Well, It’s been a long time since I fired up the old blog. I haven’t gone away, but things have changed a little. Not least, WordPress have been messing about with the software, and the photos upload differently, so sorry if they look a little bit weird, until I can get used to the new way.
Anyway, since I posted last I had a bit of computer trouble, so I know that I may owe a few of you e-mails, and I have some catching up to do for Seedy Penpals.
I also have a little news, that is probably exciting for me, and not for many others, but I’m going to tell you anyway. After a lot of deliberation, I decided to take a role as the Campaign Manager for the Land of Promise Campaign to get better working conditions and the use of fewer pesticides in the pineapple industry in the Philippines, and three weeks ago I signed a contract with Fairfood International. I am excited because it is combining my skills of campaigning, and food, and I’m helping Fairfood plan and deliver a new campaigning strategy.
I have dived right in, with planning for the campaign, which has taken all of my head space, but now I have done the background reading, I am hoping to get back to blogging regularly. It does mean that I need to settle into a different posting pattern, but for the time being I have a bit of a backlog of posts to catch up with, which I’ll schedule in the coming days and weeks.
But that’s enough about me. I am with my family, and have just finished the preparations for tomorrow’s food. I have also managed to squeeze in some jam making. I haven’t had as much time this year as I normally would to make all the preserves ready for Christmas, so I haven’t made my own mincemeat. The mincemeat that I picked up on Saturday is at the more mediocre end of the spectrum, and I am not one to compromise on quality that much, so I thought that I would also share my tarted up mincemeat recipe.
And of course, I wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas, Great Yuletide, and a Happy Winter Solstice, whichever you celebrate.
Recipe: Tarted Up Mincemeat
50 g dried fruit, I used a mix of cranberries, raisins and golden sultanas
Port to cover the fruit
1 jar mincemeat
Zest of a lemon
50 g of almonds and hazelnuts, chopped
Sweet shortcrust pastry I added lemon zest to this
Milk or egg wash
Soak the dried fruit in the port until the fruit is plump. This will take at least an hour. Stir in the mincemeat, and lemon zest, and allow to soak together with the fruit.
If you are making your own pastry, make it now using the method here. Wrap it up and let it rest in the fridge for about an hour.
Add the chopped nuts to the mincemeat just before rolling out your pastry. By using shop bought mincemeat, you are taking advantage of the pulped fruit (usually apple) and the spices. Normally mincemeat has to mature for at least a month before use, so this is a shortcut to tasty, fruity mincepies, without compromising on flavour.
Heat the oven to 160°C.
Roll out your pastry to about 3mm thick. Use two cutter sizes, one slightly larger for the base, cut an even number of bases and tops. Grease some tart tins. Cover with the bases, then press down gently with some dough offcuts.
Add a heaped tsp of the mincemeat to each base.
Brush the rim of one side of the top with milk or egg wash, cover the tart, wash side down, and either crimp or press gently with a shot glass to seal the pie.
Brush the pies with more milk or egg wash. Put in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
Serve them to your friends and guests and no-one will tell that you cheated a little bit.