Quincey, pudding examiner

It's cold outside, bleak, wintry. The pile of quinces on the kitchen counter hasn't moved for a week and some of them are on the turn.
Unlike the pumpkins still on the windowsill these needed to be used quickly. 
A version of a Tarte Tatin seemed the solution, as it could well be for many of life's problems.

Peel and core the quince, (about six or so went into this).
I used the peelings and cores to make a syrup: sugar, water, a cinnamon stick, a pinch of saffron-- then poach them in water for about 15 minutes, until tender, but still firm to the touch. I then mixed them in about 4 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar left over from the 'skillingsboller' Maya and I made on Sunday which Noah then ate most of.

Then, proceed in the way you would if making an apple Tatin, that is to say melt and caramelise some sugar in a heavy, wide, oven-proof pan or tatin dish and layer the quince down. Cook for a few minutes before covering with the puff pastry* and gently tucking it in around the edges as if putting it to bed (you can also use shortcrust if you prefer, but you will be wrong).

Cook in a fairly hot oven (200c) for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden. Leave to cool for a while before turning out onto a plate, sprinkling over the hazelnuts and giving a drizzle of syrup if you have any. Serve with creme fraiche.

*Some frozen puff pastry (homemade is obviously better, but I didn't fancy it today, and I had a roll to use up) defrosted and rolled a little thinner is fine for this and makes the whole thing a really quick yet impressive pudding.

Scone with the wind

Maya's off school ill today. And somehow, come 9.30 this morning, she has made what medical science would term a miraculous recovery. I've never seen someone less ill.So there was nothing for it but to make a batch of scones using the buttermilk I had leftover from  some homemade butter as a way to entertain and feed both of us.Looking after Maya is enough to build up an appetite that Babette would struggle to cater for, so after breakfast we started these to be sure they were ready for that terrible mid-morning point where the feebly underfed among us could be catered for.We made enough to feed the entire East Grinstead Women's Institute (had they been passing) and put the homemade butter to good use. The remainder of my mother in law's delicious jam was soon demolished and having left some scones on the plate for when Noah gets back from school this afternoon, still suspicious of his little sister's day off, we both needed a little lie down. Sadly, due to the sugar rush, this didn't happen and I found myself knee-deep in Play-Doh.This recipe makes a lot, but they freeze well once cooked. Halve it if you fancy just making a few. The buttermilk makes them so light and fluffy (use normal milk if you don't have any ) and they are so easy to make, even a sick child can do it.Ingredients400g self-raising flour (although I use plain flour and add 2tsp baking powder per 150g)2tsp baking powder (yes, a little extra)100g chilled butter, cubed100g golden caster sugar2 eggs, beaten280ml buttermilkA pinch of saltMethodHeat the oven to 180c/gas 7 and line a baking sheet with parchmentMix the flour (sifted into the mixing bowl), baking sugar and butter until it becomes breadcrumb-like. I use a pastry blender which is most excellent, but you can use your fingertips.Stir in the sugar and salt until well mixed.Mix together the buttermilk and beaten egg and pour most of in with the flour, keeping some back to glaze the tops.Knead quickly together to form a soft and fairly moist dough, roll out to 3cm thick and using a mini round pastry cutter (fluted or not, up to you) cut the scones.Glaze the top of each and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until they are turning golden on top. Remove, leave to cool, split and serve with butter and jam. Not clotted cream, not whipped cream, butter.