Thursday, November 22

Culinary diversion

I make no apologies for this brief diversion away from the subjects of learning to spin, knitting, curtains, and interior decor. It is That Time of Year, and if you haven't yet made your Christmas mincemeat, now is the time to do so.

What do you mean, you don't make mincemeat?! Why ever not? Why rely on that brandy-soaked, candied-peel-stuffed, over-sugared and under-fruited yuk that gets put on the supermarket shelves year after year?

In my opinion, alcohol (particularly of the spirit variety) should not be consumed via the medium of trifle, fruit cake, christmas pudding or any sort of dessert. It should be drunk, from a glass, and on occasion from the can/bottle, or if it is of the wine or beer variety, incorporated into savoury dishes.

And I feel much more strongly about the afore-mentioned candied peel. This is the devil's spawn, it should never have been invented and has no place in any kind of food intended for human consumption. Particularly teacakes and scones. I hope that is clear.

Which is why you will find neither brandy nor mixed peel in the following family recipe for mincemeat. This is my mum's recipe, which I assume is handed down from the Naylor side of the family. It's lovely, easy to make, and involves no cooking; make it now and give it time to mature before christmas. It should keep for many months without a problem (although it's not recommended to keep it too long if you use butter as the fat).

The following recipe is the full quantity; unless you have a large family or lots of people to give it away to, I suggest halving the quantities.

450g cooking apple (peeled and cored)
450g sultanas
450g raisins
700g sugar
juice and rind of a lemon
1tsp mixed spice
1/2tsp nutmeg
225g-340g vegetable suet (or butter, or beef suet which is the traditional version!)
one box of trifle sponges

Grate the apple into a large bowl.
Add the fruit, sugar, lemon juice and rind, spice and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly.
Add the suet, mix again. If using butter, soften it first.
Crumble in the trifle sponges, mix thoroughly.
Cover and leave overnight, then put into sterilised jars.

Leave to mature, ready for christmas!


Rowan said...

can I point out that there's no point making mincemeat if you're going to make a christmas cake? I did both last year as we had guests staying over the festive season, and they ate the cake rather than the mince pies. So I only made one load of mince pies and had a load of mincemeat left over. Normally, in a cake-free house, they get devoured.

Knit Nurse said...

euww! I'm afraid my feelings about christmas cake and christmas pudding are approximately the same as for commercial mincemeat. Too much peel and alcohol.

Rowan said...

I'm a sucker for shop bought mince pies. Everyone tells me that my home -made ones are lovely, but I'm not convinced. I like the sweet pastry that you get in shop bought ones but that is too massive a faff to make yourself, imo. Makes the pastry very short and difficult to roll out to the proper thickness without splitting.

But if you make your own cake, you can limit the amount of peel you put in, surely? I don't really like xmas cake, tbh - although I do like the icing and marzipan, and I did homemade last year which was v nice - but feeding it booze for 10 weeks before christmas did make it much more palatable.