Some things you just have to make in advance. The essential Christmas ‘big three’ are among them and I like to get these done and dusted as soon as possible. Today I tackled the mincemeat - just the cake and the Christmas pudding left to do. I'm taking the boys to visit their Godmother at the weekend. It's James' first birthday on Friday, so I sense a big baking bonanza coming on!
Seriously easy, and the homemade stuff is usually miles better than anything you can buy. This recipe makes three 450g jars to keep for Christmas and three little 200g jars which are useful for presents. I sterilise the jars, and their lids, in diluted sterilising liquid (from the chemists) for 30 minutes, then rinse everything with freshly-boiled water and dry them with a clean linen ‘glass cloth’.
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
650g mixed dried fruit and peel
175g shredded suet
175g light muscovado sugar
¼ tsp each of ground cinnamon, ground mixed spice and ground ginger
about ¼ tsp-worth of freshly grated nutmeg
zest and juice of 1 orange
Put all the ingredients into a really big bowl, then mix everything together really well. Pour over the orange juice and the brandy and mix again. Spoon the mincemeat into cooled sterilised jars and store in a cool dark place until Christmas.
For dinner tonight I made Julia's fab butternut squash, potato and cheesy pork chop thing from A Slice of Cherry Pie. I used Y Fenni cheese this time, which was a great variation.