think collecting leaves is adorable! I was just admiring how pretty they were the other day. Spring is certainly pretty, but I think Autumn is much more…handsome. 🙂

  • Heidi May 8, 2012 at 6:53 am

    msihua – Hoarder!! I love a good cleanse, you should totally do one & throw stuff out!!

    Ashley – you're so right, Autumn is much more handsome 🙂 I love that.

    Heidi xo

  • Iron Chef Shellie May 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    You are so adorable Heidi! I love that you collect leaves. And I LOVE how you put them on a cake stand, they look so fancy!

    I am hoping to try and make quince paste soon. I should also try quinces on their own, something I haven't had the pleasure of yet!

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) May 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Mmmmmmm, quinces! 😀 I made quince jam last year. They're amazingly hard to cut, though, and my fingers were completely brown afterwards! 😀

  • Heidi May 16, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Michele – hehe thanks, lovely *blush*

    Kath – gosh I need to give quince jam a go!

    Heidi xo