Look, I know you don’t wanna hear this, but in about 80 days the shortest day of the year rears its’ ugly head. Call it what you will – Yuletide, Solstice, Christmas etc – it’s a big time in the foodie calendar. And a lot of the food that is traditional for me has to be made in advance to allow the flavours to combine and mingle. Christmas cake, mincemeat and Christmas pudding all benefit from being made a couple of months in advance. So please bear with me as I start my annual build up. And since last year was pretty shitty for me personally, I am going to go COMPLETELY overboard this year. Oh yeah.
Okay, first up?
The most AWESOME mincemeat in the entire history of the world. And why do we call it mincemeat when it doesn’t have any minced meat in it? Well, hundreds of years ago meat pies were heavily spiced and had dried fruit included in them. Seriously. And food, like language, is a constantly evolving creature. Slowly the meat disappeared until the only remaining remnant is the suet that is still included. As a vegetarian all you have to do is make sure that the suet is suitable.
Apricot and Orange Mincemeat
- 250g dried apricots
- grated rind and juice of an orange
- 900g dried mixed fruit
- 4 tbsp orange marmadale
- 500g demerara sugar
- 250g vegetarian suet
- 1.5 tsp ground mixed spice
- 0.25 tsp grated nutmeg
- 300ml whisky or brandy or rum NOT ALL THREE!!!!!!!
Chop up the apricots fairly finely and place in a large glass mixing bowl along with the dried mixed fruit and the whiskey. Mix together thoroughly and cover with cling film and leave in a cool place overnight so that the dried fruits can absorb and rehydrate in the alcohol.
Next day add all the other ingredients and mix together, cover and leave for another 24 hours.
Press the mixture firmly into sterilized jars, making sure to fill right to the top. Seal, label and store. I’ve used this up to 2 years after making it and, apart from adding a spot more spirit to it, it was just as good as the day it was made.