Bandicooting 101

To Bandicoot is to steal food with elan.

I refer you to this excellent summary of how this lovely colloquial verb made it into Norman Lindsay, and why it describes the practice of removing a few potatoes from the mound of earth they’re growing in without digging out the lot, harvesting them as needed. Like the little marsupial for which the practice is named, I woke this morning with a twitching, a feeling that today was indeed the day to sally forth and steal fruit. Only neglected fruit. Fruit that was sad that no-one was appreciating it.

Going Equipped to B & E (Bandicoot and Eat)

  • Mental map of local trees and sharp eye for new ones
  • A basket (being open about what you’re doing deflects abuse, somehow)
  • Secateurs (shouldn’t need them if fruit is ripe) to cut away blackberries
  • Breezy demeanour
  • Knowledge of local bylaws regarding fruit pendulous over fences is helpful
  • Forgiving attitude regarding codlin moth (you’re going to cut them up anyway)
  • The truly organised might bring a jar of last year’s jam to appease any furious tree owners

Today’s bounty is below. Several kilos of beautiful crab apples and some tart, large cookers. All pretty codlin free. I’m aiming to use Maggie Beer‘s recipe for spiced crab apples in the Vacola, and also to try  her crab apple and sage jelly. Then I will be back to the tree for more.

My Breakfast Poached Quinces

+Fill pot with peeled, cored and sliced quinces (two or three are plenty) Don’t worry if they brown a little.
+Add enough apple juice (real apple juice, not reconstituted) to almost cover quinces.
+Blob on some honey – depending on your sweet tooth. I like about two tablespoons.
+Add spices – you could use star anise, cardamom pods just split, cinnamon sticks, cloves, a splash of rosewater, vanilla bean, lemon or lime peel, use your imagination, but not too many at once.
+Cook on very low heat on stovetop with lid on pot for at least half an hour, longer if you want a deeper color. An hour is better.
+Keep in fridge and add to too-hot porridge to tuck in immediately. Once you’ve eaten the quinces, the left-over concentrate  is lovely stirred in yoghurt or poured on ice-cream.


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