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
Enough galivanting around the countryside winning awards - back to work now. I have a lot of stock to get made, my new labels to re-brand the products as 'Rosie Makes' - I don't know about you but labeling takes up more time than anything else. It all looks really smart though - good old Trev, coming up with another great design. I've been making more marmalade - chunky and fine shred, plus experimenting with a Seville Orange & Date Chutney. If it turns out well I'll post the recipe for you later. There is some more Souper Mix which I can't make fast enough, frankly, it is sooo popular, and today it's been Fiery Bengal Chutney with Scotch Bonnet Chillies. We are off to Legoland tomorrow until Saturday with the little guys but Sunday will be Piccalilli I think.
While I have been making I have also been trying to photograph what I am doing so that the library of 'stills' gets more comprehensive. Not easy balancing the camera whilst stirring the pans! There is going to be an accident one of these days! I am really pleased with the mobile recipe site I have devised it so that you can look up recipes on the go and soon you will be able to interrogate the site to find all that you need really easily. The problem is some of the recipes don't have photographs yet so it is those gaps I am trying to fill first. So bear with me, I will get there. There are just a couple of what I took today at the bottom of the page so a good start.
I'll just leave you the lovely recipe for Apple, Pear and Plum Jam which I also made this week - it is easy to make at the moment as there is not much around to get excited about and it is very delicious!
Apple, Pear and Plum Jam
Makes around 4.5 - 5kgs / 10-11lb
900g/2lbs cooking apples, peeled and cored
900g/2lbs pears, peeled and cored
900g/2lbs plums - I used up some frozen ones I had ( make sure the stones are removed )
grated juice and zest of one large lemon
2.5 kgs/5lbs 4oz sugar
Prep all of the fruits and then put into a large preserving pan with the lemon juice.
Cook until it is softened then add the sugar off of the heat.
Stir until dissolved and then return to the heat and bring to a rolling boil.
Boil rapidly for 15-20 mins until setting point is reached.
Pot up the jam into warm jars - and enjoy.
There are still some places left on my regular classes and the new Master Classes are now available - phone or email me for more details. Next Professional Day for Artisans at The Old Smithy is May 24