Friday, 25 September 2009


I like to get mine made in good time to give the flavours a chance to develop and to soak up the copious amounts of brandy LOL This is an easy and fairly economical recipe, and I got 9 jars out of it - plenty for Christmas and the following winter weeks. As well as mince pies, I use it in baked apples, mincemeat cake, slices, with ice cream, etc.
For the dried fruit, I use whatever is in the larder to make up the quantity; this year I used a cake mix that I buy in huge bags from the wholesaler - raisins, currants, cherries, mixed peel, sultanas. It's a handy thing to keep in stock for cake mkaing, etc, and I use a lot of it. For suet, I buy the ready made stuff, and the vegetarian one so Bean can eat the mincemeat - she'd never forgive me if she couldn' I bought mine last month in the half price basket in a farm shop I popped into for something else - bit of creative shopping there!! Nuts can be added too, with almonds being the most suitable I think, and an assortment/amount of spice to your taste. I use cheap brandy for mine, but you could use homemade wine, whisky, cointreau, whatever you like really. Extra lemon/orange zest and juice if you like as well. The apples for mine came from a box of free ones by the roadside; make sure you use a crisp fresh apple that will hold its shape in the moist mincemeat.
The thing is about this recipe is it is infinitely adaptable - use what you like to eat, and what you have in stock.


3lbs of mixed dried fruit of your choice
3/4 lbs chopped/minced suet
zest and juice of two large lemons
1 lb sugar, brown, demarara or white, or a mix
1 level tablespoon of mixed spice
1 1/2 lbs apples, peeled, cored, chopped fine

Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl or similar - I use one of my jam pans. Moisten well with brandy - use plenty as it makes the fruit plump up and helps to keep the mincemeat moist and soft through storage over the winter. Cover and leave for 24 - 48 hours. Have ready some clean jars with lids; fill jars, screw on lids tightly, wipe round to ensure they are spotless on the outside. I dunk my tightly lidded jars in a deep bowl of very hot water and dry straight away with a clean tea towel.
Label and store in a cool, dry place for a good few weeks before using.
Roll on winter..................:)

Thursday, 24 September 2009

MrsL's almost self-reliant adaptable pudding.............

This is rather good - tastes just as good as it looks! Very easy too, which is what we want.

Make some hazelnut meringue - 4 egg whites (large), beaten until very stiff, with 1 tbsp sugar incorporated. Fold in about 2 oz of toasted, chopped hazelnuts. Bake in the same way you make your meringues, then leave to cool. When cool, crumble into a large carton of double cream whipped until it holds its shape, and add a good handful of fresh raspberries; fold in gently, preserving the lovely marbled effect.
Chill until ready to serve.

The adaptable bit? Make the hazelnut meringue in two lightly oiled sandwich tins, turn out to cool when baked. Spread one half with whipped double cream, add the raspberries and place the other half on top. Chill for a couple of hours, then slice to serve.
Or how about a pavlova? Make the meringue into a pavlova shape, bake until crisp, then fill with the cream and the raspberries.
Or make into individual meringues for an autumnal afternoon tea?

The almost self-reliant bit? The eggs are from my own hens; the raspberries, Autumn Bliss, picked fresh from the garden this morning after the dew had dried on them; the hazelnuts were from one of my trees in the garden which gave an excellent crop this year - shelled and toasted in a dry frying pan over a high heat until just coloured, then chopped fairly roughly. Still working on the cream , but if I get the goats organised next year - who knows?? LOL

Spanish omelette

This is one of my favourite standby recipes, and we have it fairly often as it's economical and very tasty.

Fry some chopped onion and diced potato in sunflower oil until soft and lightly coloured. I think this might be it for an authentic Spanish omelette, but I often add in bits of veg that need using up - in this case a softening red pepper from the fridge. When the vegetables are ready, pour over 2 - 3 beaten eggs and cook until firm on the bottom, but not too coloured. The top can be finished off under a grill, or it can be cooked until finished on a gentle heat. Turn out on a warm plate and enjoy. It is very filling, and is a meal in itslef, a meal in one pan - we like that bit, from a washing up point of view! LOL

Blog Action Day 2009

I took part in this last year, and really enjoyed it. This year's topic is climate change - should be a good one.

Does anyone else take part?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

September giveaway

After the past couple of days' unpleasantness caused by someone not associated with me or my blog/forum, let's get back to normal, and here, for your delectation, is the September giveaway! Bit of a quickie this month, as time is getting on, but it's here nevertheless.:)
The book is "Gardening when it counts - growing food in hard times" by Steve Solomon; it's a Mother Earth book for Wiser Living. There's a huge amount of information on vegetable growing, it's a lovely book, an easy read covering a wide range of aspects of growing.
I've popped in four packets of my own seeds as well - pot marigold (calendula), corncockle, shoo-fly (nicandra, good for repelling aphids, really works :) ) and sweet cicely, whose leaves can replace some of the sugar used when stewing fruit. All the seeds have been collected from my garden here in Dorset, which has been organically managed for over 12 years now.
To be in with a chance of winning, please leave a comment on my blog, or send me an e-mail - address in the bar on the right under "September giveaway".

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Puppy love.....................

This is a picture of my latest knitting commission - 10 puppy jumpers and one for their mum; it's for a publicity shot for a local company. I had great fun matching up their corporate colours in the wool shop, armed with a handful of their cakes and biscuits in the appropriate shade of wrapping! There are a few other things she wants to work on after this; it's nice to have something a little different to knit! 2 down, 8 to go................ LOL

A day of bees, a day of light, a day of peace

Today is the feast day of St Matthew.

"St Matthew's Day bright and clear brings good wine in next year"

His day falls close the the autumnal equinox; it's time to close the beehives for the year (St Matthew shut up the bee) and to prepare for the darker nights ahead (St Matthew get candlesticks new). It is also one of the two days known as the devil's nutting days, when it's unwise to go to the woods to gather nuts. Glad I can get mine from the garden!! LOL

Also, today is International Day of Peace

I shall be lighting my table candle, hoping for peace in the world.

If there is light in the soul,

there will be beauty in the person.

If there is beauty in the person,

there will be harmony in the house.

If there is harmony in the house,

there will be order in the nation.

If there is order in the nation,

there will be peace in the world.

Chinese Proverb

Like most things worth striving for, it begins in the soul, within the individual.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

True Blue

More on the wonderful Dorset Blue Vinney cheese, well worth a read.

This is where the cheese is made today, about 1 1/2 miles from my house: