Some things are born from the embers of disaster. This recipe is one of them. If you read food blogs, you would think that nothing ever goes wrong and that all dishes arrive from the oven aromatic and done to a turn, just waiting to be single-lit photographed with attractive rustic props. Not so my membrillo this year. No matter how long I cooked it for in a low oven, it retained the consistency of sloppy jam. It’s still delicious but there will be no cute little stiff diamonds of it on my cheese this year; more of a smear. The upside is that it’s spreadable so perfect to lather over some pastry.
I’d never really thought much about quinces until I got interested in cheese and then it seemed I couldn’t move for falling over a sticky chunk of membrillo. I was desperate to try and make some last year but never managed to track down the elusive quince. When they came back into season this year I searched high and low but there wasn’t a quince to be found anywhere in southwest London. Finally, I gave up and decided to make a version with plums instead but just as I hauled my shopping bag of fruit onto the table an email pinged in from Linda at Mrs Portly’s Kitchen, who was in London with some Suffolk quinces in need of a home. A mad dash across London later and I was the proud owner of half a dozen beautiful golden quinces (many thanks, Linda!)