Christmas, Family, Food, Uncategorized

Christmas Prep: Mincemeat

I might do a bit of a series of how I’m preparing for Christmas – I might not, this might be the only thing I can think of to write about.

We’re hosting Christmas in 2021 – my parents are free to travel at last (after my Gran died in April, previous years they always stayed at home so that she could visit them for the day) and my brother and his wife have booked a room in a pub just a mile away. I’m a bit daunted by the whole thing.

We had Christmas here in 2017 too – my sister in law and her family stayed with us and my parents in law stayed at the pub. But then my mother in law ordered Christmas from Marks and Spencer and she took the lead with the planning and cooking. My in laws and the whole family on that side are happy with easy food – prepared potatoes dauphinoise, pan fried steak, pre-sliced veggies so we can enjoy the day and not spend most of Christmas in the kitchen.

However, my sister in law is an amazing, ambitious and very successful cook. She makes bread regularly, hot water hand raised pies, fancy desserts and awesome curries. I’ve stayed with them a few times when I’ve travelled to work at the office and it’s like a posh restaurant quality. My mum isn’t a fancy cook, but everything is (pretty much) made from scratch.

So, himself and I are starting to plan what we’ll eat, and probably practice some of it – maybe I’ll write up how our attempts go and make that into a series?

Anyway, the first bit of preparation is something that feels nice and easy because it’s familiar.

Mincemeat

If you don’t know what mincemeat is, Wikipedia says:

Not to be confused with minced meat.

Mincemeat is a mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits and spices, and sometimes beef suet, beef, or venison. Originally, mincemeat always contained meat.[1] Many modern recipes contain beef suet, though vegetable shortening is sometimes used in its place.

The “mince” in mincemeat comes from the Middle English mincen, and the Old French mincier both traceable to the Vulgar Latin minutiare, meaning chop finely. The word mincemeat is an adaptation of an earlier term minced meat, meaning finely chopped meat. Meat was also a term for food in general, not only animal flesh.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mincemeat

I have never ever made, seen, or eaten mincemeat with actual meat in it. The recipe for mincemeat is very similar to that for Christmas pudding as far as I can tell.

The mincemeat recipe I use is my Nana’s (great-grandma, my mum’s mum’s mum). I’m very lucky to have vague memories of her, she died when I was 3, in her nineties. This takes a good day to go from ingredients to jars but if you do a double batch you’ll only need to make it every 3 or 4 years (depending on how much you give away or how many mince pies you eat!) I think I get about 6 jars out of a batch. It’s much nicer than shop bought, more flavour and less overwhelming sugary sweetness.

Ingredients

  • 8oz sultanas
  • 8oz raisins
  • 8oz currants
  • 8oz suet (I use vegetable but beef is fine)
  • 12oz peeled and chopped apples
  • 1oz almond flakes
  • 1 orange zest and juice
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • 4oz candied peel
  • 12oz soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 90ml lemon and rosehip gin from 2019 (or brandy if you want to be traditional)

Method

  1. Mix directly in the slow cooker pot – dried fruit, apples, almonds, and candied peel.
  2. Add orange and lemon zest and juice. Mix it all in.
  3. Add suet, spices, and sugar and mix.
  4. Leave for 12 hours.
  5. Slow cook for 2 hours on medium (I did 4 hours on low in the Foodi Ninja and then 1 hour on high as it doesn’t have a medium setting)
  6. Once completely cool, add alcohol and give it a good stir to mix the cooled suet in.
    Make sure it’s cool before putting it in jars – otherwise the suet rises to the top and looks kind of yucky.
  7. Put in sterilised jars and leave for at least a month.

Results

How amazing does this look?!

Uses

So the only thing that I’ve ever used mincemeat for is to make mince pies. With short pastry or puff, or a short pastry base and a sponge topping is quite nice too. These ones are all short pastry from 2019 I think.

12 mince pies in a tray with star lids, glazed with egg wash, made with homemade mincemeat
12 mince pies in a tray with star lids

How about you?

Have you started thinking about Christmas yet?

I’m usually a bah humbug type and refuse to consider anything festive until November. However, stirring up the mincemeat this weekend smelled absolutely awesome (not like smelly socks, ha ha!) and gave me a little hint of Christmas spirit, well ahead of the usual schedule.

Love from Smell xxx

38 thoughts on “Christmas Prep: Mincemeat”

  1. LOVE mince pies! This does look great but please don’t feel like you have to put on a show for others. Just because someone else loves cooking doesn’t mean they expect you to reciprocate in exactly the same way (unless of course you are enjoying it). Have I started thinking about Christmas? Only in terms of blog ideas. Not sure that reflects well on me as a mother!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve never made mincemeat because I don’t like mince pies, unfortunately, so my husband has ones from our local farm shop! But yes, I haven started thinking about Christmas, I’ve been making lots of jam for gifts now that we can visit people again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi SS&GP

    I love mince pies – they are a key element of Christmas for me ๐Ÿ™‚

    I know it can be tough but try not to see the Christmas food preparation as some sort of culinary competition. What matters, at the end of the day, is enjoying time with family.

    If it helps, what we do when hosting Christmas is do as much advance preparation as possible and then schedule the actual day with military precision! Have a schedule showing what needs to be done at any point in time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooooh, I love Christmassy smells ๐Ÿ™‚ that’s awesome that you’ve started already. There’s so much that goes into the holidays when you’re hosting that people don’t realise. I’m sure the mince pies will go down a treat. I’m sure your house smelt divine when the filling was cooking. I’ve just started saving a little eat a week and bought a few presents for the little one so far. Can’t believe we have to start thinking about December already. This year’s gone so fast.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. While I admire your desire to make things from scratch would it not cut down a bit on the stress you might be feeling re Christmas gathering were you to look for some shortcuts. Here in Canada (Or at least within the store I work in) we get canned/jarred mincemeat filling. You have by far more culinary talent than I do that is for sure. I set the fire alarm off every time I open the door of the oven. In my defense my fire alarm is very very sensitive because I have scoured it clean and the alarm still goes off. My son makes fun of me all the time about burning things and the fire alarm being my song. Have an awesome day. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    1. Yeah I think I’ll do lots of prep, cut some corners (definitely for pudding) and get my mum to make some stuff in advance. Chestnut stuffing and cranberry sauce are her specialties. There are certain things that just have to be homemade – cranberry sauce and mincemeat are up there because the shop bought versions are just too too sweet and sugary

      Like

      1. So different for me. I have my son in morning and then he is off to his dad’s and I veg the rest of the day. Reading. T.v. I have not had to go for Christmas gathering since the ex and I split. And I have to admit I don’t miss. It sounds though as having your family all together is what makes your Christmas the best. Will you share pics too please? I would love to see your masterpieces. ๐Ÿ˜Š

        Liked by 1 person

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