Saturday, 1 December 2012

Advent Challenge, Day 1: Festive Mincemeat

December 1st
I don't know about everyone else but one of my favorite food around Christmas is the mince pies, especially homemade ones with homemade Mincemeat. So for today's recipe, and since its the very beginning of the month, I thought we could make our very own Mincemeat. The good thing about making it now, is that by Christmas, it will have matured enough to make your mince pies delicious.

A little history of Mincemeat
So I hear this question a lot, why is it called mince meat? Mincemeat was originally an old English way of preserving meat with out the use of salt or smoke as it can keep for up to 10 years. Fruits and spices began to be added to the mixture as the crusaders began to return to England from Europe and the Middle East bringing with them more exotic ingredients. The earliest recorded recipe of mince meat is from the 15th century, with this olde english recipe from the medieval book 'The Propre Booke of Cokery'.

"Pyes of mutton or beif must be fyne mynced & seasoned with pepper and salte and a lytel saffron to colour it / suet or marrow a good quantitie / a lytell vynegre / pruynes / great reasons / and dates / take the fattest of the broath of powdred beefe. And if you will have paest royall / take butter and yolkes of egges & so to temper the floure to make the paest."

So you may have realised that the mince pies you buy from the store no longer contain any meat in them. Thats because around the time of World War I, meat became more expensive and was soon replaced by apples.

Festive Mincemeat
Recipe makes 4x500ml jars
Leave for at least a fortnight before use.

250g of Raisins
375g of Currents
100ml of Brandy
Zest of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
300g of shredded Suet
250g of Dark Brown Sugar
85g of chopped, mixed Peel
1/2 of a small Nutmeg, grated
1 large Brambly Apple, peeled and grated

1. Soak the Raisins and Currents in the Brandy and Lemon juice for 1 hour, until well plumped, then drain and set the brandy aside.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until mixed well together and pour the remaining Brandy in. Mix again.
3. Spoon into sterile jars and cover.

Such an easy recipe, and now you have your mince meat ready for those minced pies in a couple of weeks time. I hope you enjoyed this one, remember to check back tomorrow for Day 2's Recipe. Until next time bros, carry on cooking.

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