I remember my Granny and my Aunt scurrying round the kitchen playing some complicated game of tag as they ferried and swopped ingredients for Christmas baking. The children were sent off to the sitting room with branches of holly, big, brown spiky thistles and cans of gold spray paint to make decorations. We warranted little more than the occasional glance during this frenetic cooking episode.
Gradually there would be the waft of raisins and sultanas in the air as they warmed in brandy over the wood fired Aga range. The tang of pine smoke each time the doors were opened, signalling something delicious on its way. This was Stir Up Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent. Tomorrow is Stir Up Sunday and with the Glam Teens all away, they won’t be joining in with the stirring and wishing, as the wooden spoon mixes the christmas pud. However, there’ll be plenty of mincemeat for all those treats from mince pies to Christmas Friands (more of those in a later post).
Mincemeat has lots of ingredients but you only have to mix it together, so it’s very easy. It makes a lovely gift in a pretty jar or decorated with a festive flair and is so versatile for Christmas treats in the run up to the big day. The rum in this recipe can be replaced with orange juice, it just won’t keep as long.
Makes 3 400mls / 1lb jars
- 230g / 8oz currants
- 115g 4oz raisins
- 115g /4oz sultanas
- 115g / 4oz Italian peel (mixed peel is fine)
- 100g / 3 and 1/2 oz dried cherries
- 115g / 4oz soft brown sugar
- 115g suet
- 115g / 4oz grated apple, rind on
- grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 115g / 4oz chopped flaked almonds
- 20mls / 2 dessert spoons dark treacle
- 20mls / 2 dessert spoons golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons of rum or orange juice
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl adding the rum last
- Stir well, place in 3 sterilised jars and seal. Keep in a cool dark place for up to 2 months if you’ve used the rum. 2 weeks if you’ve used the orange juice