Ant and I had this chunky new potato and bacon salad for lunch. It was very filling and would probably split between 3 portions rather than 2 for a lunchtime meal.
What can be better than a jacket potato on a cold January evening? A cheesy colcannon stuffed jacket potato, that’s what! We had baked beans and gammon with our potatoes, I just didn’t fancy speed foods, I needed some comfort foods!
When I was little, my mum would buy jars of mincemeat, strawberry jam and lemon curd so she could make mince pies, jam tarts and lemon curd tarts at Christmas. There were four of us children and we could get through a huge amount of these goodies so she’d always make a big batch.
When I had my own family, I tried doing the Christmas baking like my mum used to do, but I’m a really terrible pastry maker. They always seemed to turn out too hard to chew!
Now I buy the mince pies from Tesco!
Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook
This year I want to try again, but not only do I want to get better at making the pastry, I also want to make my own mincemeat.
Ant has a battered copy of The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook which I always turn too when I want to find a traditional recipe for something. I don’t know how traditional most of them actually are but it just feels like they should be!
Traditional Mincemeat Recipe
I’m using Dorothy Sleightholme’s mincemeat recipe because she cooks the apples and it says doing so helps the mincemeat last longer.
Yields nearly 2kg
- 450g apples
- 15g butter
- 225g each of currants, raisins and sultanas
- 125g candied peel
- 125g dates, chopped small
- 225g soft brown sugar
- 175g grated suet
- grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons rum
- Peel, core and finely chop the apples.
- Melt butter in a pan, add apple and cook gently to soften. Leave to go cold.
- Add the cooked apple and the rest of the ingredients to a big bowl and mix well together.
- Leave in the bowl, covered, stirring occasionally for the next 24 hours.
- Put in cold but sterile jars, do not fill quite to the top. Place waxed paper discs on top of the mincemeat and cover with jam-pot covers.
- Label and store in a cool, dry, dark place.
I’ve never tasted Gin. Ever. I’m a 42-year-old Gin virgin!
Gin seems to be everywhere at the moment. B&M are even selling a Gin advent calendar. There are loads of different flavours around. I figured rather just having a bottle of plain Gin at our Christmas party, I’d make a flavoured one and seeing as it’s Autumn now and blackberries are in abundance, we’d try making a blackberry Gin.
Ant is very much looking forward to this being ready. We put it all in the jar on October 1st and his birthday is in the middle of November so it’ll be ready in time for him to celebrate!
- 300g Blackberries
- 110g Caster Sugar
- 70cl Gin
You Will Need:
- Sterilised Bottles
- A large jar
- Place the blackberries and sugar into a large sterilised jar. You can sterilise the jar by washing in hot soapy water, rinsing well then drying in a pre-heated oven 120C/Gas 1 for 10-15 minutes. If using a Kilner jar, boil the rubber seal as the heat from the oven will damage them.
- Pour the Gin into the jar and seal. Give it a good shake.
- Shake it every day for about a week to make sure the sugar is dissolved.
- Leave it for at least 4 weeks before drinking. It can be left for up to 3 months.
- When you’re ready to transfer to a bottle, remember to sterilise it first then strain the mixture through a muslin cloth. You don’t need the berries anymore but they’ll be lovely served over some vanilla ice cream or in a glass of Prosecco