I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t feel like Christmas is this weekend, perhaps because I’m still at work. I’m looking forward to having time with family and, especially, time to focus on seeking God and what His plans are for my life next year. A year that holds quite a bit of change but also some of the same. For me, Christmas is a good time to be still, to reflect, and to give my hopes and dreams to God, who loved me so much that He sent His Son to earth to live as a man and to die for my sin. Because life has been pretty busy, I’m very behind on Christmas preparations (though we have progressed enough to have a tree up!). Thankfully this mincemeat is very easy and doesn’t need to mature for ages to taste good. I’ve yet to come up with fantastic pastry to go along with the mincemeat and make awesome mince pies, so that will have to be a goal for next year. Until then, if you (like me) are doing things at the last minute and want some homemade mincemeat, why not have a go at this one? I’ve made this mincemeat for about the last four years (except last year when we went to South Africa for Christmas) and love it much more than bought mincemeat. The recipe is adapted from the Home-Made Christmas Mincemeat recipe in Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course. As usual, all the cup measurements are based on a 250 ml mug as equal to one cup. This makes about four to five smallish jars of mincemeat.
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup suet
1 1/2 cups raisins
2 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit, sultanas and/or currents (just choose some or one of each to make up the right quantity)
200 gram pack glace cherries
1 cup dark brown sugar
Rind and juice of two oranges
Rind and juice of two lemons
1 1/2 cups flaked almonds
3 teaspoons ground mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup brandy, divided into 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup
What to do:
1. Peel and core the apples and then chop them as finely as you can and then put the chopped apples in a large bowl.
2. Add all the other ingredients, except the 1/2 cup of brandy, to the bowl and stir together well.
3. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1 (140º C or 275º F). Tip all the ingredients from the bowl into a large baking pan and put the pan in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about two hours. Stir everything in the pan around well once or twice during the cooking process.
4. After a couple of hours, remove the pan from the oven and leave aside until cool.
5. When cool, tip the mixture from the pan into a large bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of brandy to the bowl and stir well.
6. Store the mincemeat in sterilised jars if you are organised (which I am not) or (like me) make mince pies straight from the bowl and then rummage around for some clean jars for the leftover mincemeat which you know will be gone before the need for sterilised storage becomes a problem.