It will soon be time to start baking for Christmas - indeed the local supermarkets have just stocked the shelves with the first of this year's mince pies - so I thought that making the mincemeat to fill the mince pies should perhaps be my first priority.
I shall make my usual batch later, but wanted to be slightly adventurous first, so dredged up my Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management and came across her Lemon Apple Mincemeat, and thought I'd give that a whirl.
The original recipe requires 2 large lemons, 6 large apples, half a pound each of suet and sugar and 1lb of currants, 2 oz candied lemon peel, 1oz citron, plus mixed spice to taste.
I've metricated that to 250g sugar and suet, and 500g raisins, plus 75g candied lemon peel. Here's what I used:
As you can see, I've made use of apples which are damaged in some way, and therefore won't store over winter, I've used one large and 2 medium sized lemons, I had some root ginger in the fridge, so decided to use some of that for flavouring, and I've used raisins, not currants. My suet is vegan, naturally, not the beef suet she would have used.
First, I zested the lemons and grated the ginger.
I put the zest and ginger into a microwaveable bowl with 1 table spoon of water and cooked on high for 3 minutes until soft. Whilst it was cooking I peeled and cored the apples.
This is the cooked zest and ginger mix.
This is the worm's share of the apples. I decided to add an extra apple to the mix as I'd had to cut out quite a lot, as you can see! So I've ended up with about 6 large apples, as required.
The recipe states to mince the apples, but I don't possess a mincer, so grated them coarsely, then added the other ingredients and blitzed everything with my Bamix. I used 75g of candied lemon peel as I don't have citron. I stirred in 3 tsps each of ground coriander (lovely orangey flavour) and 3 tsps of ground cinnamon to go alongside the ginger. I stirred in the juice of the 3 lemons.
I put the finished golden hued mixture into a couple of plastic storage containers with good seals, and popped them in the fridge. Now the wait begins - the original says it should be ready in a week or ten days - how exciting:) I just need to remember to stir it "occasionally".
The mixture looks a little wet, but I expect the raisins will absorb much of the juice from the apples and lemons. Watch this space, and we'll see what happens to it!