I adore quince jelly; it goes so well with both savoury and sweet. It’s the perfect Christmas accompaniment and a worthy partner to any cheeseboard. Here I’ve paired it with oatcakes – another must have on my Christmas snack list.
1kg ripe quince (washed but no need to quarter and core – this recipe allows them to be cooked whole)
1 lemon, peeled zest and juice
700g preserving sugar
(you may need less)
2 litres of water
Put the whole quince, lemon juice and zest into a large, deep pan. Cover with water (approx 2l) and bring to the boil. Reduce until simmering and then cook for at least an hour (you may need longer), until the quince is very soft and is coming apart in the pan.
Scald a jelly bag with hot water (if you do not have a jelly bag then a muslin cloth will do) and use it to line a colander or jam strainer. Tip the boiled fruit mixture into the lined bag and leave to strain for 4-8 hours (or overnight) until all the juice has dripped out. Discard the pulp then place the liquid into a measuring jug to determine how much you have.
Add the juice into a deep saucepan and add 550g of sugar for every 600ml of juice. Bring to the boil over a low heat and stir constantly to dissolve the sugar. Now bring to a rapid bubble and cook until the temperature reaches 105C on a thermometer. Remove any fruit scum from the ladle, then pour the mixture into hot, sterilised jars and seal. These wee golden pots of joy will keep for up to a year in a cool, dark cupboard. Perfect as Christmas gifts for families and for using over the festive period.
25g jumbo oats
75g rolled oats
30g salted butter, melted
1tsp black pepper
3-6 tbsp of hot water
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160F/ gas mark 4. These oatcakes have a bit of texture, but if you want them smoother then add more oatmeal and reduce the amount of rolled and/or porridge oats.
In a large bowl, mix the oats together with the melted butter until combined. Now slowly add a little hot water until the mix forms a sticky ball. Don’t add too much, just 2-3 tbsp at a time until it’s absorbed. If you need to add more, do it little by little and then knead the mix with your hands and then form into a ball.
From there transfer onto a flat surface to roll out (sprinkle the surface with a little flour to stop it sticking). Roll the mixture out so it’s approx 1/2 cm thick and use a glass or biscuit cutter to cut the dough into circles, then move to your baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes turning once in that time. Allow to cool then serve with quince jelly and your favourite cheese.
Gary Townsend is head chef at One Devonshire Gardens by Hotel du Vin, Glasgow. See www.hotelduvin.com or phone 0141 378 0385 to book.