Foul Or Fusion: Pasta alla Sriracha

Firstly, I apologise for this 4.5 month hiatus. I’ve been on a couple of restricted diets and generally just not been hit with any culinary inspiration lately….or if I had, I just never got around to writing it down.

This recipe is hardly the most grandiose comeback, in fact, some might question my sanity for even calling this a ‘recipe’, but in the final pre-payday struggle after a fortnight of indulgence that’s probably completely undone all the dietary restraint of the previous 2-3 months, I was quite pleased with this hastily-cobbled-together lunch (or supper) and felt the need to share.

It takes inspiration from several sources – Mama June from Honey Boo Boo (yes, really); the early-2010s craze for sriracha, Anna Del Conte, Jack Monroe….ah what the hell. This is a council-house take on penne all’arrabbiata that shouldn’t work. But it does. It’s essentially pasta with some sriracha sauce and ketchup, but with some respect kept towards Italian cooking methods (less is more with the sauce, use of the mantecatura) and not drowning in downmarket condiments. In fact I only added ketchup to balance out the garlic-soused pungency of the sriracha. I know cooking with ketchup is considered disreputable, and not the thing, but I’m not prepared to justify myself here.

Can be made with any pasta shape you have on hand – spaghetti would work very well too as it’s a light dressing as opposed to swimming in sauce. And adjust the quantities of sauces if you like more or less heat, or a sweeter taste.

Serves one.

Pasta alla sriracha

 

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125g penne or spaghetti – indeed whatever shape is in your cupboard.

Small knob butter

1 tbsp ketchup

1-1 1/4 tsp sriracha sauce (to taste)

Grated parmesan

  1. Set a pan of water on to boil, salt, and then cook pasta according to package instructions. When pasta is at least al dente, remove from heat (but don’t turn off) and drain, hiving off a small cupful of the starchy water as you do so before returning pasta to the pan.
  2. Reduce heat to very low and add the butter, ketchup and sriracha, and stir to combine and coat the pasta evenly, adding some of the reserved cooking water as you do so. You want lightly, yet well-coated pasta. Think dressed salad, there should be barely any excess sauce.
  3. Serve immediately, top with grated parmesan, black pepper and, if desired, drizzled with more sriracha.

 

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Peel It: Banana Bread

With the government telling us all we need to go on a diet, perhaps writing yet another baked good recipe isn’t the best idea but I’ve never been one to follow rules…

Banana bread, like many quickbreads, sits neatly in the gap between cake and bread. See also muffins. They’re sweet enough to enjoy as a treat with a coffee any time of the day, but hold their own as breakfast too.

Americans have made quickbreads their own – you can make any saggy old fruit or vegetable into a quickbread (I class carrot cake, especially if it’s un-frosted, as a kind of quickbread) – apart from banana and courgette bread, I’ve also made apple bread, pumpkin bread….there’s also sweet potato bread, even strawberry bread. Beer bread is also extremely good though that definitely sits firmly in ‘bread’ category. So it’s fitting that this recipe comes from America; measurements and all; indeed it’s a light rework of Betty Crocker’s, (which according to their site was first published in 1961) and I’ve been a touch unorthodox and used Skyr, which is a very thick Icelandic yoghurt-like dairy product (technically a type of soft cheese but you can find it in the yoghurt section at the supermarket). If you can’t get hold of Skyr, use any yoghurt you desire. I added the extra lemon juice just to ensure it would help the bread rise, and to slacken the Skyr a bit.

It’s extremely easy – wet into dry and bake.

Many like to augment their banana breads with chocolate chips/fruit/nuts etc….I’m a purist. I want to taste the bananas in it. So mine is resolutely plain (though coffee works as an interesting flavour partner and certainly pushes it much further into breakfast territory).  I admit the crust is on the dark side though. You can also do this in two smaller loaf tins, just reduce the baking time accordingly and check after 45 minutes. As soon as a toothpick/tester comes out clean..done.

