Last week I asked my friend Granny Cockspur to come and help me make mincemeat – she is the queen of preserving and pickling and I couldn’t have asked for a better helper. The recipe we used was seriously simple, and despite only containing 6 spoons of brandy, had an intoxicatingly heady fragrance.
We followed a Delia recipe, however it would be easily adaptable – adding different spices and combinations of dried fruit. I have doubled the recipe to make about 6 lbs of mincemeat. Peel and finely chop 2 lbs of bramley apples, then mix with the zest of a large orange and a lemon. Add 8oz each of shredded suet, sultanas, currants, candied peel, then 12 oz of raisins, 12oz soft dark brown sugar, 2oz flaked almonds, 2 teaspoons mixed ground spice, half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and half a freshly grated nutmeg. Once you have stirred all this together, leave covered with a tea-towel for 12 hours and then put into a …..
My wonderfully wintery weekend in Cologne proved somewhat unrestful – our warm, comfy beds were simply no match to the bustling markets, mugs of gluwein, bottles of Sekt and buckets of snow calling us out into the cold.
I seem to have a spent a fortune on not very much – but this might account for the expensive snow boots I was forced to buy as my little leather boots whimpered and withered in the German winter.
I bought the most lovely cherub which is now hanging in pride of place on my front door next to yet another Christmas wreath… the feathers for this wreath were kindly supplied by the amazing gamekeeper Matthew, not an abattoir in sight and they arrived at my door beautifully clean – marvellous.
Tonight, after realising I’m literally landlocked with the road closed at the end of our drive, we cheered ourselves up with a mug of hot, spiced apple juice. Simply heat apple juice with a cinnamon stick, cloves, and a dash of hot water and a spoonful of honey – lovely instead of my usual tea…
…A last thought – I have a Christmas candle burning in anticipation for the safe and speedy arrival of a very special baby Watts – my fingers are crossed it will arrive tonight!x