Easy Mincemeat recipe

Easy, home-made, vegetarian Mincemeat – a traditional seasonal recipe

This easy Mincemeat recipe was made by my mother every Christmas. It is based on one in an extremely old and battered copy of Mrs Beeton’s Cookery Book, which she always kept to hand in her kitchen. However, she made a few adaptations, such as leaving out the mixed peel because she didn’t like it and adding more brandy for the opposite reason. And I follow her example in this.

However, my one change to the recipe is that I use vegetarian suet rather than animal suet. I don’t think it makes any difference to the taste. Mincemeat is a very old recipe, and originally contained meat, and the inclusion of suet was a continuation of this. If you are vegetarian, this recipe has all the taste and no animal products.

Home-made Mincemeat – why on earth would you bother?

You may be wondering why you would bother to make your own Mincemeat when there are a huge number of good quality jars on your supermarket shelves. You might also think that there are even more packets of mince-pies available for you to eat right now without bothering to turn on your oven. In response, I would make the following points.

It’s easy

Firstly, it is extremely easy to make your own home-made Mincemeat. In fact, calling it a recipe, is a bit of a stretch as you just mix the various ingredients together and then leave them for the flavours to develop. Mincemeat does not require any cooking as the sugar and brandy transform and combine the other ingredients.

The one point you need to bear in mind is that you need to make the Mincemeat a month before you plan to use it. It needs this time for the brandy to work its magic on the dried fruit. So if you want to make mince-pies for Christmas, you need to be thinking about making your Mincemeat in late November. In fact, traditionally it is made on Stir Up Sunday which is the last Sunday before Advent. In 2019, this is Sunday, 24th November.

It tastes good

Secondly, there is absolutely no comparison in terms of taste between the shop bought Mincemeat and the one you make at home. Even high quality ready-made versions will have a comparatively high proportion of sugar and a comparatively low proportion of brandy. Yes, even those which state that they contain brandy really do not have very much! Home-made mincemeat is full of flavour as, in addition to the brandy and dried fruit, it has a hit of citrus and spice from the nutmeg and cinnamon.

It is Christmas in a jar…

Thirdly, if you want to get your Christmas baking mojo on, this is absolutely the perfect recipe. With the smell of dried fruit soaked in brandy, you have Christmas right there. You get this when you make the Mincemeat and, again, when you use it to make mincepies. Buttery pastry, warmed brandy-soaked fruit – need I say more?

…or under the tree

Fourthly, if you are looking for home-made present ideas, this is a pretty good one. You can dress up the jar with a few ribbons and you are good to go. As there is essentially no skill involved whatsoever, and doing the mixing is quite fun, it is definitely worth considering as a home-made present from children to older relatives. Provided said relatives like Mincemeat – probably best to check first.

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Mincemeat

Easy Mincemeat recipe

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Category: Pie filling
  • Cuisine: English

Description

With sugar, citrus and dried fruit soaked in brandy, this home-made Mincemeat is Christmas in a jar.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 450 g vegetarian suet
  • 450 g currants
  • 450 g raisins
  • 450 g sultanas
  • 450 g caster sugar
  • 1 cooking apple
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 75 ml brandy

Mincemeat


Instructions

  1. Put the suet, dried fruit and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Peel, core and chop the apple and add it to the bowl.
  3. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon zest.
  4. Pour in the brandy and stir well.
  5. Pack the mixture into sterilised jars.
  6. Place the jars in a cool, dry place and leave for at least a month before using. 
  7. Check the jars every week or so.  If the top of the Mincemeat looks dry, you can top it up with some more brandy.

Mincemeat


Notes

You can sterilise your jar by washing it in warm, soapy water, rinsing well and then drying off for 15 minutes in an oven set at 140C/120C fan/gas 1.   

If (unlike me) you like mixed peel, you can also add 450 g of it to this recipe.

It is easy to scale up this recipe if you want to make more mincemeat.  Simply double or triple the quantities of all the ingredients.

The mincemeat should last for at least six months in its jar.  You can also freeze it – taking it out of the jar and putting it into a freezer-proof container – and it will keep for at least twelve months.

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with LostinFood and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday and  Liz at Spades, Spatulas and Spoons

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Chilli Jam recipe

Home-made Chilli Jam recipe

This easy, home-made Chilli Jam recipe has a fantastic combination of heat tempered by sweetness. You can use this jam as a condiment to add a boost of heat to pretty much anything! Some of my favourite ways to use are listed below.

  • Use in place of a chutney in sandwiches. It is particularly good with cheese or hummus.
  • Drizzle into a baked potato together with a dollop of sour cream;
  • Makes a great dipping sauce for all kinds of things – prawn crackers, chips, prawns, grilled halloumi..
  • Add as an ingredient to liven up your baking – see my recipe for Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam.

Lots of lovely chillis..

You can use any kind of fresh chillis to make this jam. When choosing your chillis, bear in mind that the heat of the jam will be in direct correlation to the heat of the chillis that you use. If you are a straight-up hot chilli lover, by all means go for the California Reaper! However, if you like a milder punch of heat, go for something a bit less ferocious such as a Habanero. The Scoville Scale measures the heat of chillis and most of those you buy in stores have an indication of their fierceness. I grow my own chillis and the heat thing is sometimes a bit more hit-and-miss – especially when I forget what variety they are!

