Sunday, October 24, 2010

making quince jelly - marmelo/membrillo

My granny back in Galicia used to make tonnes of marmelo (membrillo in Spanish and quince jelly/paste in English) when I was a kid. I was always amazed at this weird-looking fruit that we weren't allowed to eat raw, that resembled a cross between a deformed apple and a lemon.

Marmelo was one of those childhood staples, usually given to you in your sandwich with some cheese. At some stage, there was some shop-bought ones in the 80s that were a funky '3-flavour/colour' magnet to all the kids in my neighbourhood. Home-made marmelo was so not-cool...

It is a very Autumny treat as well and some people used to keep them in their closet to keep their clothes perfumed (some people do that with apples too).

So, after a visit to the Gorey Farmers Market yesterday, I decided to buy a few quinces from the Organic shop and today I'm making some marmelo. Here's the process (flexible!):

-1kg of quinces
-500grms sugar

First I wash the quinces, chop them in quarters and get rid of the cores.
Boil them in water (or steam them) until they are very soft.
Pass them through the sieve.
Cook the paste with the sugar
you'll have to keep stirring with the wooden spoon until it feels like it has become a bit solid.
Pour onto a deep tray. Let it set for a few days (covered) and then keep cool (fridge is good) in a container with a lid.

Slice to eat - excellent with cheese.

Seaweed harvesting

It has been a beautiful Autumn day in Co. Wexford today. Mr M and I went for a stroll on the beach near Cahore Point, as many other times. This time we were on a mission though: getting some seaweed (that we could use as manuer) for our vegetable patch. This is the second time we go 'seaweed harvesting' this year, the first one was back in the early spring, and it is quite fun. Although I end up spending most of the time taking pictures than actually getting the bloody things into the bags... maybe I'm just easily amused ;-)

I have been suffering from gardening 'overdrive' in the past few days, maybe because I just joined Grow It Yourself the other week. So this is the first year we are actually going to plant some winter vegetables - it will be interesting to see what happens. Nothing too risky though, so far we've just bought (on the way back from our seaweed mission) purple broccoli, all year round cauliflower, winter lettuce and some garlic and onion bulbs.

As for the seaweed, we've laid it out on the backyard and watered it to get rid of the salt (I read that on a Canadian site earlier this year). Mr M thinks we should chop the long ones but I'm just far too lazy for that. As soon as all the veggies are out, the seaweed goes in... to make it nice and tasty for the winter veg...

The seaweed trip got me thinking about that Welsh bread made with seaweed and some type of bread also made in Co. Galway. The problem is how do I recognise the right type of seaweed??