Mincemeat​ – Christmas is coming!

My two favourite things about Christmas are crackers and mince pie. During the festive season, I can be seen scouring mince pies across London to find the best. This year I have decided to up my game and do my own. The first step towards this exciting endeavour is making mincemeat. I think the very traditional and origins of this recipe did use actual meat but most modern recipes do without it. It does use beef tallow known a suet, for vegetarians there is vegetarian suet.

You can use the mincemeat right away for pies but I am going to try to wait a couple of weeks to let it really steep.

My base recipe was Delia’s excellent homemade Christmas mincemeat. I added dates and cranberries. I also put slightly less suet and sugar. The candy peels are the ones that I made over the summer the recipe can be found here. I am going to try to do variations by substituting brandy with calvados or whisky.

Ingredients

  • 3 apples cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp allspice
  • 2 tsp anise star
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 350g raisins
  • 225g sultanas
  • 30g cranberry
  • 6 dates chopped into small pieces
  • 225g candied peels
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 200g suet
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 200g crushed almonds
  • 7 tbsp brandy

Recipe

  1. In a large bowl mix well all the ingredient except the brandy together.IMG_9180

2. Leave the mixture to settle in covered and in a cool place for about 12 hours.

3. Heat the oven to 200ºC and put in your mincemeat mixture in an oven proof pan and leave in the oven 3.5 hours. It really doesn’t look pretty when it comes out but it does taste and smell delicious I promise.

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4. Leave to cool mixing it once in a while.

5. Once cool add the brandy and mix it well.

6. Sterilize some jars by washing them thoroughly and putting them in the oven at 180ºC for at least 5 min.

7. Put your mincemeat in the sterilised jars. Leave in a dark cool cupboard until you need it.

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Dukka

 

 

Wonderful wonderful dukkah. Originally from Egypt, it is basically a topping made from nuts, spices and seeds. You can basically sprinkle it on just over about anything. It is delicious with ravioli or my comfort favourite, an easy cheesy toasty with avocado and bacon. Or let me tell you the magical marriage that this makes for breakfast when added to eggs, cooked tomatoes and bread. Or with roasted beetroot and feta, anyways I digress….

Dukkah is very much a family recipe and there is no right way of doing it. Some add sumac, mint and thyme (NYT), Macadamia nuts and chia seeds, or sunflower seeds (Ottolenghi).

From the kitchen, the basic ingredients are:

  • Nuts – any of these will do: hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, pine nuts, macadamia nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  •  Cumin seeds

Optional Addition:

Dried chickpeas
Dried herbs – marjoram, mint, thyme
Dried lemon zest
Hot pepper – red pepper flakes, chili powder
Pepper – freshly ground or whole peppercorns
Salt
Seeds – caraway, fennel, nigella
Spices – baharat, cinnamon, clove, turmeric
Sugar

And anything you can really think of in terms of spices and seeds.

I unfortunately lost my old Dukkah recipe so here is my now new one.

Ingredients

  • 75 grams sesame seeds
  • 150 grams of nuts (I used hazel and almonds)
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp fennel
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seed

 

Instruction

  1. Roast the nuts, and seeds separately.
  2. Lightly grind the seeds and spices together. I use an electric grinder (i.e. my cleaned out coffee grinder) for less than a minute and separately grind the nuts. I also don’t grind the sesame seeds (this is a personal preference, it adds a bit more texture). Don’t over grind or  it will just turn to paste.
  3. Mix everything together and keep it in an airtight jar.

Enjoy! I have personally just given in to basically sprinkling it over just about everything. I think I might try a bit of cloves next time. As you can see it went into the celeriac and apple soup as well as the on some cheesy sourdough thyme bread toasty.

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