Republic of Moreland

March 15, 2007

Coburg lanes get a pasting

Filed under: Brunswick,Coburg,food,gardening,health,neighbours,recipes — Kath @ 9:50 am

Having moved house this year, we don’t have a quince tree. But we harvested far more quinces from Coburg’s laneways than we ever managed to grow on our bug-infested Brunswick tree. This is just part of our harvest from an afternoon walk, during which we collected apples, pears and quinces. There were also grapes, lemons and figs overhanging the lane, and remnants of hundreds of plums gone to waste. Coburg lanes are like Victory gardens.

I was determined this year to avoid quince paste recipes. Most are so goddamn convoluted. Aside from the tedious peeling and coring and processing and straining, there’s the relentless stirring. All that for a lump of paste from two dozen quinces. No wonder the stuff costs forty to sixty bucks per kg, depending on whether you go to the Vic Market or DJ’s food hall. (As an aside, I’m boycotting DJ’s because of their corporate thuggery towards the Australia Institute. Arseholes.)

I like the recipes that tell you to chuck in pips, cores ‘n’ all. And instead of stirring for hours, after stirring for about half an hour, I let the paste thing happen over a couple of days. You spread it onto trays and put it first in the oven on low heat, during which time you repeatedly mesh the crust that forms into the rest of the sludge. Then, when it starts resembling soft paste, you put it in the hot sun under a tea-towel and do same. Stephanie Alexander writes of one chef who puts the sludge on a tray in the back window of the car until it goes lovely and leathery.

After that, it’s divine quince paste with soft white cheese. Mmm… paste.



  1. PS: I’ve just filed this post under ‘health’ also. While I was making it, I was worried about the arsenic level in my paste, given that I leave all seeds in. So I did some research on the chemical properties of quince seeds, and learned that they were once administered in diluted form to relieve sore throats. As it happened, I had a sore throat yesterday (still do), and ate some of my seed-heavy paste-in-progress. Sure enough! It DOES relieve sore throats.

    Comment by Girl on The Avenue — March 15, 2007 @ 10:08 am | Reply

  2. But what are the arsenic levels?

    Comment by Chloe — March 15, 2007 @ 12:48 pm | Reply

  3. Low, apparently. Almost certainly lower than apple and apricot seeds, I gather.

    Comment by Girl on The Avenue — March 15, 2007 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

  4. Like many poisons (alcohol, for instance), very low levels of arsenic can actually be beneficial. Apricot kernels (taken sparingly, of course) are supposedly good for the heart. One a day is the recommended dosage, I believe.

    Comment by Dr. Zaius — March 15, 2007 @ 8:11 pm | Reply

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