Sunday, 29 November 2009

Festive fun: Homemade Mince-meat

Well hello to you all who have travelled over from Domestic Witch. This is the first time I’ve joined in with anything like this so please accept the slightly rough edges I may have! Just in case you’re interested I thought I’d introduce myself a little.
My name is Jen and I’m a single(ish) mum of a 4year old Littleun. Together we have fun trying to live a Pagan life doing the most we can for our little bit towards looking after the Earth and without interfering much in others lives. We can often be found wandering the hills, woods and beaches surrounding our little town. I’m a firm believer in eating good organic food and we have made a start towards this by growing our own and trying to cook most things from scratch, if this means I get to try a little homemade wine or treats on the way all the better! Which brings me to my homemade gift, Mincemeat.

To make our version of this you’ll need the following:
Makes approx 4-5lbs
½lb / 225g cooking apples
½lb / 225g currants
½lb / 225g stoned raisins
½lb / 225g sultanas
4oz / 115g glace cherries
4oz / 115g chopped mixed peel
4oz / 115g shelled walnuts
8oz / 225g shredded suet or vegetarian version
1lb / 450g Demerara sugar
2 level tsp mixed spice
3-4 fl oz brandy or rum or your favourite tipple, though avoid cream liquors

Peel core and chop the apples. Clean and mince the dried fruits. Mix in a large bowl with the nuts and the apples. Blend in the suet, sugar and spice. Add enough brandy or rum to give a moist mixture. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave for 48 hours to allow the fruit to swell. Stir well and put the mincemeat into sterilized jars, seal and cover as for jam. Leave for 3-4 weeks to mature.

Random mincemeat facts:

Mincemeat pie is thought to originally be based upon an ancient Pagan tradition of serving coffin-shapped cakes representing Osiris, the ritual taking place at the winter solstice and later co-opted by the Christians. The pies in mediaeval times were larger and baked open but after time a crust was added with an effigy of the infant Jesus as a representation of him in his cradle, known as a crib cake.

Mincemeat was once made with meats such as partridge, pigeon, hare, rabbits or beef as well as the fruit, sugars, spices and alcohol.

A recipe from a cookbook form the mid 16thc called “ A proper newe booke of cokerye” shows a pie very similar to our modern pie.

Oliver Cromwell, the self-proclaimed Lord Protector of England from 1649 until 1658, detested Christmas as a pagan holiday. Oliver Cromwell's Puritan Council abolished Christmas on December 22, 1657. In London, soldiers were ordered to go round the streets and take, by force if necessary, food being cooked for a Christmas celebration. The smell of a goose being cooked could bring trouble. Cromwell considered pies as a guilty, forbidden pleasure. The traditional mincemeat pie was banned. King Charles II restored Christmas when he ascended the throne in 1660.

More than 3,000 metric tonnes of Robertson’s mincemeat is sold in the run-up to the 25th.

The government of Pitt the Younger formed on 18th December 1783 was satirically dubbed the mince-pie administration as it was widely believed that it wouldn’t last till Christmas.

Now don’t forget to stuff yourself silly! Hope you liked my ramblings and do feel free to travel back to visit and comment whenever you fancy. Good Yule and Seasons Greetings to you all.


Maluszeq said...

When I first time heard about mincemeat and mince pies I was conviced they are full of meat :D
What a suprise when I tried them ;D Hehhehehe

Olde Baggs n Stuft Shirts by LindaOma said...

Jen. Just popped by to say hello. Followed from Domestic Witch. Congrats on the win of the runes. Thanks for your intro, it's always nice to get to know someone and also to savor your recipe. Makes me hungry. I will of course be trying your recipe. A long long time ago, when I was a young chicken, I used to make Plum pudding, but always wanted to try mince meat.
But the absolute bestest part....all the info about mincemeat, but then I have a trivial pursuit kinda brain. So thanks for a whole delightful bunch this morning. Linda in New Mexico

SugarnSpice said...

Hi Jen!!
I've followed over from Domestic Witch as well. Your recipe sounds delightful! Thank you for sharing!

Jenandollie said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments. Got to say in the interest of research Littleun and I made several mince pies to take to the folks tonight and we came to the conclusion that they are great, shame I can't move now, feeling so full, guess diets blown till next month!

Look forward to seeing you again I hope.


Tiffany said...

That was so informative! I came over from Domestic Witch, and now I'm going to start following you :)