Thursday, 4 December 2008

Happy Christmas

I couldn't throw this magazine cover away, it's been in my filing system since 1987.

The weather at the moment is certainly seasonal, but I wouldn’t normally be wishing everyone a happy Christmas in the first week of December. I’m one of those people who is intensely irritated by ‘festive jingles’ inflicted on us when shopping in November and early December. But I do love Christmas, and most of all the preparation for it all, planning, baking, who is going to visit who, and when and where, choosing a tree – the whole lot.

I was going to post my favourite mincemeat recipe last year, and it’s even a bit late for this year, but it will still be delicious. It comes from Good Housekeeping December 1989.

I particularly like it because it is not overly sweet and makes excellent mincemeat slices, the ones made with porridge oats. Here is the recipe.


50g (2oz) each pecan nuts and blanched almonds
125g (4oz) no-soak dried apricots
50g (2oz) dried figs
50g (2oz) stoned dried dates
350g (12oz) cooking apples
250g (9oz) sultanas
175g (6oz) shredded suet
2 medium oranges
5ml (1 level tsp) each ground cinnamon and grated nutmeg
1.25ml (¼ level tsp) ground allspice
125g (4oz) soft dark brown sugar
300ml (10fl.oz) brandy

1 Finely chop the nuts, apricots, figs
and dates. Peel, core and finely chop the
apples. Place in a non metallic bowl with
the sultanas, suet, finely grated orange
rind, strained juice and spices. Mix well
with the sugar and brandy.

2 Cover and leave the mixture to stand
overnight. Stir well then pack tightly
into sterilised jars. Seal.

3 Store for about 6 weeks before using.
TO FREEZE: After 6 weeks' maturing,
pack into freezer containers and freeze.
TO USE: Thaw at cool room temperature overnight.

MAKES ABOUT 1.1kg (2½ lbs)

Happy Christmas, Everyone!