 

Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup sunflower oil

2 eggs

3-4 very ripe bananas

1/2 cup Skyr (Icelandic thick fat free yoghurt but any kind will do)

2 tsp lemon juice

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp fine salt
1. Preheat oven to 350F (I have an oven thermometer but if you don’t, 350 is just under 180C), and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin (or two 1lb ones) with a sheet of parchment to enable easy lifting out later.
2. In one bowl place the flour, salt and bicarb.
3. In another, mash the bananas as finely or as coarsely as you like, before breaking in the eggs and adding the oil, skyr, lemon juice and sugar. Whisk until combined.
4. Scrape the wet ingredients into the dry and combine as quickly as you can, making sure no lumps of flour remain – it’s quite a thick batter.
5. Spoon and scrape into the tin(s) and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. If using two smaller tins, check after 45 minutes.
6. Leave to cool in tin(s) on a wire rack (I left mine overnight as I baked it in the evening for the next day’s breakfast) before lifting out and cuitting into slices. Wrap in cling film to keep fresh.

Oatside The Box: Banana, Raspberry and Oat Crumble

I’ve made allusions to it before but aside from Queen Nigella, my other food hero is Jack Monroe. Most of us know their story, so I won’t retell it here. Having had to severely yank my purse strings of late, I’ve been feverishly re-reading their blog (my copy of A Girl Called Jack sadly didnt move house with me as I felt it was better left behind for my ex-partner’s stepdad, who isn’t that tech savvy and unlike me won’t necessarily get online to Jack’s blog to find a recipe like I would) in an attempt to get myself back into the pleasure of cooking cheaply again.

To cut a long story short, re-reading Jack’s recipes has lit the fire under me again and whilst I take a week’s sabbatical from the gym whilst we are battered by this heinous weather (un-necessary journeys from the house etc…excuses excuses…anyway) I’ve been able to meal plan and just find that extra time to get inspired. Jack was able to create healthy and delicious recipes out of necessity in hideous financial circumstances, and I know I can too.

I really fancied a proper dessert but one that wasn’t too much work or required any extra shopping. I mentally listed what fruit I had in (bananas, two golden delicous apples, some blackberries in the freezer from September and some frozen raspberries). I’d already earmarked the apples and blackberries for a kuchen this coming weekend (from Nigella Bites) so that left…bananas and raspberries – which I usually have in for post-gym smoothies….but as I’m not gymming this week..

The lightbulb clicked on – would they work together as an unorthodox base for a crumble? Tart fruits after all are the best choice for crumbles, and Nigella has done jumbleberry and strawberry ones before….perfect! The bananas will just add a good hit of starchy sweetness that will work wonders with the fragrant sharpness of the berries.

Although it’s very much in the Cooking On A Bootstrap line of thinking, this recipe is loosely based upon Nigella’s excellent Ruby Red Plum And Amaretti crumble (one of the few ways you can make long-haul, imported, billiard-ball plums edible); indeed you could take further inspiration from that if you like and in place of the amaretti biscuits, bash up some custard creams as their sweet vanilla flavour would work extremely well alongside the raspberries.

A crumble is a quintessential British pud, and in weather like this, ideal. When I first came up with this idea when at work, I initially planned to use some of the nicer things out my storecupboard (buckwheat flour, sesame seeds etc) but actually, I thought it’d be better to strip it back a bit and make it more austere, so anyone who may not have such fancy things knocking about can have a go.  Although I used frozen raspberries as I had a bag and a half in the freezer, feel free to use whatever frozen berries fit your budget. And as long as you have roughly 300g of them and sliced bananas, it doesn’t matter what your banana-berry ratio is – I used two medium bananas and just added enough raspberries to make up the weight.

I originally planned to save my flour and use all-oats, ground to a flour in the blender, but when I came to rub the marg into the ground oats, it just clumped so I had to add some regular wheat flour to break it up a bit.

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Final note: it isn’t overly sweet, as bananas can be very sweet anyway but you adjust the sugar to your own taste. Also it doesn’t make a lot of juice so also add more liquid to the fruit before you put the topping on if you like your crumbles juicier.

 

Banana, Raspberry And Oat Crumble

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300g sliced bananas and frozen berries

2 tbsp lemon juice

1tbsp sugar (or to taste)

For the crumble topping:

100g porridge oats, blitzed to as fine as you can get them, plus an additional 25g, left as they are.

