http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/main-ingredient/mincemeat/home-made-christmas-mincemeat.html, but, as always, tweaked it to my liking. I used a little over a pound of Golden Delicious apples (4, peeled and chopped), added some dried cranberries instead of some of the raisins, and added some finely chopped crystallized ginger. I also left out the nuts. Basically, you combine all of the ingredients in a large, oven-proof, stoneware bowl, which looks like this:
Then, the bowl is covered with a clean tea-towel and left in a cool place overnight to allow the flavours to combine. The bowl is then loosely covered in foil, and baked in a 225'F oven for 3 hours. After it's removed, the ingredients are mixed every so often as they cool, to coat them in the melted suet and juices.
|The smell was a combination of Christmas + Heaven!|
Once cooled, the brandy was added and I divided the recipe amongst 4 properly sterilized Mason Jars.
I plan to use some in a Mincemeat Wellington for a dessert for an upcoming dinner party. I thought I'd bake the mincemeat in a large, rectangular puff pastry tart, then serve it with cardamom-infused custard. Stay tuned for that one!
I also made Carrot Cake cookies, a recipe I got from one of Martha Stewart's cookie recipe books. I've made them before and they were a huge hit with the household. They are basically hermit-like cookies chock full of grated carrot, raisins and oatmeal, then cream cheese icing is layered between two cookies to make a sandwich. A very decadent sandwich!
|Cookies ready for baking|
|Ready for eating|
I also wanted to do a test run of an appetizer I plan to make for this year's Christmas dinner party. Every year, I try to do a different theme, which gives me a bit of a challenge and also helps tie all of the courses together. In past years, I have done Morrocan and traditional British, so this year, I thought I'd attempt an Indian-themed Christmas dinner based on a more traditional menu. I always try to make one hot and one cold appetizer, so I thought of making Indian-style Lamb meatballs. I figure they would be good finger-food if I put toothpicks in them and served them with a mint-cilantro sauce, and the lamb-mint combination is very traditional. I combined a few recipes I found online and in a recipe book, and they turned out wonderfully!
|Meatballs with chopped mint and cilantro cooking on the stove|
The dinner party isn't until the beginning of December, so stay tuned for the full menu, and lots of pictures.