Making quince paste

It’s quince time of year around these parts and due to a friend in the hills having some quince trees I found myself with a number of them so I thought I’d attempt to make quince paste.

You eat it with soft cheese, like brie, and crackers and its sweetness complements the brie perfectly. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like it.

I found a quince paste recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly and here’s what happened. I’ve italicised my notes below.

Ingredients

2kg quinces (I used slightly more as I had some bruised quinces)
Water
Approx 1.25 kg sugar
Cheese platter and crackers to serve

Method

Wash, peel and core quinces. Chop quince flesh coarsely and place in large saucepan. Tie peel and cores in a small piece of muslin to form a bag. (Only do this bit if you want to. I didn’t have enough room in the saucepan so I didn’t bother). Add to the quinces in the pan.

Add enough water to cover the quinces and boil, covered 30 minutes or until fruit is very soft. Remove muslin bag and push flesh through a fine sieve into a bowl. Alternatively you can process the fruit until very smooth (however, this method is only good if you have been very thorough in removing all skin, parts of the core and seeds from the quinces when preparing them.) Weigh the fruit pulp. You should have about 1.25kg of fruit pulp. Weigh out an equal amount of sugar.

This is what the paste looks like when you first add the sugar to the pan.

Combine sugar and fruit pulp in the same cleaned saucepan. Cook, stirring over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, stirring every 5-10 minutes, until the quince paste is very thick and a deep ruby colour. At this stage a wooden spoon drawn through the paste will leave a very distinct trail across the bottom of the pan. This will take approx 1½ hours.

This is what it looked like towards the end. I had to stir it fairly constantly so it didn’t burn to the bottom of the pan. Next time I will try it in the slow cooker as I think that will do a great job.

Transfer cooked paste to a lightly greased and lined 20cm x 30cm lamington pan. Spread paste flat.

Place in fan-forced oven with only the fan working (no temperature set) overnight or for several hours to dry out. Alternatively you can dry the paste in a very low oven (90°C) for several hours, or you could use a traditional method for drying the paste: in the sunshine if you have constant sunshine, in an airing cupboard, in a gas oven with the pilot light on, or as Stephanie Alexander mentions in her book – the cook’s companion, one of her reader’s wrote in to tell her she had successfully dried it on the back shelf of her car under the rear window!

Whichever way you dry it, wrap it in baking paper and foil and then place in an airtight container. It should keep indefinitely. It’s a great accompaniment to cheese, or can be melted down and used in fruit tarts and pies. It should be cut into small wedges or squares to serve.

I was very pleased with how it turned out and I have quite a bit to keep me going. Some of my friends tried it and we all loved it. The difference between this and the bought quince paste is how fruity it is. Even though it is a bit time consuming to make I thoroughly recommend giving it a go. It’s absolutely delicious.

Need more information upfront

Commuter train. Day 134/365.

In the last post I wrote that I’d been for a couple of job interviews.

I was made a job offer but I turned it down. I can’t quite believe I did that but I did and mainly because the salary offer was far too low for what I’m willing to settle for.

I’d been asked what I would like to earn and without hesitation I gave a figure. I know it was a bit high but I thought it’s something to work with and I was willing to negotiate.

They then made me an offer that was significantly lower than what I asked for so I declined.

So job advertisers, why don’t you state at the beginning what figures you’re willing to pay someone right at the start? I’d been for two interviews with this organisation and this took up my time and their time. This time could have been better spent by them speaking to someone who’d be willing to work for this amount. I could have better spent this time looking for other work.

The thing is I’ve just applied for two other jobs where the salary also wasn’t mentioned.

Maybe I was spoiled working in recent jobs that paid quite well but surely it’s not too much to expect to be paid reasonably when you’re being asked to plan and setup digital strategies, implement and coordinate them. And surely it’s not too much to expect to be paid reasonably well when you’ve got the experience, I stress the real-world work experience that they’re seeking. Surely!

Limbo

Look, up in the sky. Day 128/365.

I know I’m not alone with this blog caper in that I can’t write about everything that happens in my life. This means that sometimes I just don’t write at all.

I’ve been for some job interviews and I can’t elaborate on that at all really.

I’ve made quince paste for the very first time and I will document that in a separate post.

My days continue to be fairly busy even though I’m not in paid employment and I’m sure that I’ll look back at this time wistfully when I eventually do get a job.

Yearbook yourself

Not long after my old boss got his iPhone he came to work one day and got us all to pose for a photo so he could use an app to change our appearance. I can’t for the life of me remember the name but Yearbook Yourself comes pretty close.

I was researching one to use for The Surfer and while I didn’t end up using it on him I did have a lot of fun with myself and my son. Here’s me throughout the ages.