3 tbsp plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g margarine

2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)

 

1. Preheat oven to 190C.

2. Lightly oil an ovenproof dish, not too deep if possible.

3. Slice the banana(s) and fling into the dish along with the frozen berries and the lemon juice (sidenote: if you have Scotch whiskey knocking about, why not add a wee nip or two of that as this crumble has got a faint Scottish flavour about it!), mix lightly to try and evenly disperse the banana coins. Sprinkle with sugar.

4. In a bowl, mix the ground oats with the baking powder and the flour, before rubbing in the margarine until you get something that looks like slightly fatty oatmeal (well, it sort-of is!). Fork in the sugar and the whole oats.

5. Place this mix on top of the fruit, starting at the edges before filling up in the middle. It doesn’t have to be evenly covered.

6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and the crimson juices start bubbling through the sandy topping. If you can bear it, leave for 15 minutes before doling out, greed-satisyfingly, into bowls with custard or cream – I was lucky to pick up some reduced Jersey double cream on the day I made it so I had it with that.

Tried And Tested: Victoria Sandwich

You might think I’m extracting buckets of urine here by daring to post a recipe for such a well known British classic, but as any discerning cook knows, there is no one great single authentic recipe for any dish, regardless of what the WI might say.

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The Victoria sandwich has been an integral part of British culture since the 19th century (when baking powder was invented) and indeed every known food writer has offered up their take on this simple yet universally-popular cake. I’ve not met one person who doesn’t like it. There is really no way you can eff it up. Though I’ve never understood why people like to put fresh cream in these as it means you have to keep it in the fridge which dries out the sponge, which is the main event here.  But that’s just me.

The Vicky Sponge is notoriously sensitive to cooking time and oven temperature. So much so that it’s used by oven manufacturers to test their products’ effectiveness. Oven too hot? Cake will either burn, rise dramatically and then sink. Oven too cool? Won’t cook properly and you risk overdoing the outside and leaving the centre raw. An oven thermometer is ideal and you only need to know this:

Fan oven: 160C

Electric oven: 180C

Gas oven: Gas Mark 4

And you bake for 25 minutes max.

There’s so many different ways to get the ideal lightness – some writers replace a small amount of the flour with cornflour; others use plain flour and add extra baking powder; others only use the traditional creaming method…the list goes on and I won’t bore you with all of this now.

The best advice I’ve ever read and it’s the one I’m passing on to anyone who’ll listen; and it comes direct from the WI who are fiendishly draconian on their Victorias….weigh your eggs in their shells; make a note of the weight – this is how much fat, sugar and self-raising flour you’ll need. 7 inch sandwich tins use 3 eggs, 8 inch (like mine), use 4. Any size eggs you like.

Anyway, enough waffle. I’ve made countless Victorias over the years…and I’ve broken the rules numerous times….I’ve gone with gourmet butter, regular butter, margarine, Bertolli spread, Flora…if it says ‘suitable for baking’ on the tub then it’s gone into a Vicky sponge.

My preferred filling is raspberry jam (home made) as the WI insist (the seeds help keep the cakes sandwiched apparently), but I find it lacks something on its own, so I always sandwich it along with buttercream to round it off.  The cake in the photos I admit was sandwiched with bought jam…sorry!

Normally my standard formula is salted butter and caster sugar, but I’ve had to change things a bit, especially lately in more budget conscious times – this is the point of this post – and, don’t tell your local WI – but granulated sugar still makes a cracking light sponge! Only the pickiest, most petty judge would be able to tell the difference. Butter is superior in flavour (I don’t put vanilla in my sponge) but as I mentioned in the chocolate cake post, Waitrose’s essential sunflower spread, reasonably priced at £1 a tub, works just as well (it’s also cheaper than, and tastes better than Stork) – though any spread that’s marked as suitable for baking will do. It makes an inferior buttercream but as you only need a small amount for sandwiching, don’t bother getting extra butter just for that.

I also recommend for quickness, the all-in-one method also favoured by Mary Berry. A whisk and a bowl is fine.

Budget Victoria Sandwich

 

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Cake:

4 eggs, weighed in their shells.

