Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Home made Mincemeat - - -

- - - for your mince tarts.
Of course - nowadays there is no meat in the mixture  - but traditionally A mince pie, also known as minced pie, is a small British sweet pie traditionally served during the Christmas season. Its ingredients are traceable to the 13th century, when returning European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits and spices. I only ever eat them at Christmas - and I always make a wish when I eat my first one of the Christmas season. I used to make my own mimcemeat when my eldest daughter was small - but haven't done so in recent years - working does put a bit of a stop to one's gallop in the kitchen I find. I do enjoy it though - so thought I would share my recipe with you dear readers.
This is my method -  -however should you be teetotal - the alcohol can be replaced with good quality fruit juice.

Homemade Mincemeat 
 8oz Bramley Apples (or any other cooking apples)
4oz shredded suet
4oz  each of raisins , sultanas, currants, mixed candied peel
6oz soft dark brown sugar
Grated zest and juice of one orange and one lemon
1oz chopped mixed nuts
2 level teaspoons mixed ground spices – (cloves, nutmeg, allspice)
¼ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 small glass of sherry or 3 tablespoons brandy
Wash, Core & chop apples into small pieces (no need to peel  them)
Chop candied peel  and mixed nuts finely  if necessary
Add all ingredients except brandy to a large bowl and stir til thoroughly mixed together
Cover with clean cloth and leave to stand overnight in a cool place to allow the flavours to develop.
After that pre-heat the oven to gas mark ¼, 225°F (120°C).
Cover the bowl loosely with foil and place it in the oven for 3 hours, then remove the bowl from the oven. Don't worry about the appearance of the mincemeat, which will look positively swimming in fat. This is how it should look. As it cools, stir it from time to time; the fat will coagulate and, instead of it being in tiny shreds, it will encase all the other ingredients.
When the mincemeat is quite cold, stir well again, adding the brandy. Pack in jars that have been sterilised (see below). When filled, cover with waxed discs and seal. The mincemeat will keep for ages in a cool, dark cupboard but I usually find it has all gone by Christmas!! I leave it for about a week before I use it - but it can be used immediately.  

NOTE: To sterilise jars, wash the jars and lids in warm soapy water, rinse well, then dry thoroughly with a clean tea cloth, place them on a baking tray and pop into a medium oven, gas mark 4, 350F, 180C, for 5 minutes.

I am hoping to include Recipes in my Christmas Journal this year - so if you are happy to share links, dear readers - please do. I am doing my very best to catch up with my blog reading - and am almost up to date - when I intend to try to comment again  - I will be glad to have some heating soon!  Thanks for stopping by.

Bannaghtyn - J xx

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Stormy weather - -

- - has battered my island - so much so that the ferries have not sailed since yesterday lunch time!! Dark and dismal doesn't even come close to the way it looks outside! The rising wind is wuthering  over my head above the skylight as  I type - and the rain is horizontal! Needless to say it is raining in  - the bucket is catching the drip - which is intensly annoying to my colleague and I!
It is a Craft Club day for our specila children today - but with  the very high winds we have hunted out a whole batch of previous years Christmas projects - paper snowflakes, Snowman decoration, paper Angels - all of which we are going to encourage all the other children to do at lunch time. We also have a Poster Competition - for a fund raiser for them to enter - with a small prize on offer - so hopefully they won't be too manic  - the wind really does seem to upset their equilibrium. Well - I don't care for it myself I must admit - not as wild as this anyway!
Thanks for stopping by -

Bannaghtyn  - J x

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Making Progress - -

- - well I sure hope I am! Life does seem to be settling back to a more placid and even keel - only  the boiler now needs to be resolved - and even that is "in progress" as they say, as the Rayburn is on its way to the island now! Hopefully the heating guys can get it installed and running for us before Christmas - - and as you know - I do so love this most magical season of the year! LOL
I did so enjoy the crafting day - it did indeed prove to be the boost I needed - espacially as it was my birthday (a bit iof a special one this year) weekend  as well - so we had double reasons for celebrations & yummy cakes!
The Remember December album was a bit of a hit with our members - (always a relief - as any of you dear readers who prepare anything for others will know).Foolishly I forgot my camera this year - so don't have a "groupshot" of a completed project - but as always it was so exciting to see every individual take on the basic instructions we started with!!

Here a couple of the inner pages - it's quite likely that this album might get used for this year's Journal Your Christmas - with Shimelle - however as I am also going to the Christmas Markets in Bavaria again this December - I might save it for that. The papers are primarily Graphic 45 "Christmas Past" - though there are also a few oddments that just went with the colour scheme. I am really happy with the way it has turned out as I have lots of places for small photos, journalling etc - and plenty of pockets for memorabilia.
Thanks for stopping by.

Bannaghtyn  J xx

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Long Time - - - No Blog - - -

- - - as life has really thrown me some curve balls this year, and finding time for ANYTHING other tha daily living has proved well nigh impossible for me. I signed up for two classes with Shimelle - and never got to even go to the forum - for one off them I haven't even found time to read the emails! As I am a longtime fan of Shimelle's classes and find them totally inspirational I feel very down about it. However - I do know that every class is still available to me to go back to so hope that is what I will be able to do.Onwards & Upwards!!
It seems it is my time to have a myriad number of problems - which alone are easy to cope with - but when they come all at once seem insurmountable - -  none of them unusual - the kind of thing we all face at different times - elderly parents, health issues for children and partners, boilers breaking down , unexpected flash floods - -  just all at once and all costly in financial terms - - LOL - but I am getting there - That's life I guess.

I am going to an all day Craft event on Sunday - so that is my glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The thought is keeping me going and having had stuff to prepare for it has been the saviour of my sanity. Anyway - here is a photo of what we hope to achieve. Thanks for stopping by.
I do hope life has been kinder to you -

J xc


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