Mostarda is an Italian dish of candied fruit and mustard syrup. This version was inspired by the Venetian mostarda vicentina, which is more of a chutney and makes good use of the quinces that are in season now. I think it works particularly well with aged sheep’s and goat’s cheeses giving the pungent dairy a pleasant kick of sweet and spicy. It also makes a change from membrillo, which unless you buy a particularly good one can be cloying.
• 1kg quince (or cooking apples if you prefer), peeled, cored and chopped into 2cm pieces
• 500ml grape juice
• 500g sugar
• 2 sticks cinnamon
• 3 lemons, peel and juice (peel, removed the pith and pips, cut peel into thin slivers, then squeeze out the juice)
• 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 tbsp mustard seeds
Stew the quince in the grape juice, sugar, and cinnamon until tender (adding a bit of water if it starts to dry out). Add the lemon peel, lemon juice, mustard and mustard seeds and cook until it has a jammy consistency. Decant into sterilised jars while still hot and seal. The mostarda will keep for several months in a cool, dark place (it makes great Christmas presents). If you prefer a smoother texture, leave it to cool slightly before jarring and blend. Also goes well with cold meat cuts.