I’m in 1958 here. I quite like the look of these glasses and would get some in a flash if I could.

Here I am in 1968 with an afro. I know afro perms were popular in the 1970s.

I don’t think the 1974 afro looks better than the 1960s one. It’s a lot bigger though.

Below is 1984 and this is probably pretty similar to what I used to have in those days.

This is what I looked like at the end of the 1980s. I’d been doing perms for a little while and they continued for a little while longer until I gave them up. I hate to think how much hairspray I’d used here.

And while I’m poking fun at myself here’s a much more recent photo that JJ took and he asked me to make a funny face, so I did. Flattering isn’t it?

He’s not going to escape unscathed. Isn’t he cute with long hair?

Declutter – or not

Maybe I will tidy up the fridge one day. Day 119/365.

I keep a fairly tidy house and every now and again I have a purge of stuff but the refrigerator seems to be the last to get cleaned up.

In my photo a day project last week I got to the end of the day and realised I hadn’t taken any photos yet so I thought I’d document my fridge.

I realised, like Project 365, it’s a snapshot into my life with photos, invitations to parties, concert tickets and magnets.

I’d like to see photos of other fridges. Post it on your blog and link back here if you like. Are yours as cluttered as mine?

Do you have any questions about any items on my fridge? Notice the Hawaii Five-O knock off?

Indecision

Aye, the knees have it. Day 109/365.

It wasn’t long ago that I took this photo. We both had a day off, well I’m having lots of days off, but it was kid free as they were all at school. We took the dog down to the beach, bought some lunch along the way and were sitting down in the sun eating our pasties.

Did I mention it was warmer? The last few days, autumn has well and truly hit here. I’m wearing more clothes, and socks and shoes and I’ve even considered putting the heater on. It’s also been raining quite a bit, although that’s been normal this year too.

I spent the day in front of the computer working yesterday as I’m doing a website for a friend’s clowning business. I haven’t started my own website yet. I get all gung-ho about it then I see a job advertised that I’ll apply for and might get and then what’s the point of a website for me? Perhaps I should have one anyway, to brand me as a person who does a particular thing? This indecision is annoying.

I’ve found this website – Therapy in Transition – which has a section on business and entrepeneurship that I will read. It might give me some pointers.

Different lifestyle

In the web. Day 100/365.

When I got my new job back in August I still managed to hold onto working four days a week but because the office hours were longer I was out slightly longer each day and I had to make up some time on my free Fridays.

I did hire a cleaner but they were either very unreliable or when I got a new cleaner I only got them to come in once a fortnight. It was totally worth it and it’s something I’ve now curtailed until finances start getting better.

Despite not having to do so much cleaning I obviously still had the day-to-day stuff to contend with. With that, and finding time to spend with my fella things could feel very rushed and I would often wonder if it would be like this until the lad left school?

Now that I no longer have to go into work four days, or more, a week I’m loving – absolutely loving – the slower pace of things.

I used to get up at 6.30 to take the dog for a walk in the morning and now I get up at 7.30 to get JJ ready for school and when I’ve dropped him off I take Monty for a walk. It’s much more civilised. I note that I’m still going to bed around the same time so the extra hour or so is obviously agreeing with me!

I try to maintain a routine in my day and I notice that watching The Love Boat has crept into my routine. I sometimes set the Tivo so I can start watching it halfway into the show and fast forward through the ads. It’s a chance to have an early lunch or do something like folding the clothes. Oh, and I love the fashions on the show. It’s quite light hearted and I inevitably feel good afterwards.

One other thing I’ve been able to now fit into my day is helping out with things on at the school. The photo above was taken when I went along to the school garden to help out the teacher with JJ’s class that day. There were quite a few other parents there so I didn’t have to do too much.

On the school excursion. Day 114/365.

The other day, I went on an excursion into the city. The kids were all really well behaved and the show that we went to see about water conservation and use was fairly entertaining for the adults as well as the kids.

Next week they’ve got swimming each day and because some of my freelance work has been delayed I’ll be able to help out there too. Although JJ has an ear infection so I’ll have to be careful that it doesn’t reoccur. I must remember to use Aqua Ear after he’s been swimming.

I’ve also now got the time to setup my own ‘business’ website. Someone asked me to describe what services I’ve got available and it would have been good to direct them straight to my website. It looks as though freelance work is the ticket for me at the moment.

Isn’t it funny – this is something I’ve been thinking about for some time. I even have a category called ‘My business‘ on this blog. If I had stayed in paid employment I’m sure it’s something that would never have kicked off but now I’m out of work, I’ve got the time to concentrate on it.

I’ll keep you posted.