My family loves mince pies and the starting point for all good mince pies is delicious, homemade mincemeat – dried fruit and spices soaked in orange juice, lemon juice and brandy – yum.
Time for some Christmas baking
This week I started my Christmas baking. The list of what I planning to make is longer than ever this year. Some old family favourites – mince pies, marzipan and cherry cake and christmas cake. Some things I tried last year that didn’t go so well – I’m determined (although not that confident) that I can make great stollen. And lots that I’ve never tried before, some requested by family and some that I want to try just because I think it’ll be fun – truffles and mulled wine (not technically baking but I get to raid my spice drawer so I think it counts).
Have you started your Christmas baking yet? What are you making?
Given the amount that I have on my list to cook, I thought I’d better start as early as possible. Mincemeat is a great one to start with as it can be made up to six months in advance and stored in the fridge.
For some reason I’d always assumed that making mincemeat was difficult, but it’s pretty much the easiest thing you can make. Chuck everything in a bowl and mix it up – it’s that simple.
Last year was the first time I’d attempted it (having always thought that it was difficult) and I used this recipe from BBC Good Food. It got such good feedback from all of my family, that I stuck to the same recipe again this year.
The one important lesson I learnt from my mincemeat making last year is that I’m incapable of grating nutmeg without catching my knuckles – ouch. If anyone knows the knack of grating nutmeg and not fingers I’d love to hear about it in the comments. This year I treated myself to a spice grinder
NOTE – One important step to remember if you’re making your mincemeat in advance is to make sure you sterilise your jars. I use this method of sterilising in the oven. The Kilner jars I use have a rubber seal so I sterilise the lids in a pan of boiling water.
Photographing mincemeat for my #Make30Photos Photography Challenge
Anyone following me on Instagram will know that I recently started a 30 day photography challenge with the aim of improving my photography.
My second challenge was “things in threes” and I decided to use the mincement I’d just made as my subject. It never occurred to me that all photographs on Instagram are square so I happily spent ages arranging the rectangular picture you see at the beginning of this post. I put it on Instagram anyway, but I wanted to share the original for anyone following my challenge to see what I’d actually intended (especially as for once this is a photo I’m pretty pleased with 🙂 )
I’d love to know what you all think of my progress in the photography challenge. You can follow me on Instagram here if you’d like to see how I do.