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Slow food

I had been making things with quinces for many years before I got round to trying ‘dulce de membrillo’ (quince cheese). I may have never done so at all were it not for an enthusiastic friend offering to help with the preparation. My reservations about the work involved were confirmed when that first small batch took four of us the best part of the day!

Luckily I’ve become a bit more efficient since then, but making this stuff is always going to take plenty of time. However after all the picking, washing, cooking, sieving, pureeing, boiling, moulding and cooling is done the moment finally comes when I can turn out the finished blocks. My reward is a neat row of glowing, glossy ingots. Then I know it has been worth it.

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Valentine’s Day

These ‘dulce de membrillo’ (quince cheese) hearts were made specially for Valentine’s Day for the wonderful Wildes Cheese. Quince cheese varies in colour from apricot to a rich deep red (the latter often called ‘carne de membrillo’ in Spain – literally ‘quince meat’). The colour depends on a variety of things, not all of which are easy to control although I was certainly keen to try. And the result? Hearts in a fitting shade of deep Valentine’s red. Marvellous.

 

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The fruit magpie

I’ve learnt a LOT of things since I first tried my hand at fruit cheese a year and a half ago. How to get a proper set. How to handle the different fruits. How not to burn it! Actually, how not to do pretty much everything that I must have got wrong at least once. Probably several times. I’m a slow learner.

And what did I learn this week? That naming your business is the hardest thing yet. After months of thinking about it and a super-intense week trying every possible combination of words and driving my friends crazy with endless suggestions, over lunch with some friends today the magpie, collector of good things, finally hatched.

Feeling pleased with ourselves we left for a walk over Tottenham Marshes. One of the first things we saw along the path heading north past the old cafe were two of the black and white beauties, calling raucously to one another. Some things were just meant to be.

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