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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Mincemeat Mistake

Posted by --- on Friday 30 October, 2015

I posted on one of my favourite forums about having a glut of pears. I don’t have a huge tree full but I did have several kilograms to use up. The suggestions were wine, with a secondary ferment to make it sparkling, jars of mulled pears, mincemeat, muffins, bottled in brandy, pear and pineapple jam, pears added to savoury dishes, poached in orange and spices, and chutney.

At the time, I wasn’t drinking so I dismissed all of the alchol suggestions. I wasn’t going to make the mincemeat either thinking I could pick up cheap mincepies in the supermarkets anyway but the lady who posted told me that homemade pies are much better.

The recipe is

4 x 450g jars

  • 1kg pears , peeled , cored and chopped in to 1cm cubes
  • finely grated zest and juice of 2-3 oranges (you will need 200ml juice)
  • 500g apples, bramley or other that cooks down to a puree.
  • 200g currants
  • 200g raisins
  • 200g sultanas
  • 100g orange marmalade
  • 250g demera sugar
  • 1/2tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 nutmeg, grated
  • 50ml ginger wine (optional)
  • 100g chopped walnuts (i tend to leave these out)
  • 50ml brandy or sloe gin (I usually forget about this step  )
  1. Peel and chop the apple and put into a saucepan with the orange juice. Cook gently until tender, about 15mins. Blend to a purée in a liquidiser or push through a sieve. You should end up with about 700g of purée.
  2. Put purée into a large bowl and add all other ingredients except brandy or gin. Mix thoroughly, then cover and leave to stand for 12 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 130oC/ gas mark 1/2. Put the mincemeat in a large baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 2-2 1/2 hours. Stir in brandy or gin, then spoon into warm, sterilised jars, making sure there are no air pockets. Seal and store in a dry, dark, cool place. Use within 12 months.

Which, on searching for mincemeat recipes, I found was the River Cottage recipe.

She also suggested that you could replace 100g of raisins or sultanas with crystalised ginger for a twist. You can try other variations as long as you aim for 700g puree and 600g dried fruit i.e plum and russet.

I already had apples and pears thanks to the trees we planted on the lotty, I had brandy left over from something I made last year,some demerara sugar in the cupboard, and I had all of the spices in my spice box but had to buy the rest of the ingredients. The currants were pre-mixed and soaked in brandy from Aldi for £2.99 for 800g, the oranges were £1.49 for six and I also bought two jars of marmalade because I bought one from Aldi and another from Asda because I forgot I’d bought the first one! Only myself and DSK like mince pies so I just buy one box so this is working out expensive and I haven’t costed for the pastry yet… But, it’s Christmas and it’s using homegrown produce and of course, anything home grown/made is far better than anything mass produced isnt’ it?!

I ended up making it as a spur of the moment thing. I watched the end of Paul o Grady For the love of Dogs, decided to look him up (no idea why), saw that he had a radio show on BBC2 (I’ve never listened to BBC 2 before) everyone was in bed so I thought, I’d listen to him on my ipad and make the mincemeat. I also decided after a little research to put the mincemeat into the slow cooker overnight. I have no idea what radio 2 is normally like and I normally listen to captial which is more dance stuff but I did enjoy listening to Paul. It was duets night and to be honest I can’t say I enjoyed the music except No More Tears with Barabara Streisand and Donna Summer which I haven’t heard for years.

Anyway I sort of followed the recipe. I swapped the pears for the apples as per the river cottage recipe, I chopped the pears into tiny matchstick pieces so they looked like the suet you see in mincemeat normally. I used 2 tsp mixed spice (which is a mix of all the spices listed) instead of the seperate ones and added 1tsp extra cinnamon. I also changed the walnut for almonds and used up the last of what was in the bag (160g). I ground in too because my fillings have fallen out and I’m too scared to go to the dentist!

I didn’t purée the apples thinking they’d purée themselves when they  cook in the slowcooker. Anyway, it took a while but I really enjoyed it.  It was quiet with everyone in bed and the smell was lovely. I also kept tasting it and it tasted gorgeous! I couldn’t wait for the flavours to develop overnight. I could see me eating it out of the jars! At 11:45 I put the lid on the slow cooker and turned it to low with a final spoonful before bed. The smell of boozy oranges and spices wafted up the stairs so I could still smell it when I went up.

8am the next morning I was expecting the same strong smell but I couldn’t smell it very much.  When I looked in the cooker the mincemeat was a dark brown. I tasted it and it had lost it’s lovely flavour. It didn’t taste burnt but didn’t taste good either. I’m guessing the slow cooker got too hot. Even though it was on low it was bubbling. I was gutted. I wished I’d just left it. I threw the lot in the recycle bin because no one would enjoy eating it.

I have since bought sultanas and currants to make some more. I wont be cooking it in the slow cooker though!

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Shortcrust pastry formula

Posted by --- on Thursday 11 November, 2010

This is another post made primarily as a reference for myself. I’ve noticed that Shortcrust pastry has a rough formula of 100, 50, 24 %

So for 1kg flour, add 500g fat (250 butter & 250 lard) and 240ml water. Roughly flour, fat, water would be:
500g flour, 250g fat and 120ml water.
400, 200, 95
300, 150, 70
200, 100, 50
100, 50, 25
(water rounded up or down for simplicity)

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