Rueben’s Rubies

I know that’s a bit of a corny heading, but with the ruby colour these quince turned out it just seemed to fit. It still amazes me how such ordinary fruit can become so beautiful and tasty after cooking.

A couple of months ago we had the pleasure of joining some friends at a degustation dinner at a great eating establishment in Mt Evelyn. Billy Goat Hill Brasserie is well worth a visit if ever you are in the area (even if you’re not, go for a drive!). Along with some great menu choices, Reuben the chef and other staff are great hosts and go out of their way to make your experience a positive one. There is an obvious passion and commitment to good wholesome food and sustainability which is evident from before you even enter. Part of our dinner included some sensational quince and I cheekily asked Reuben of he would share his secret and he very graciously obliged. Just have a look at these beauties!


These were Reuben’s instructions-Peel and core into 8, bring the peelings, cores and some lemon rind to boil with about 20% sugar to quince (that’s around one cup to every five quinces), simmer for about 10 minutes then strain the liquid over the peeled quince in a baking tray. The water should cover the quince, give them some room… put foil over the top and place in a low oven until soft (about two hours). Take the foil off, bring the heat up and get some colour on to them. After another hour or so, give them a shake once or twice and yum! Good luck!

Served with Annabel Langbein’s 3 ingredient chocolate mousse and some pure cream it was an extremely rich dessert but heavenly. The sweetness of the quinces syrupy juice with the strong chocolate meant I had to virtually lick my plate clean! Thanks Reuben! Can’t wait till we are back down that way again.

Quince RecipeChilli Jam-not so chilly!

Our harvest of chillies, both jalapeño and rocoto is starting to reach it’s peak, so yesterday I thought I’d make some chilli jam for using as a marinade, dips and all sorts of things. These jalapeño are from just one bush and I have another 3 to go! Any tips as to good preserving recipes much appreciated.

ChilliesI used Annabel Langbein’s (yes, again!) Chilli Jam recipe as a base and all went according to plan. Her recipe uses 8 long red chillies so I had to have a guess at how many of our chillies were the equivalent. I also cut the sugar back a bit and when the paste was processed I weighed it and used the equivalent weight of sugar. Cooked up really well but boy it has a kick to it!

IMG_3381Slow Cooker Roast Chicken-Asian Style

I had planned on doing a plain, normal old roast chicken in the slow cooker but was keen to try the new chilli jam on something so I reconfigured my plans.  The chicken went into the slow cooker with some sliced ginger, a chilli and some coriander. I rubbed the outside with sesame oil and cooked on high for 3 hours then turned down to low, basted with the juices.

I soaked some rice noodles so they would be ready at serving time, prepared some vegetables for stir frying, broccoli, carrot, snow peas, bok choy, green capsicum and spring onions. I microwaved these for 1 minute and left covered until serving time when I tossed them into the wok with some ginger, sesame oil and a small amount of stock. I shredded the chicken and had kept it hot by wrapping it in foil and leaving in the slow cooker until serving time. All of this worked well as it meant everything was ready to go when our son arrived and there were no deadlines to worry about.

To serve I placed some rice noodles onto the plate, topped with the stir fried vegetables then the shredded chicken. Garnished with spring onions and added the chilli jam on the side so we could use as desired or not. I was a bit nervous about the jam being too hot so also served a bowl of plain chilli sauce for those not quite as partial to hot flavours. The heat intensity actually diminished quite a bit when eaten with the other ingredients. All in all very nice.

IMG_3400Thanks to Mirboo Pastured Poultry for such flavoursome chicken once again it was so juicy and tasty. Need to restock now, that was the last of it.


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