As we approach the end of November, we start to see the first signs of the island’s mild winter. Ari took the beautiful photo this morning, considered a bit chilly here but in other European countries this would be a warm day. How spoilt we are !
And bringing out the light woolies reminds us that Christmas is coming and that this is really our last chance to make good home made mincemeat giving the fruit time to soak up all the flavours in the juices until they puff to nearly bursting point.
Making mincemeat is the start to the build up and personally this is the part that I enjoy. Without wishing to sound negative, the actual day when it arrives seems an anticlimax after the excitement of the planning, baking and making…..
Mincemeat was originally made with meat and sugar was used as a preservative and the history of the mincepie is so well documented in What’s Cooking America but the question I always get these days is …. Do we have to use suet? The answer is no you don’t but I do as it gives me a feeling that I am making something very different once a year… suet means mince pies and mince pies mean Christmas so unless you are on a very restricted diet, it will not harm to eat one or two mincepies a year containing suet … But cooking is about creativity and personal taste so if you don’t want suet, leave it out !
Ari and mum made this year’s mincemeat with an unusual ingredient and I know they will be divine …. Ari loves chocolate and she decided to grate Indonesian Black Java 100% cacao by artisan cacao farmer Willie Harcourt Cooze. I know they will be divine !!!
You will need :
250g apples, peeled and cored
200g chopped almonds
1 lemon, juice and zest
100g suet, I use Atora vegetable suet
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
100g Grated dark chocolate
Pinch of Salt
6 tablespoons brandy
2 tabspoons carob syrup
Thoroughly mix everything well I. A large bowl, cover and leave to mature !