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Chilli Jam

Chilli Jam recipe

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Jam
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This fiery Chilli Jam combines the heat of fresh chillis with a sweet  jam.  It is perfect for perking up all kinds of savoury dishes as a condiment or an ingredient.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 100 g fresh chillis (red, green or yellow)
  • 100 g fresh red pepper
  • 750 g jam sugar
  • 40 ml cider or wine vinegar

Chillis


Instructions

  1. Finely chop the chillis and the red pepper and remove the seeds.
  2. Put the sugar and vinegar in a heavy-based pan.  Heat gently, without stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.   
  3. Then add the chopped chillis and pepper to the pan.  Increase the heat and cook at a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the mixture from the pan and blend using a food processor or hand blender.  You should end up with very small pieces of chilli suspended in the jam.   
  5. Pour the jam into a sterilised jar and seal with a lid.Chilli Jam

Notes

You can sterilise your jar by washing it in warm, soapy water, rinsing well and then drying off for 15 minutes in an oven set at 140C/120C fan/gas 1.       

The jam will keep for several months.  Once you  have opened the jar, keep it in the fridge.

Keywords: jam, chilli,

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare at EasyPeasyFoodie

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Easy Lemon Curd Recipe

Easy, home-made Lemon Curd

This Easy Lemon Curd Recipe will enable you to make fresh, zesty lemon curd in a matter of minutes. It is so easy to make and is totally different from over-sweetened shop-bought lemon curd which just does not have anything like the same level of sharp lemony flavour. This is one of those recipes where the minimal effort really pays off with a product that is so much better than the ready-made version.

Many people think it is hard to make Lemon Curd and worry about ending up with lemon-flavoured scrambled eggs rather than smooth curd. Do not worry! The acid in the lemon juice prevents the eggs scrambling when they are heated. All you need to do is cook over a low heat and make sure you stir the mixture while it is thickening. The whole recipe only takes around 10 minutes – quicker than going down to the shops to buy a jar of ready-made Lemon Curd.

You can make Curd from a number of other tropical fruit such as lime, orange, mango and passion fruit. I think it works best with strongly flavoured fruit – if you are a fan of rhubarb, have a look at my recipe for Rhubarb Curd.

There are so many uses for Easy Lemon Curd..

So what can you do with Lemon Curd? Well, lots and lots of things, actually! First off, it is great as a spread on bread as an alternative to jam or honey. It is also great stirred into plain yogurt or spooned over vanilla ice cream. However, in my opinion, it really comes into its own as a cooking ingredient. Its punch of lemony flavour is fantastic in all kinds of sweet dishes. It is particularly useful as a filling for cakes and in all kinds of puddings.

Other lemon-flavoured recipes

Lemon is one of my favourite flavours. I will always go for the lemon cake rather than the chocolate cake! If you like lemon too, you might like my Lemon Pavlova or easy Lemon Curd Ice Cream, both of which use my home-made Lemon Curd. Or you could check out some of my other lemon-flavoured recipes such as my Lemon Drizzle Cake, Lemon Biscuits and Lemon Verbena Ice Cream.

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Lemon Curd

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 300 ml lemon curd 1x
  • Category: Curd
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Easy Lemon Curd Recipe is fool-proof and only takes ten minutes.  In less time than it takes to go to the shop to buy ready-made Lemon Curd, you can have the far superior zesty, lemony home-made version.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 85 g butter
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs

Lemon Curd


Instructions

  1. Finely grate the zest of the lemons into a small, heavy-based saucepan.
  2. Squeeze the lemons and add their juice to the saucepan together with the butter and sugar.
  3. Beat the eggs and add these to the saucepan.
  4. Put the saucepan over a very low heat and stir until the butter has melted and the ingredients have combined.
  5. Continue stirring over the low heat until the mixture has thickened.  This should take around five minutes.
  6. Pour the mixture into sterilised jam jars and allow to cool.

Lemon Curd


Notes

Make sure you use unwaxed lemons which are available in most supermarkets.  You want lemon zest rather than wax in your curd!

Don’t worry about ending up with scrambled eggs!  The acid in the lemon juice will prevent this.

You can sterilise your jam jars by washing them in warm, soapy water, rinsing well and then drying off for 15 minutes in an oven set at 140C/120C fan/gas 1.

The lemon curd will keep for three weeks in the refridgerator.

Keywords: lemon curd, curd

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Rhubarb Compote

Rhubarb Compote – easy to make and used in so many different ways!

This Rhubarb Compote is basically a sauce made with roasted rhubarb and sugar. It is very easy to make and I generally make a big batch of it and then use it for a range of different dishes. It also freezes well so you can make it in advance and then defrost when you need it. Some of the ways that I use it are as listed below.

