Living in the bush means that I don't have many fruit trees, but from time to time I am lucky enough to get fruit from friend's trees.
One of my favourite has to be quince; it looks so retro and photogenic (ok, I am talking about my dress as well!) and I love quince paste! But this year I decided to make quince jelly, just for a change.
Cut the quinces and remove the pips, add the juice of half a lemon and then place into a pot with a little water. Cook until the quinces are a soft mush. Now you will have to place this 'mass' into a jelly bag or cloth (I use a cotton pillowcase which I bought just to make jellies) and hung it overnight over a bowl to collect the juices. Drip drip drip you will collect some lovely red-orange coloured juice, but do not squeeze the bag, or the jelly will become cloudy!
Measure the juice and add the same amount in sugar. Bring to boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Test to see if the jelly is setting by picking up a little on a teaspoon: if it hardens when cold then the jelly is ready, otherwise boil it a little longer. Once ready pour into a rectangular container. After a few minutes skin the top (this will have all the 'scum' which rises to the surface and needs to be discarded).
Let the jelly set for a few days, then cut into cubes and serve.
I got the plums from Arfi, when I went to her house for an Auckland food bloggers get-together.
Wash the plums and place them in a large saucepan with a little water. Bring the fruit to a gentle boil.
Simmer the jam for about 20 minutes and then pass through a sieve, discarding the stones.
Put back into the pot and bring back to the boil. Add the sugar (I used 60% sugar to the weight of the fruit) and stir well. Simmer until you are happy with the consistency (the more you cook it, the thicker the paste. You can also add an apple (not peeled, just chopped and pips removed) for a thicker paste.
Place the paste into plastic containers, jelly moulds, cups... anywhere you can let it set for a few weeks. I used a silicon muffin tray.
When you need to use the paste tip it over a plate. I did this a bit too early (I couldn't wait to try it) and the top was still soft, but the longer you wait the harder it will become.
And for my cuppa: One of my favourite hot drinks: lemon, fresh ginger (peel it first) and a few mint leaves from the garden. All into the teapot, add boiling water and let it rest for 5 minutes. Serve with honey, if you like.
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©