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.
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!
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!