The quince is an extraordinary fruit – when it is ripe it looks beautiful and smells lovely, but if you take a bite of a raw quince it tastes terrible. They are, however, absolutely glorious when cooked, and so versatile – fantastic with anything from fish to foie gras. The smell of quince paste, which I still make in the restaurant, reminds me so much of my childhood. My mother and grandmother both made it and in winter the whole house would be filled with the smell.
As for prickly