I'm making my Christmas mincemeat, and the smell of fruit and spices is truly wonderful. It's the very aroma of Christmas itself, and totally guaranteed to restore your Christmas mojo if you're struggling to get excited about the festive season.
If you'd like to give it a go, it's really easy, and you can keep it in preserving jars to give as gifts or to use as and when people pop around for a catch-up over the holidays. At this time of the year I keep a few packets of pre-rolled puff pastry in the fridge so that I'm all ready to go if I need to scramble and knock out some mince pies and/ or sausage rolls at short notice.
Anyway here's what you'll need if you'd like to give my mincemeat a go:
1 large navel orange
1 large lemon
1 large Bramley apple, cored and chopped into smallish cubes. There's no need to peel it.
400 g mixed dried fruit - you can chose your favourite combination. I used: 125 g of dried barberries; 200 g mixed peel; 75 g of golden jumbo raisins and 100 g of black sultanas]
175 g of soft dark brown sugar
50 g almond slivers
150g shredded suet. I like to use Trex, a low-fat vegetarian alternative.
Grated nutmeg to taste
2 heaped teaspoonfuls of mixed spice
3 tablespoonfuls of brandy
And here's what you'll need to do:
1. Mix all of the ingredients except the brandy in an oven-proof saucepan. Grate the orange zest and lemon zest and add to the mixture. Juice the lemon and the orange and add the juice to the mixture as well. It is important to have everything mixed really well.
2. Place the lid on the saucepan and cook in an oven, pre-heated to 150º C, for 3 hours. Take it out halfway through and stir well. Then return to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time.
3. When it's cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool down, stirring it regularly as it cools to ensure that the fat coats everything evenly. Don't worry if it looks like it's drowning in fat: that's normal! Add the brandy, and stir again to mix it through.
4. Bottle in sterilised jam jars sealed with wax seals.
You should sterilise your jam jars by washing them thoroughly in warm water, drying them on the outside only and placing them open end up, in an oven that's been pre-heated to 150º C for at least 20 minutes. Wash the screw top lids and place them inside side up in the oven for 20 minutes also. I explained how to do it here: Clementine and Cardamon Marmalade.
All the best for now,