Leaves. Quince. Autumn Love.
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.
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. 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.