As New Zealand thankfully comes out of lockdown, I’m reflecting back on my COVID-19 experience so far.

 

For me, Level 4 was a badly-needed moment of pause. Whilst the real threat of disease still seemed far off (in fact my little town has never had any cases), we were able to put down all expectations of ‘doing’, ‘meeting deadlines’ or ‘achieving’ and just ‘be’. Of course, this is what we’ve been striving for for a long time, but it took total country-wide lockdown to achieve it. I guess it gave me permission to stop being busy and there were no events I felt like I was missing out on.

However, as the weeks progressed and the house had been thoroughly cleaned, I started exploring what I could do with all my leisure time.

My husband, Duncan, and I joked that this is what retirement might feel like… we pottered around the house and garden and got stuck into a number of long-delayed gardening and DIY projects.

As my work and home-life are so closely entwined, and with both me and Duncan working for ourselves, we decided to look at our online presence. One project that interested me was to try my hand at making short cookery videos; you may have seen one or two already. I’ve now started my own YouTube channel and I invite you to have a look. Please subscribe and click the bell symbol for notifications of new movies.

My latest video is for the making of quince paste. Please take a look… and if you have quinces in your garden, market or store, I encourage you to have a go!

 

Quince Paste

Ingredients

  • 500g – 1kg quinces
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1⁄2 cup of lemon juice
  • White sugar (the exact amount will depend on how much cooked quince you end up with)

Method

1. Roughly chop the quinces up – you can leave the skin and cores in place. Cover and cook them in a large pot with the water and lemon juice for about 1⁄2 an hour, until you can slide a knife easily into the flesh.

2. Push the cooked quince through a coarse sieve, or us- ing your hands, quish out the core and peel off the skin. You may need to mash it up a bit with a potato masher or blend it a bit at this point.

3. Put it back in the pan using a cup so you can measure
it as you go, and use the same amount of sugar, then cook and stir the jam regularly (it will stick otherwise) until the mixture has turned a rich golden brown and you can pull a spoon through it and leave a ‘furrow’ in the paste.

4. Grease a tray or shallow pan with oil and using a spatula shape the quince mixture into a flat rectangle. Cool, then put in the fridge for an hour or so, then cut into cubes and enjoy! Should last in the fridge for six months (if you don’t eat it first!)

If you want a bit more lifestyle in your life, check out my new book, Coastal!

My recently-released book, Coastal – living the coastal life, cooking for the coastal table has reached its first milestone with 500 copies sold!

The themes of the book chime so well with the conversations we’ve all been having about living more sustainable lives that I feel optimistic about the future and am looking forward to getting more copies out to cafés, gift stores and bookshops.

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