Unlike the Carpenters I quite like rainy days – and Mondays. Every Monday is full of possibilities for the week ahead and rainy days give me an excuse to get on with all those indoor jobs on which I can’t waste good weather – days when I could be outside pottering about on the plot.
This was Saturday’s job – mincemeat making after we’d recovered from a thorough soaking watching the boys play football. I have to admit to not having bothered with this for a few years. I’d never found a decent recipe and to be honest the jars sold in the local farmshop are delicious, if a little pricey. However I decided that a kitchen full of the smell of Christmas whilst the rain lashed against the windowpates was worth the effort. A friend recommended a Delia recipe and so I set to with a few adaptions and the result looks very promising indeed. I’ll even have a jar to give away as a present. My version of Delia’s recipe is below.
You will need two large Bramleys, cored and chopped small, 1lb frozen cranberries (or fresh if you can get them),12 oz raisins, 24oz mixed currants, sultanas and chopped, candied peel in roughly equal quantities, 8oz shredded vegetable suet, 12oz dark soft brown sugar, grated zest and juice of two lemons and two oranges, 2oz almonds cut into fine slivers, plenty of freshly ground nutmeg, about 4 tsps mixed spice and 1/2 tsp cinammon to taste, and a good slug of brandy.
Soak all ingredients, except the brandy overnight. in an ovenproof mixing bowl. Then put the bowl in a cool oven (about 100 degrees in a fan oven should do) for three hours. It might be swimming in fat when you take it out so brace yourself. But at least you’ll be encouraged not to be the one who ate all the pies. Give it a stir every so often to coat all the fruit in suet. Add a good slug of brandy and store in sterlised jars. This will make enough for four quite large jars (Mine previously held River Cottage vanilla yogurt..)
And as for Mondays… well this week I might finish the adapted script for Pride and Prejudice, get my sweet peas planted, dig over a bit more of the allotment, weed my over wintering onions, source a recycled wood bench for a memorial garden I’m working on and start a new compost heap. You see Mondays are the start of something good.