  • It can be used on its own as a dessert.
  • It can be spread on bread like a jam.
  • It can be used as a cake filling.
  • It makes a fantastic sauce for other dessert dishes such as ice-cream or yogurt.
  • It is also great as a topping for a pavlova. Just spread over a meringue base and top with whipped cream.
  • It can be used to make other dessert dishes such as Rhubarb Fool and Rhubarb Roulade.

I love rhubarb now but it took me a while to learn to like it. I was highly motivated as when we moved to our house many years ago there was a large rhubarb plant in the garden. It was in the middle of a flower bed and for the first few years, I did everything I could to get rid of it. I failed and the rhubarb plant thrived and, in the end, I decided to get cooking and make the best of things!

Other Rhubarb recipes

In addition to this recipe for Rhubarb Compote, many of my other rhubarb recipes are included in this blog. There are recipes for both Rhubarb Curd and Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam. If you are a rhubarb lover – or at least “rhubarb curious” – you might also like to have a look at Rhubarb Curd and Rose Ice Cream, Rhubarb Upside Down Cake, Rhubarb Victoria Sandwich Cake and Rhubarb Bread and Butter Pudding. If you want to save a bit of money and like flavoured gin, you should definitely try making Rhubarb Gin and use it in some Rhubarb Gin Cocktails!

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Rhubarb Compote

Rhubarb Compote

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 400 ml of compote 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Rhubarb Compote is very easy to make and can be used in many different ways.  You can eat it on its own as a dessert or as a sauce for ice-cream or yogurt or use to make Rhubarb Fool or Rhubarb Roulade.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 350 g fresh rhubarb stems
  • 100 g caster sugar

Rhubarb ready to roast for compote


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees C/350 F/gas mark 4.
  2. Wash your rhubarb stems and cut into lengths of around 2 cm.
  3. Put the rhubarb pieces and the sugar on a baking tray.   Stir the pieces around so that the sugar is evenly distributed.
  4. Put the baking tray in the oven and cook the rhubarb uncovered for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the baking tray from the oven.  The rhubarb pieces should be very soft and will have exuded a lot of juice.
  6. Allow the rhubarb to cool on the tray.  When it is cool, put it into a bowl and stir gently.  The pieces should break down and you will be left with a thick puree.   Taste the puree and add some more sugar if you think it needs it.  What you are looking for is a good balance of sweet/sour.  

Notes

You should have around 400 ml of compote using the quantities in this recipe.

The compote can be eaten on its own as dessert or used as a sauce for icecream or frozen yoghurt.   It can also be used in a range of other dessert dishes such as Rhubarb Fool or Rhubarb Roulade.   

Keywords: rhubarb, compote, sauce

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Gooseberry Jam

Gooseberry Jam
Gooseberries

Gooseberry Jam

Home-made Gooseberry Jam is a real treat.  It is tangy and fruity and has a good balance of sweet and sour, unlike some shop-bought jams which are too sugary.

I love gooseberries and appreciate their tangy sourness.  Green gooseberries are available from early June onwards and can be used to make a range of sweet and savoury dishes, tempered by the right amount of sugar.   Red or yellow dessert gooseberries, which can be eaten with no preparation,  become available later in the season.   My parents used to grow dessert gooseberries and I have happy memories of sitting under a tree in the garden as a child, reading a book – “Doctor Doolittle”, I think – with a big bowl of freshly-picked gooseberries beside me.

Gooseberries have fallen out of favour in recent years and can be hard to source.   I grow gooseberries in my garden but, if you don’t have the room or inclination to grow your own, you can find them in some supermarkets or independent greengrocers from early June onwards when they are in season.   They are also often available at “pick-your-own” farms.    The green culinary gooseberries are generally easier to source than the dessert gooseberries.   The season is very short so make the most of it!

Gooseberries lend themselves to a range of sweet dishes – tarts, crumbles, fools and  ice-cream and are fantastic in preserves and chutneys.  They are also a traditional accompaniment to some savoury dishes and, due to their tartness, go well with fatty meats such as pork or duck or oily fish such as mackerel.

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Home-made Gooseberry Jam

Gooseberry Jam

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 jam-jars 1x
  • Category: Jam
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Sweet and tangy home-made gooseberry jam is fantastic on crusty bread or as an ingredient in cakes or puddings.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 500 g gooseberries
  • 500 g jam sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon

Instructions

  1. Put gooseberries, lemon juice and 200 ml water in a heavy saucepan
  2. Heat gently to simmering point and then cook for around 10 minutes until fruit is soft.
  3. Add the sugar and continue to heat gently until it is dissolved.
  4. Turn up the heat and boil rapidly for a further 10-15 minutes.  The jam will change to a dark pink colour as it cooks.
  5. You can judge the setting point by putting a saucer in your freezer before making the jam.  Spoon some of the jam onto the cold saucer and leave to cool.  If the surface of the jam crinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready.  If not, continue boiling and try again after a few more minutes.
  6. Sterilise your jar.
  7. Pour the jam into sterilised jars.  It will keep for about 6 months.   Keep in the fridge once opened.

 


Notes

There are various ways of sterilising jars.  I think the easiest is to wash in soapy water and then put in an oven at 120 C for 15 minutes.

Keywords: gooseberry, jam

Gooseberries
Gooseberry Jam

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