As for the quinces, with their subtle, appley fragrance--she suggests making quince paste. She enclosed a recipe for cotognata (Italian) that refers to the nuns making it and pressing it into special ceramic dishes. I do love quinces, but not quince paste; it's just a little too medieval for me. Luckily, I have Jane Grigson's Fruit Book, which has some great quince recipes and this wonderful poem about quinces, composed by Shafur ben Utman al-Mushafi, an Arabic-Andalusian poet who died in 982:
It is yellow in color, as if it wore a daffodilThis is the kind of thing I adore Jane Grigson for. I think I will make Quinces Baked in the French Style (sort of like baked apples) with them, after I enjoy them for a while in their glass bowl.
tunic, and it smells like musk, a penetrating smell.
It has the perfume of a loved woman and the same
hardness of heart, but it has the color of the
impassioned and scrawny lover.
Its pallor is borrowed from my pallor; its smell
is my sweetheart's breath.
When it stood fragrant on the bough and the leaves
had woven for it a covering of brocade,
I gently put up my hand to pluck it and to set it
like a censer in the middle of my room.
It had a cloak of ash-colored down hovering over
its smooth golden body,
and when it lay naked in my hand, with nothing more than
its daffodil-colored shift,
it made me think of her I cannot mention, and I feared
the ardor of my breath would shrivel it in my fingers.