Monday, 24 November 2014

Make it Monday - Homemade Mincemeat

At the weekend I got a proper start on my festive baking.

I've already made a few batches of mince pies since the beginning of November using shop bought mincemeat, but it's not until I make up a batch of the homemade stuff that I feel like my Christmas baking has begun.

Why bother making your own mincemeat though? 

Isn't it one more thing to add to the list of things needing done for Christmas?

Well, I don't think so. I'm not suggesting there is anything wrong with ready made mincemeat. Or that there is something superwoman and domestic goddess-y about making your own. I just think this tastes nicer, and feels more homely. And it is so straightforward and easy to make that it isn't burdensome at all.

With all our food allergies it is always good to make something at home too, as you know exactly what you are eating.

The fabulously Christmassy smell as it cooks is an added bonus. A smell so good that it will even get the teenager in your house out of bed earlier than usual on a Saturday morning to see what is cooking!

I first came across a homemade mincemeat recipe in Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess and my recipe is one that I have adapted from hers over the years.

You will need:

250g brown sugar
250ml orange juice 
1kg cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
500g mixed dried fruit
100g glace cherries, washed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 lemon - grated rind of it and the juice of half of it
3-4 tablespoons port (optional)

~Put the sugar and orange juice in a pan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved.
~Add everything else except for the port and let it bubble away on a medium to low heat for around 30 minutes. It should look all soft and mushy when it is ready.
~Let it cool for a little while and then, if you are adding it, add the port and stir it in.
~Put into clean, sterilised jars.

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