It’s that time of year when the house just has to smell of all things spice and brown sugar. So, even if I am too chicken to put the central heating on (the bills the bills!) we still get a warm glow from the scent of all spice and cinnamon.
It’s time to get into the kitchen and find the large mixing bowl.
Then, in no particular order fill the bowl with the following:
1 lb of cranberries; I use 8 oz each of fresh and dried.
3lbs of mixed dried fruit; sultanas, raisins,chopped dates, chopped dried apricots, blueberries, a few bits of dried pineapple chopped and some chopped glace cherries. You can make your own mix.
8oz of chopped bramley apple (it’s about one largish apple).
8 oz suet ( one box of veg suet)
Liquid: I add about a teaspoon of orange oil and a teaspoon of Vanilla extract with about a cup of orange juice.
If you want alcohol I recommend a splash of orange juice with four or five tablespoons of brandy and if you can get it a generous splash of AfterShock.
Add a generous teaspoon of allspice and another of cinnamon (l
ess if you’ve used the AfterShock) and perhaps a little Sweet spice (mixed spice).
Stir it in and add 10 oz of brown sugar; 5oz dark and 5 oz light.
about 4 oz of ground almonds
Mix it in and let it stand for a while-overnight if you like. Then you can jar it like that. But apparently Dear ol’Delia recommends heating it up to get the suet to melt and coat the fruit so it all lasts longer and seals in the flavour. It also makes extra lovely-house-smell. So you can put it in a baking dish and leave in the oven set to low for a couple of hours or do as I do and put it in the slow cooker for a couple of hours on low.
Now, as all good home educating mothers probably know; that recipe isn’t proper mincemeat. It’s not the kind of thing Cromwell would have banned (well he probably would have) but what was actually banned was proper, filling, hot Christmas, enjoying-yourself-too-much mincemeat. So, if it was good enough to be banned you just got to make it:
3 lbs of fresh minced beef (some people use lamb).
Now it is recommended that you add 1 1/2 pounds of suet but even lean beef has some fat to it and let’s face it- who wants a heart attack at Christmas so I add less than two boxes (1 lb) of veg suet.
1 lb raisins
1 lb currants
1 lb sultanas slightly chopped.
zest and juice of one lemon and one orange
8 oz brown sugar
8 oz ground almonds
1lb of chopped peeled apple; bramley/cox anything with firm flesh and good flavour (English not French)
20z chopped ginger and a generous teaspoon of ground ginger
teaspoon of grated nutmeg (symbolises frankincense)
2 teaspoon of allspice and a teaspoon of cinnamon. (gold)
about five cloves ( myrrh)
Mix it well and leave covered for a day at lea
cook through slowly in pan on low hob or slow cooker on low. Make into pies with a short crust pastry or puff or filo.
I haven’t made real pies yet- but if I get around to it, I’ll let you know. You can add a splash of something alchoholic if you like 🙂
If you do add alcohol to food and have it at church sales etc. Do label it properly for the sake of our beloved ones climbing those 12 steps for Christmas in AA.