"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Quince - the Golden fruit of winter

Quinces are a curious group of low growing, prickly ansd straggly shrubs in the Rose family, Chaenomeles / Cydonia , which produce a hard green apple like fruit, turning golden in the Autumn / Winter.The Portuguese name "marmelo" gives it name to the orange confection of marmalade, popular now as the bitter Seville oranges fill the shops.

The highly perfumed fruit, (said to be eaten by the bride before she and the bridgeroom enter the bedroom on the wedding night) is added to the frozen stores of apple sauce by Lord Patel to give winter apple pies a sharp tarty bite. They also perfume a room.

Cultivation probably started 2,000 years before Christ and was spread by the ancients as the Golden Apple - which led of course to Adam's fall - and also appears as the legendary golden apple of Hesperides that Paris gave to Aphrodite and started a war. The Italian name of pomme d'oro which by an accident of transatlantic history has been transferred to the red Tomato.

In the Middle East it finds it's way into many recipes for fruity pastes to brighten meat pies and dishes - sfarjel in the Lebanon, mixed with pomegranite in Syria to produce a ubiquitous dibs rouman and in Iran as beh. Many Middle East herbalists recommend a tea of the bright luscious shiny seeds for chest complaints.

In Spain, they make a paste to accompany cheese called carne de membrillo (also dulce de membrillo) which takes up the dark reddish tinge of the cooked quince ( and which the Portuguese confusingly call marmelada and the Italian version is called cotognate) and long pre-dates (it is said) the marmalade beloved by British breakfasters on the Costas.

To make this tasty confiture is very complicated.....

1. Peel and de pip the fruit, boil for some 40 minutes until soft.
2. Mash / blitz in blender and add equal weight of sugar, then simmer with a little water (rose or orange water for foodies).
3. Turn out the sticky red paste and let it set on greaeproof paper on a tray.
4. Store when cool in jar / Tupperware.

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