I've had my first ever attempt at making my own mincemeat ready for mince pie making next month. I don't like mince pies, but I do love making them and always just buy jars of mincemeat. However, after some pestering from Jack, I've made my own following a very easy recipe in the latest issue of BBC Good Food magazine.
2 Bramley Apples
Dried Mixed Fruit (Sultanas, Currants, Raisins etc.)
Ground Mixed Spice
Brandy or Cognac
Dark Brown Muscovado Sugar
Beef Suet (or vegetable suet)
I don't usually buy food magazines as it's much easier and cheaper just to browse blogs and websites for tasty inspiring recipes. I do however always buy the Christmas issue of the Good Food magazine because 1) it comes with a free calendar with tasty recipes on, 2) I just like drooling over the food photos! The mincemeat recipe was in their "make ahead" article and I was pleased at just how easy it was. The mincemeat smells amazing and was really fun to make. All you do is chop the apple down nice and small, add all of the other ingredients to it except the suet and give it a good mix. Cover it for a few hours, or overnight if possible, then add the suet. Mix again and then spoon into jars - simple! It's been so fun in fact that I've raided the cupboards to find more ingredients to add and make some more - I made three jars worth following the recipe. Next year I intend on being far more organised to make the mincemeat earlier so it has much longer to mature.
Chopping the apples into tiny pieces was probably about as difficult as this recipe got and tripping over Barry too - he sat at my feet in the hope I'd drop some apple (he's a fruit and veg fan).
Adding the brandy and muscovado sugar turned the mincemeat a lovely colour and the smells were sweet and spicy; the recipe just said to add ground mixed spice but I also added further ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg as these are my favourite spices when making fruit cakes and they always taste so good.
I then had to leave it overnight before adding the suet. I added beef suet as the recipe suggested but vegetable suet can be used too (beef suet is just what's always in our cupboard). I sterilised the jars using the hot soapy water and dry in the oven method - thanks to many of the lovely blogs I follow for the useful tips on sterilising jars.
Here they are all filled and ready to mature in the cupboard for a while. The recipe says they'll last up to a year but I should think just past that won't kill you - I hope so anyway as I still have pickled onions I made last October that I'm saving for Christmas and they taste just fine (again, recipe said keep for a year). I used my nice jars for the mincemeat, I'm keeping my old jars for the pickled onions I'm intending to make, when I get around to it..
Tonight's plan is to make more mincemeat so I can give some to my mum, then I need to get on with making Christmas cards; I've got so much craft stuff that I set myself the challenge of making Christmas cards this year as opposed to buying any. I've made two so far, I'm aiming to make around 30 if I can.