The quince trees in my garden both have a story. They are cuttings from my Mum’s tree, which she planted from a cutting from the old milkman who lived down the road when I was a kid. The fruit of this variety is particularly delicious and keeps its texture when cooked. The Currawongs were threatening to devour all my quinces this year, so I picked them early – a dozen or more giant yellow baubles – and left them sitting on the kitchen table to ripen. The wonderful thing about quinces is the way their scent permeates the house. Its not strong, but fruity and exotic, and a delightful waft hits me every time I walk in the front door.
Today I decided to slow-bake some of them and now the house is filled with the divine smell of quinces mixed with spices and lemon peel. I like to think it’s how a handsome 18th century spice trader might have smelled arriving back from mysterious lands and the high seas.