Not quite apples and pears (stairs for those not familiar with cockney slang) but apples and quince (make ya wince?? That one might not catch on) are a lovely winter combo. Slow cooked for extra sweetness, quince is something I can’t help but get excited about every year. I have made two batches of membrillo already. I might even go for some jam next. But this recipe however is a lovely and versatile way of enjoying the lovely yellow fruits. Served with ice cream, on toast or even with muesli, it’s an easy one to knock together ready for cold dark mornings. I like mine with porridge however and as a Scot I have some notes on our oat dish or choice. As a weenie we called it “poshie”and ate it every morning before school. Here how to do it.
- Big fat oats. Giant chunky rolled oats. No quick cook fluffy things. Nothing instant. The bigger the better.
- Water. Always water. 1 mug oats to 2 mugs of water (will serve 2-3 hungry people). Water will make a less creamy porridge of course but once you get into the realms or milk or even double cream (I am disgusted too) you are talking pudding. Or really really luxurious breakfast. Traditionally it has always been made with water so maybe it’s the old fashioned me talking but I reckon its a better flavour and far more usable. Plus it cooks in half the length of time than if you were to use dairy. If you insist I will settle of 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of water. Nothing more.
- Toast those oats! Place your oats in a dry pan before adding the liquid then allow to toast on a medium heat. Stir occasionally. You don’t want too much colour but a little golden tint never hurt anyone. Once they are fragrant you can add the water.
- Salt. Coarse sea salt preferably. Even if you are about to top your porridge with banana, maple syrup, berries, chocolate, apples, honey, agave or anything else sweet. Porridge is lifted dramatically with a pinch of salt.
- Now you can go wild. I serve mine with a little cold milk (we used to make milk moats for our porridge castle which was always fun. Maybe a little yoghurt. And some fruit. And seeds. And nuts. And compote (see my recipe below). Blank canvas is definitely the term when it comes to porridge.
APPLE and QUINCE COMPOTE
350g quince, roughly cubed (approx 1 large quince or 2 small ones. There is no need to peel the fruit)
350g apple, roughly cubed (eating apples are best, and the pinker the better. Again no need to peel)
juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
2 tbsp apple juice
Place the quince in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Add the apples and cook for a further five minutes. Once all the fruit is cooked through drain off the water. Transfer into a food processor or using a stick blender, blitz the fruit until smooth. Sieve to remove any excess tough quince skin. Return the smooth puree back to the pan with the lemon juice, sugar and apple juice. Cook on a low heat for as long as you have, 30 mins to 1 hour. You may need to add more apple juice if it reduces to much. The longer you cook it the sweeter and pinker it will become. Store in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.