Lamb, quince, and aubergine

I love aubergines, and there were some great aubergines in the shop the other day, so I was inspired enough to order some quinces from Real Foods, a wholefood supplier in Edinburgh.  I nearly didn’t post this recipe, because quinces aren’t something that is readily available, but it was excellent. The recipe is from one of my favourite recipe books, Nightingales and Roses. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly because the weather was nasty, time was of the essence and I discovered I didn’t have enough onions. 

I used a bit of leg of mutton to make this, and cooked it quite slowly. I did it in two stages as I was cooking for others after work. The stew itself is very easy, everything is layered into one pot and simmered. I find that preparing stews in the evening, and then finishing the cooking the next evening works well for developing the flavours. I should imagine it would work well in a slow cooker.  


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 onions, peeled and thickly sliced (should have been 6 – see above)
  • 600g thick slices of mutton or lamb
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sumac (this gives the stew a wonderful dark colour)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 large aubergines, thickly sliced and salted
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 large quince, peeled and chopped, core removed
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 60ml water
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 large potatoes, thickly sliced. (I added these on the next day when I heated the stew up and finished the cooking.)


  • Pour half the oil into the bottom of a casserole dish or large saucepan, and arrange half of the onion slices on the bottom. Next, layer in the meat slices. 
  • Mix the sumac, turmeric, salt and pepper, and sprinkle a third of this over the meat, and then add the rest of the onions. 
  • Rinse any salt off the aubergines and arrange them on top, then the garlic slices and another third of the spice mix. 
  • Add the sliced quince, then top this with the rest of the spice mix and the chopped tomatoes.
  • Mix the water with the tomato paste and the rest of the oil, whisk to combine, and pour over the top. 
  • Cover tightly and cook on a low heat for an hour and a half (I cooked for two hours on account of using mutton). (At this point I turned off the heat and went to bed.)
  • Remove the lid and add the potato slices, and spoon some of the gravy over the top. Continue to simmer for a further half hour until the potatoes are tender and most of the gravy has cooked down. 
  • Sprinkle with a pinch of sumac, and serve with bread and a little light salad. 

Quince and roses

I got given some quinces so I had a stab at making quince marmalade. I added some essence of roses, and it was inspired. Thank you to Mrs Bird.


  • 5 Quinces – each quince produces around 100g flesh
  • 1 lemon
  • 500g jam sugar
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • Water


  • I wiped the fuzz off the quinces, put them in a pan and covered them in water, and simmered in a covered pan for an hour.
  • Once the quinces were tender, I cooled them, peeled and cored them and chopped the flesh up into small chunks.
  • I added the peel and cores to the remaining water and boiled this up with the zest of the lemon. The liquid started to change to a gentle light red.
  • I strained the liquid, and then added the rose water and lemon juice, and made the volume up to around 300ml
  • I put the chopped quince into the liquid, and started boiling, as the colour darkened I added the jam sugar, and boiled to setting point. (I used a jam thermometer, but I also used the cold plate technique)
  • I poured into clean jars that I had heated up in the oven.

The test on the spoon was wonderful, but the true test will be in the morning when I try it on toast.