Once again apologies for not blogging my foraging and cooking exploits on a more regular basis. My excuses range from laziness to having three engagement parties.
We did however use a variety of our foraged goods in these events. The fruit leather went down a storm with our friends children and plenty of our friends including some who do not eat fresh fruit. We marinated the shoulders and legs of mutton in our homemade chutney and cooked them in a fire pit. It creates great theatre, but takes up plenty of time on the day (I might write about this separately). We also made mulled wine with the rosehip wine I made last year, and it went down well too. We also made the elderberry pie, but used a gluten-free pie casing as I’ve got Chron’s and aiming to stay off gluten where possible. The elderberry capers were also a massive hit in the potato salad, and will be making a lot more of them for next year.
Right onto this blog, which are two apple mincemeat recipes I’ve used. I first made homemade apple mincemeat two years ago, but in typical fashion can’t find the recipe I used.
The first recipe is from a book called, ‘Good Simple Cookery’ by Elisabeth Ayrton, and the recipe can be found on page 411 under Christmas cooking. Elisabeth has a paragraph about preparation for Christmas which commences from 1st October. During this period she recommends making the mincemeat as the longer it is left to marinate the richer the flavour and consistency, though you could still make it on Christmas Eve. She has three mincemeat recipes, but I have taken the first which is titled ‘Mincemeat’ and can be found on page 415.
1 Ib raisins
1/4 Ib sultanas
1/2 Ib marmalade
1/2 Ib suet
1/2 teasp. mixed spice
1 gill brandy (142 ml)
1/2 Ib currants
1/4 Ib candied peel
1/2 Ib demerara sugar
1 Ib good cooking apples
Good pinch of ground ginger
It says to stalk the currants, and wash all the dried fruit. I was lazy and bought some home brand mixed fruit with chopped peel to the same weight as in the recipe. Grate the rind of lemon. Peel, core and slice applies, put all through mincer. I grated the apple and didn’t peel them and just mixed it all together. When minced, stir all the ingredients thoroughly, add lemon juice and brandy (used homemade rosehip liqueur), stir again, fill into jars and tie down so that they are airtight. I sterilised the jars in the oven. Keep in a dry, cool place.
I will probably make this again next year as it was so easy and quick to do (especially on a working night). The key thing for me is that the mixture soaks up each others flavours.
The second recipe I used came from a blog called ‘time to cook – online’ and I have taken their ‘guilt-free mincemeat‘ recipe. Again I used bought own brand mixed dried fruit with chopped peel, and put int he equivalent amount for the total in the recipe. I also added cooking apples instead of apple juice. I cooked this over a low heat to sweat out the juice from the apples and allow the rest of the fruit to absorb that moisture. The key thing is to ensure no moisture is left at the bottom of the pan. If you do then you are more likely to have soggy mince pies.