Friday, 28 September 2012

It's that time of year...

Herzlich willkommen auf meiner neuen reader FrauSeidonhase. I hope that is correct, although I used to speak very basic German when I lived there, I got this from an online translator!

After tea last night DB and I went off into the kitchen to begin preparing things for steeping overnight ready to finish off tomorrow.

The first thing was mincemeat. I use Delia's recipe (only 1/2 now there are just the two of us). I don't stick strictly to it and can be found replacing or adding things depending what we have in the cupboards.  Her recipe can be found here: Delia's home made easy mincemeat

For example, I only had one pot of cherries which was not enough for the mincemeat and cake. I measured out enough for the mincemeat and the cake part had stem ginger added to it. We don't like citrus peel so extra zest was put in plus some remains of dessicated coconut. If I don't have nuts then pumpkin and sunflower seeds will go in etc.

Every year they taste slightly different but so far, touch wood, we have not had any disasters! Here it is, stirred and ready to sit overnight.

We also had to soak the dry ingredients for the cake. We rarely make a true Christmas cake but this year fancied one rather than her last minute version which we usually make and is yummy. 

Again, a few things had to be added to make up the quantity. Her original recipe can be found here: Delia's Classic Christmas Cake

She says to soak all the dried fruit in the 3 tablespoons of brandy overnight. Never enough we have found so an additional 2 tablespoons of strawberry liquor (a gift) also went in. Sometimes I might add orange and/or lemon juice.

Come tomorrow, the mincemeat will go in a very low oven for an hour to melt all the suet so it covers everything in a fine glaze to stop it fermenting in the jars. (take note: her original mincemeat recipe says to warm for 3 hours. We no longer do this otherwise everything turns to a sticky mush and is difficult to get in the jars.)

Whilst that is in, we will make the cake and unlike Dan, I don't have enough of anything else to cook with it. Anyway I will be using our small top oven and once the cake is in, not much else will fit in with it. I will post the finished photographs later. Finally, here are the last few of my rather poor tomato harvest, ripening on my kitchen windowsill.


  1. Mince meat, now there is an idea.....

  2. We have made this recipe for years now, can't stand bought mincemeat as it is far too sweet. This is now out of the oven and gently being stirred to incorporate the suet liquid back in. IT WAS IN THE OVEN FOR ABOUT 1 HOUR AND 10 MINUTES! Then it will have the brandy gently stirred in before being put into the previously sterilized jars. We have used it for up to 18 months or so with no problems. It tastes as good then as at the beginning. Go on Dan, give it a try, you won't regret it and the smell is to die for!

  3. You are so ahead of the game, I feel quite ashamed! I cannot do my own Christmas cake this year due to a lack of an oven, I am hoping that one of my new DILs or sons might offer, will have to drop some really really big hints xxx

  4. I love Delia's Mincemeat recipe, so much better than the stuff you buy. We haven't had a traditional Christmas cake for a couple of years but I have been making a much lighter version about a week before Christmas, just incase someone wants a piece. I do love the smell though when they are cooking.

  5. you know I'm British, but the one thing our family hate is anything with dry fruit in it, like Christmas cake, mince pies, plum pudding. I like the smell when its cooking also, but that's it.

    Gill in Canada

  6. Yes Fran, I think you may have to drop a few big hints. I don't have that problem as S, J's girlfriend doesn't like Christmas cake.

    Karen, I agree with you on both counts. We have had the lighter version for a few years now but DB has missed the traditional one hence making it this year.

    Gill, that is a shame. I know someone who is also not too keen on dried fruit but quite enjoyed a normal sponge cake with some home made mincemeat in it in which the fruits had been soaked in hot brandy where they swelled up to almost normal fruits.


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