Well, it’s begun. The cooking for the festivities kicked off with a vengeance with the start of the annual Christmas cake making preparations.
For a change this year I am also making the pudding and mincemeat. I have never made a pudding before, and have always been put off by the steaming process. But I thought what the heck seeing as we’re hosting Christmas this year…
The mincemeat recipe I am using is a tweaked St Delia’s one. I’ve never really made mincemeat before either and don’t particularly like mince pies it has to be said, but Christmas isn’t Christmas without them, and I do sort of like them warmed up and slathered in brandy butter and cointreau cream…
450g Bramley apples, cored and chopped very small
225g vegetarian suet
800g mixed dried fruit – I used a mixture of Waitrose luxury mixed vine fruits, raisins, sultanas and currants
225g candied peel
350g soft dark brown sugar
grated zest and juice 2 oranges
grated zest and juice 2 lemons
50g glace cherries, cut into quarters
4 level teaspoons mixed ground spice
½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 whole grated nutmeg
1/8 cup each of brandy, whisky and rum (add another 1/8 cup each once the mincemeat has been cooked)
Lob everything into a large, clean plastic tub and mix well. Leave to steep for at least 24 hours, up to a week in a cool place. Stir a couple of times a day to mix and plump up the fruit.
When it’s finished steeping, transfer to an oven proof dish and heat through at 120 degrees for 3 hours. This melts the suet to ensure the mincemeat doesn’t fermet in the jars. Transfer to sterilised jars and leave somewhere cool and dark for at least a month.