English Mead Jelly with Cornish Fairings


  • 6 sheets or teaspoons gelatine
  • 600 mls (1 pint) English mead
  • 200 mls (7 oz) English white wine
  • slice or two of nutmeg, cinnamon stick or blade of mace
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste sugar or English honey, to taste
Makes 2 dozen Cornish fairings
  • 200 g (7 oz) self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • pinch of saffron, rubbed to a powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 175 g (6 oz) golden caster or light muscovado sugar
  • 175 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened


Soak the gelatine in about 3 tablespoons cold water in a large jug or bowl until soft. Put the mead and wine in a saucepan, bring to the boil and add the spice. Steep for 15 minutes and strain over the gelatine. Sharpen with the lemon juice and sweeten with sugar if you think it needs it, then pour into your most elaborate jelly mould. When set, turn out and serve with Cornish fairings and clotted cream. Alternatively, set in a terrine and serve slices of the jelly on individual plates with two or three biscuits and a scoop of cream or vanilla ice cream.

Sift the dry ingredients together, and cream the sugar and butter. Stir the two together, mixing thoroughly. Form the mixture into twenty-four balls. Place on greased or lined baking trays, and press down with the base of a glass – a decorative one if you wish.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

These will stay crisp for a few days if put in an airtight container, once completely cold.