It’s official, I now feel Christmassy. First thing this morning we were in Derby for Hubby to do an exam so I took the opportunity to visit the huge new shopping center there and found a fab cook shop, so naturally had to buy a new sieve and silicon pastry brush. I could have spent a great deal more if Christmas wasn’t just around the corner. The Salvation Army band were playing Christmas songs which gave a great festive air.
On the way home we picked up our Christmas tree…which strangely smells of Gin & Tonic (not that I’m complaining!) and decorated it while drinking mulled wine.
Then this evening, at our local National Trust park, they had an illuminated Christmas tree trail. During the day families had decorated various trees with decorations made from recycled products (e.g. CD’s, plastic bottles) then as night fell candles were lit everywhere. It looked beautiful. I didn’t take my camera as usually photography isn’t allowed, but I noticed loads of people were taking pics so I might go back with my camera Sunday night.
Today I eventually got around to make my mincemeat ready for the marathon Christmas baking fest on Sunday. I don’t know why, but I’m funny about suet in mincemeat so I was really happy when I came across this recipe in Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess a few years back. The only alteration I made was to add cranberries.
Hettie Potter’s suet-free mincemeat
Makes about 2kg
250g soft dark sugar
250ml medium dry cider
1 kg cooking apples, peeled, halved and quartered
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
75g glace cherries, roughly chopped
75g blanched almonds,
finely chopped rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
6 tbsp brandy or rum
In large saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the cider over a gentle heat. Add the roughly chopped apples to the saucepan. Add all the ingredients, apart from brandy/rum and simmer for around 30 min until everything has a pulpy consistency. Take off the heat and when it has cooled slightly stir in brandy/rum.