Well - if you have followed Twitter and/or the newspaper and television/radio news you will be aware that the estimable Rt Hon Tessa Munt MP has very cogently raised the issues surrounding the proposed changes to the Jam and Similar Products (England) 2003 regulations. They are shortly due to be debated in Parliament so the time is ripe to make a noise and let your MP know how you feel about the proposed changes. To help you get the picture on what is happening you could re-read my various blogs below in May where I set out the position as I understand it. I have also put a link to Tessa Munt's speech should you want to view
Nevertheless, this week was unexpectedly hijacked by radio interviews, mad dashes to television studios, phone calls from newspapers and the Press Association - non of my planned work got done and I have been playing catchup ever since. It is very important though to give this subject our attention before it is too late.
I have been catching up today making a large batch of Piccalilli - there are always lots of orders for this at Christmas. As I tweeted this morning, I was going to try incorporating some of the lovely quince I have been given and calling it Quincililli - in the end I made a version of Mostardo di Frutta with the quince. I do love this rich delicacy - fiercely hot but rich and fruity at the same time. Elegant with good cheese and crackers, always a show stopper. I made it like this:-
Add 115g/4oz mustard powder to 300ml/half pint water in a bowl, cover and leave to stand for at least one hour
Peel and chop 450g/1lb quince and place in a pan with around 600ml/1 pint water. Cover and cook until soft, stirring often
Meanwhile roughly chop 115g/4oz each dried figs, glace cherries, dried ready-to-eat apricots, and add 115g/4oz each dried, ready-to-eat cranberries, raisins, and chopped candied ginger
Put 300ml/half pint white wine or cider vinegar in a preserving pan and add 115g/4oz soft brown sugar and stir over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and cook the syrup until slightly thickened, add the cooked quince, the dried fruits, the mustard mixture and 1 teaspoon sea salt.
Stir to combine and then cook until the mixture has thickened
Pot into warmed sterilised jars and seal tightly
Leave for around 6 weeks to mature before use - just right for Christmas!
I also made some Quincemeat!
Starting with two very large quince, I peeled and chopped them small, poached them in enough water to prevent sticking, stirring often. I added 450g/600ml de-stoned and chopped plums, and the zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon.
Once they are all soft add 225g/half pound butter and gently melt into the fruit, add 450g/1lb each of raisins, sultanas, currants and soft brown sugar. Chop 115g/4oz glace cherries and add to the pan together with 2 teaspoons mixed spice and a good grating of nutmeg. You could add 115g/4oz chopped nuts as well if you like.
Cook all together for about 20 minutes until richly dark and unctious! Take of the heat and slosh in some brandy if liked. Pot into warm, sterilised jars and seal tightly.
A fresher, sharper flavour than 'normal' mincemeat, I am looking forward to using mine perhaps by make some palmiers by spreading on puff pastry, rolling up and cutting into slices and baking for around 15 mins in a medium oven. A delicious idea from one of my class members - thanks Lisa!
Here is a link to Tessa Munt's speech if you would like to watch it
Sorry - forgot to add file!
Further to my most recent blog I am attaching the Consultees list that names the people and companies supposedly working wirth Defra on the new jam regulations. When all of this was first announced I registered on the Defra website to be notified when the consultation opened - both as Rosie Makes and The Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers. Needless to say I was not sent the email that was promised, and we are not on the Consultee list. I also emailed Vince Cable's office on the official contact form, both at his surgery and parliament - no reply.
I have attached the Consultee list for you to see and I have listed the companies and individuals who have anything to do with jam, in red. For the rest, I have researched what the companies do and there are some surprising inclusions for a consultation over Jam and Similar Products - have a look through. Indian foods, chocolate manufacturers, South African Biltong, frozen fish and meats, Pizza Hut etc etc.
Only 35 of the 129 Consultees are jam related and before she went on holiday Vivien Lloyd rang 13 of the 35 and only one had had a letter about the consultation. The rest were unaware of the situation. Obviously Defra are intending to rubber stamp the proposed changes and the Consultee list is cosmetic only, as very few of the Consultees have actually been consulted.They are assuming that no-one will look at this or take any notice of what is happening. Who are Defra anyway, to be qualified to make these decisions - who is actually doing this? Is it a committee, an individual - a government minister or department - how does it work?
21 of the 129 Consultees are honey producers.
The decision on the new regulations are going to be taken by people and companies that ARE PREDOMINATELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE INDUSTRY.
To prevent this YOU need to make a representation to Defra via the official form which can be found on their website - you have until 22 May to do this. Please do not let these new laws be adopted through sheer apathy - you have a right to make representation. MAKE A NOISE!
There has been much in the news and on Twitter recently regarding the proposal bt Defra to change the law for Jam and Similar Products.(England) 2013.
Now, if you are an Artisan or commercial manufacturer you must go to the Defra website, please, and register your views before the closing date for the consultation which is 22 May 2013.
If you an enthusiastic amateur it would be great if you could spare the time to do the same - we are in danger here of losing our heritage and tradition for the sake of commercialism. There was a very good article in The Mail on Sunday last week by Valerie Elliott setting out what is going on. The article can be found here - please read it as it explains what is happening really well. You can then go to the Defra website and make your views known here
I am going to formulate my response to the consultation over this weekend but fundamentally it will be based on a letter I composed to send to Defra when I first heard about these proposals. I will provide a link for you to read it but I won't actually be sending it as I need to reply to the specific questions in the consultation. It will tell you, however, how I feel about the situation. I have also put a link to the current laws for you.
Vivien Lloyd, who also features in the article, is running a petition which you can sign here. Just click on the big jar of jam and it will take you through to where you can add your name to the petition - please do.
Please do your bit for British Jam.