Same weight of:
Spread/margarine – must have ‘suitable for baking’ on the tub.
Granulated sugar
Self-raising flour

2 LEVEL tsp baking powder

2-4 tbsp water

Filling:

Raspberry jam (shop bought or homemade)

Buttercream (You can go by eye, but I’d say 1 part marg to 3 parts icing sugar)

Jam (if using homemade):

200g frozen raspberries
250g jam sugar/granulated sugar with the juice of 1/2 a lemon added for the pectin

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan and grease two 8in/20cm sandwich tins with the bases lined with parchment.
  2. In a bowl combine all the ingredients and beat with a whisk (you don’t need electricity here) until combined and smooth – dropping consistency is what you want (hence the water). Don’t overdo it. If you want, you can do this in a food processor.
  3. Working quickly (the raising agents will start to act as soon as the batter is mixed) divide between the tins, spreading out evenly.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes (check at 20 just in case) until golden. When ready, the cakes should be coming away from the sides of the tins; the centre should spring back when pushed lightly, and a tester inserted should come out clean.
  5. If you’re making your own jam (and awesome if you are), now’s the time to do it. In a heavy based saucepan, tip in the raspberries and place over a medium heat to begin thawing out. As soon as they are thawed, add the sugar (and lemon juice if using normal granulated), stir to begin dissolving and turn up the heat, bringing to the boil. Once boiling, leave at a rollicking boil for 4 minutes exactly before tipping into a shallow dish (any ovenproof ‘lasagne dish’ is perfect here) to cool and set.
  6. Place the cakes, still in their tins on a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes exactly.
  7. After this 5 minutes, slide a regular knife around the edges to loosen and remove the cakes from the tins onto the wire rack and leave to cool completely.
    TIP: If you are entering the village show, unmould the cakes carefully onto a clean tea towel before placing on the rack the ‘right’ side up to avoid those GHASTLY rack marks!
  8. Make the buttercream. When not using real butter, I just go by eye and beat a small amount of margarine with icing sugar until I get a spreadable consistency – taste for sweetness. if you have any vanilla knocking about, add a dash.
  9. When the cakes are cooled, pick the less good-looking one of the two and place it face-down on a plate or stand (doily optional) before spreading the flat side now facing up with jam. How much you spread is up to you but remember it’ll squidge out the sides if you’re too heavy handed once you sandwich.
  10. On the other cake, spread the underside with the buttercream. I wouldn’t be too heavy with this as you want it to complement the jam without it being too sickly. Place carefully on top of the jam-spread cake to sandwich.
  11. For a finishing touch, sprinkle with granulated sugar (not icing, sorry. I go with the WI again here and I think it looks better), stick the kettle on and dive in. Keep covered in cling to prevent it going stale.

Pleasure On A Budget: Dark And Sumptuous Chocolate Cake (sadly not vegan)

First of all, let me address the glamorous goddess in the room. This is obviously not my recipe and nor will I pretend it is. I’m publishing this to make a point (and shut up haters). To borrow from Dwayne The Rock Johnson…it doesn’t matter how cheap your ingredients are!

As Jack Monroe has always stated, the ingredients to any recipe are mere building blocks. It’s what you do with them that counts. So whether you got them from Waitrose 1, Tesco Value, or your local corner shop, you can be confident that you’ll still arrive at the same result if the recipe is good.

And this enchanting, confounding, deeply pleasurable cake from Queen Nigella can be made either with top-tier organic range….or entirely of value ingredients. I’ve tried it many ways and I can assure you it is ALWAYS nothing less than sumptuously good and worthy of its title – far greater than the sum of its parts.

I was keen to see just how much I could ‘cheapen’ this cake to fit my sadly stricter budget these days and not feel like it was compromised. It hasn’t at all. Because I’ve made a few changes I wondered if it was worth posting…I feel it is, though of course I have linked the original recipe to show that I never intended to plagiarise.

The icing I wondered if it would turn out sickly because of the lower percentage of cocoa solids in the chocolate but I find that budget-brand plain chocolate is a dark horse in cooking. It’s produced in France (Tesco) and Germany (Sainsbury’s) and the continentals know a thing or two about making good chocolate. Cocoa solids are a mere 45% (compared the 70% usually recommended in cakes like this) and it does contain whey, but for the tiny price tag it snaps nicely and has a good sheen, and I’ve always found it easy to cook with and never tastes nasty, synthetic or cheap. So it may be 45p a bar but all you’ve paid for is the chocolate and who cares about the ugly wrapper? It may be sweeter than 70% solids but that’s countered by the welcome bitter edge brought by the instant coffee and the cocoa powder and the margarine contains salt anyway so really…it’s just a slightly different formula that results in an identical taste.

