June 26, 2011
Ever since I visited New Grange in Ireland I have fancied a Solstice sun-path of my own. Long before we brought Mowbray to this site, I had dreamed of building a house which contained a window or light box to acknowledge the limits of the Sun's rising.
There was nothing of that planning in the siting of Mowbray. Two weeks from the germ of an idea to the house's placement on the land, left little time for fine-tuning, in what was really a rescue operation.
But serendipity played a hand, and the rising sun does indeed shaft through my front door and along the hallway at this time of the year.
From the Skudder House my mother used to watch the rising sun creeping closer and closer to the MDF mill; her heel stones were its steam towers turned to molten gold with the promise of longer days to come.
Sweet Solstice Tart
What with the glut of quince and feijoas this year, I thought that they deserved a place on our Midwinter Dinner table. Cooked quince loses its gritty texture but feijoas retain it.
Peel and core 2 or 3 quinces,
chop flesh into bite-sized pieces
and simmer - just covered with water -as you would apples,
for about 5 mins or until soft.
Peel and slice half a dozen feijoas to complement quince pieces.
Lay a sheet of prepared puff or short pastry on a floured baking tray.
Scatter drained quince and feijoa slices
over pastry with a handful of big sticky raisins.
Drizzle over half a cup of crabapple or quince jelly,
which has been heated with a couple of tablespoons of water.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.
Serve with cream or ice-cream or custard
or all three!
(Stickily good eaten cold next day)