Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Making mincemeat

Oh, my poor garden. It looks so sad and neglected - a combination of my procrastination, being busy, busy, busy and sodding awful weather. It's fine, I go out and hack about in the undergrowth for a while. It rains. I get wet. I come in.

I make mincemeat. Perhaps the inclement weather has made me more inclined towards kitcheny things. Had you noticed?

Anyway, making mince meat is one of those satisfying seasonal tasks which I expect well-organised folk got out of the way weeks ago. Well-organised folk probably have all their ingredients to hand as well - me? I have to rummage at the back of cupboards and under trees and make several trips to buy forgotten essentials. Still, eventually everything is lined up ready to be weighed and measured, grated or squeezed. I have big bowls, little bowls and my largest wooden spoon - oh, and because I can never remember from year to year which recipe I used last, a copy of Delia Smith's 'Christmas'.
It's a bit of a long-winded recipe and apparently will keep indefinitely - hardly likely when the Trelystan mince-pie production line gets under way. I stir all my ingredients together - except the brandy - and let the flavours mingle overnight. Then it's into the oven (at a very low temperature) for 3 hours to melt the suet. Finally that brandy goes in and I stir all together for one last time.

The day can be foul outside - and it is - but indoors the kitchen is imbued with such a sense of well-being. Sugar and spice and brandy scent the air better than any seasonal candle I think.

12 comments:

Wipso said...

Im sure i can smell it from down here :-) sounds wonderful. Its a long time since made any. . Possibly even while at school :-)

her at home said...

Hope it keeps forever I still ahve soem left over from year before last!!

Totty Teabag said...

I applaud your housewifelyness, missus. I too have a favourite recipe for mincemeat; buy a jar of Robinson's finest in November, open jar, remove a heaped tablespoonful, fill jar to brim with brandy, replace lid and store in the back of the fridge until needed...

Tattie Weasle said...

Golly that sounds/smells good - I feel inspired. I shall do something other than buy eveything this year...

Pondside said...

My mother always made her own mincemeat. I'm ashamed to say that I buy it by the jar - but then I'm the only one at Pondside that likes it (I love it!)
When Mum made it we all had to take a turn stirring - I can just smell it.

locksparkfarm said...

Reading the title my immediate thought was "How very organised."...I read on and to my horror you talked about the well-organised having done there’s ages ago! Oh dear there's simply no hope ...I guess it’ll be the same flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants scenario for mincemeat, cake and Christmas pud as always!
Looks scrummy...can even smell the rich spiciness of it.

Friko said...

hm, lovely!
I love these autumn and winter jobs in the kitchen.
Have you tried making winter crumble out of left over mincemeat? Apples, mincemeat, a banana, more booze, crushed amaretti biscuits or lots of almond slivers in the topping. De-flaming-licious.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

havent made mincemeat since I was at school - one day perhaps - big sigh

Pam said...

Mincemeat was one of the things I missed buying (I'm a jar person too) but then I just saw it at my local Kroger supermarket in the cooking section.
You describe the smell so well - it makes me feel all Christmassy!

Bee said...

I made my mincemeat last weekend, too. Such a good wet weekend activity.

As for the garden: sigh. I don't really get interested again until March or so . . . but I have some bulbs that I really need to get into the ground (should it ever stop raining).

LittleBrownDog said...

Love the smell of mincemeat - as you say, far better than any scented candle I've ever come across - and I have Delia's Christmas, so am sorely tempted. However I know I will have nothing like the ingredients I need (does anyone keep suet in 'just in case'?) and know I will end up playing the dangerous game of "just tweaking the recipe a teensy bit to accommodate the gap between what it says in the recipe and what I have in my cupboard", and we all know, that is a slippery, slippery slope.

Can I come over to yours then?

elizabethm said...

Mmm, yum. I love mincemeat. Sometimes I make and sometimes I buy but I am feeling inspired after this blog!