I find that the icing made with these particular ingredients goes very thick but that’s not a hardship – for my clumsy self it made it far easier to spread and it sets beautifully. I’m not bothered about mirror glaze finishes. I bake cakes for taste.

I do recommend sticking with Nigella’s stated dark brown soft sugar as I find it’s not a bank breaker but I’m sure if you’ve only got the granulated white stuff to hand, there’s more than enough flavour given by the cocoa and coffee in the cake itself too. And as for the vinegar needed to help the cake rise – it’s such a tiny amount that you can use regular malt, distilled even. That’s the beauty of this recipe. So I’m not trying to pass off this as my own. I’m just saying what I did and proving that Nigella’s haters have yet another of their pathetic arguments nulled and voided – this is not an expensive cake and Aldi and Lidl will stock everything you need.

As for the topping – she says use whatever your heart desires. I topped mine with freeze-dried raspberries and freeze-dried tangerine powder as I happened to have those int he cupboard from more prosperous times. Use what’s to hand and within your budget. Or leave it plain.

Dark And Sumptuous Chocolate Cake On A Budget

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Cake:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 1½ tsp instant coffee granules
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 300g soft dark brown sugar (I tend to have this in but I’m sure granulated would be fine here)
  • 375ml hot water – from a recently boiled kettle
  • 6 tbsp (90ml) vegetable oil
  • 1½ tsp vinegar (even clear distilled is fine)

Icing:

  • 60 ml/4 tbsp cold water
  • 75g margarine (I used essential Waitrose sunflower spread which also makes a fabulously light Victoria sandwich and only £1 a tub)
  • 50g dark brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1½ tbsp cocoa
  • 150g plain chocolate, broken into pieces

You will  also need a 20cm/8in round springform cake tin, lined with greaseproof and lightly greased.

  1. Start with the icing, though first preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and pop in a baking sheet at the same time.
  2. To make the icing, put all the ingredients bar the chocolate into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir to make sure it’s all dissolved together before turning off the heat and adding the broken chocolate. Swirl the pan to make sure it’s submerged; leave for a minute before whisking until glossy and smooth. Set aside.
  3. Put the dry ingredients – flour, bicarb, salt and cocoa in a bowl and fork to mix.
  4. Dissolve the instant coffee granules in the water, before mixing in the sugar, vegetable oil and vinegar.
  5. This cake is literally wet-into-dry – once the wet’s all mixed (ensure the oil isn’t floating on the top), tip into the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined and there’s no lumps, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes. Though ovens do vary – do check at the 30-minute mark to see if it is already done – but you may need to bake for an additional 10 minutes as well.
  6. When it’s ready, the cake will be coming away from the edges of the tin and a cake tester will come out clean, apart from a few crumbs. This is a fudgy cake and you don’t want to overdo it – chocolate cake can take being slightly underdone and squidge is desirable here.
  7. Once the cake is cooked, transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the cake cool in its tin.
  8. When the cake is cooled, unspring from the tin and place on a stand or plate. Stir the icing in case it’s really thick and then spread with rapturous joy over the cake. I found it to have the exact consistency of buttercream frosting when made with these ingredients so just frost away.
  9. If you want to decorate it, just sprinkle with whatever your heart desires and then leave to set before slicing.

Fusion At My Table: Sriracha Tuna Melt Tortilla Pie

As you’d expect, I have slavishly followed the TV series and cooked numerous recipes from Nigella Lawson’s latest book, At My Table, which for my reckoning, is superior to its predecessor Simply.

A very popular recipe, for me at least, is the gloriously easy but very satisfying to eat Egg Tortilla Pie, essentially a ‘pie’ made not from pastry, but tortilla wraps and baked in a dish (in my case a sandwich tin) until crisp on the outside and warmingly savoury goo within. And it’s one of those recipes you can infinitely adapt to what’s in the fridge – known amongst thrifty food bloggers as ‘fridge cleaners’, much like soup and quiche are.

This is go with the flow cookery at its most satisfyingly simple and highly rewarding eating.

