I don't know about you, but it always surprises me that Autumn is so busy in the kitchen. I guess I feel like bottling and making jam is so summery, so the bags of stuff that turn up in my kitchen in Autumn almost catch me out. I was given a big bucket of fresh figs, two boxes of quinces, a bucket of pears, and two big shopping bags full of apples; one sort the nice eating kind, the other sort sour cookers.
Dealing with the figs first, I made some Fig and Ginger Chutney following this recipe here, only I didn't use the dried figs, substituting 1 cup of raisins instead. It's very delicious. This recipe is a keeper.
Next, fig and lemon jam (500 g fresh fig flesh, rind and juice of two lemons, and one sour apple, peeled and grated. Simmer all ingredients together for about 20 min until soft, then add 2 c sugar. Boil until you reach a set). This jam is quite nice, it's very sweet though and personally I like a little more tang to my jam. (I wish I could work that into conversation more often...I like a little more tang to my jam).
And then the quinces....I had seen a slowcooker recipe for making quince paste and the idea of that had me so excited I just can't even describe it. I charged ahead and put my cored unpeeled quince quarters in the slowcooker with some water and lemon juice, and cooked it on low over night. Next morning, I sieved the pulp, added an equal weight of sugar, and cooked it on high all day. And....it didn't set. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious and dark and fruity, but nonetheless, unset. Just like quince paste, only sludgey.
Hmmmm. I thought about it long and hard, and after much deliberation I decided that the slowcooker was perhaps not the best way to do the first phase. My special booklet about jams and jellies has it that 40 min max. is best for the first cooking phase, because otherwise you destroy the pectin. Now I know it's true.
When in need of something that really works, look no further than Alison Holst, that's what I always say. Her recipe for quince paste is here. I threw out the failed quince paste and started again. I let it set in oiled friand tins and here it is. There, that's what I was after. I store mine individually wrapped in the freezer.
Num num num num. My favourite way to eat it is with cheese and crackers or on toast with butter.
We took it with us when we went down to the wild and windy west coast to visit the Pancake Rocks. If you visit, you really must go at high tide, because look what happens.
I love Nature.