I’ve essentially played fast and loose, keeping the tortilla, hot sauce and egg but gotten much more inventive (I think) with the meat and cheese elements.  It’s only loosely related to the recipe that spawned it now so I feel I can call it my own! Satisfyingly savoury, gooey stringiness and just enough heat and bite from the ramped-up sriracha (itself a fabulous condiment that will enhance ANYTHING it’s anointing), and the smell as it cooks is almost pizza-like. The tuna doesn’t invade and absorbs the rasp of the sriracha sauce wonderfully.

I desribe this as the lovechild of a pizza and spanakopita (owing to how crisp the outer edges of the tortilla shell become) and indeed you could throw in tomato of some sort.

 

Sriracha Tuna Melt Tortilla Pie

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2 x plain flour tortilla wraps (the kind you get from the bread aisle, not the small ones for fajitas etc)

1 tin tuna chunks in brine, drained and lightly broken up with a fork.

1 large egg

Grated mozzarella (I use the ready grated stuff in pouches and went by eye, use as much or as little as you want)

Grated Cheddar (any strength, as above)

Sriracha chilli sauce, to taste

Thyme leaves

Garlic-infused olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Grease a small round ovenproof dish or 20cm sandwich tin (preferably lined with parchment) with some garlic oil.
  2. Lay one of the tortillas in the greased tin/dish, letting it come up the sides like a pie crust. Fork out and level it with the tin of tuna.
  3. Crack the egg on top of the fish, season with salt and pepper before sprinkling generously with the mozzarella cheese and anointing with a Jackson Pollock of Sriracha.
  4. Oil the other tortilla and then place, oiled side facing down (so facing the filling) and lightly press to the sides of the first wrap, attempting to make a full-crust pie shape. Top with grated cheddar, strew with thyme leaves and more gaily-squirted sriracha before placing in the oven for 15 minutes, until golden and crisp.
  5. Serve hot, either whole and eaten politely with a knife and fork, or simply slice into spindly wedges like a pizza and eat gratifyingly by hand.

Making Mincemeat Of You: Mincemeat

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Firstly, sorry I’ve left this until December 12 to put up a Christmas recipe. Other stuff has gotten in the way. But I’m back now.

I don’t need to tell you what mincemeat is – I’ve made my own for a good few years now; utilising various recipes and trying to get it right. I’ve used Nigella, Delia, the Ministry Of Food from 1945 and going back a bit further, a 1934 recipe. This year I simply couldn’t decide what to do, so I combined elements from Fanny Cradock’s Royal Mincemeat (yes, the same stuff she thinks is most excellent as an undercooked omelette filling) and the Ministry Of Food as these were what matched my budget and in-cupboard availabilities the most, and decided to go it alone.

I also took inspiration from the ingredients list on the box of Waitrose 1 Mince Pies as I found these to be particularly excellent for bought ones, which is why there’s some unusual ingredients like golden syrup in this, and I used glacé cherries and dried apricots in the mixed fruit as that’s what Waitrose used. But honestly, use whatever combo of dried fruit takes your fancy – just make sure it’s 1lb. I must also highly recommend the dark raisiny tones of Pedro Ximinez sherry as one of your boozes of choice – honestly, makes a real difference.

I’m fairly old-school when it comes to mincemeat – it must contain suet, and I prefer to make it just by combining ingredients and jarring; no cooking necessary as it gets cooked in the pies.

Bramley apples are the best to use, but you can use whatever you like – I actually used Royal Galas as I had some in the fridge that I’d gotten reduced and in bulk. The only work involved is some grating and snipping for the dried apricots (if using), and it takes mere minutes before you have your own homemade mincemeat ready to lock and load.

 

Mincemeat

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8oz brown sugar

4-5oz shredded suet (vegetable if you want)

8oz apples, grated (any variety you desire – leave the skin on)

1lb mixed dried fruit (any you like – I recommend dried apricots and glacé cherries to be a part of the mix)

Zest 1 orange and 1 lemon

2tbsp marmalade (any you like)

1tbsp golden syrup

1tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp mixed spice

3tbsp brandy

2tbsp Pedro Ximinez sherry

OPTIONAL: Juice of 1/2 a lemon, especially if you’re using eating apples. Plus extra liquid helps dissolve the sugar, syrup and marmalade.

  1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl.
  2.  Pack into sterilised jars and seal. Add brandy (or any spirit) from time to time to keep it going. 

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