Food: The best mincemeat ever

 
The best mincemeat ever
The best mincemeat ever

The other day I had a morning to myself. So I stuck on Michael Buble Christmas and made me some mincemeat. Nothing like being prepared. Forget Nigella - for me Delia is the domestic goddess for Christmas time. Her mincemeat is no exception. It makes amazing mince pies, that even children will eat, it's fabulous swirled into plain yogurt or in a baked apple (just core the apple, score around the middle of the skin to stop it bursting and pile the mincemeat into the hole where the core once was. Wrap loosely in foil, bake in a low oven and eat with custard or ice cream.) And, if you're weird like me, you'll think it tastes the very best eaten straight from the jar with a spoon when no one is watching. It's fruity, not too sweet and just a tiny bit boozy. It also contains almonds which give it a lovely texture. Your house will smell amazing when this cooks. Makes six 350ml jars - if you don't want that much halve the recipe - but I've found it keeps fine for a good year and so will do for next Christmas too.

450g Bramley apples, cored and chopped small (no need to peel them) 225g shredded suet 350g raisins 225g sultanas 225g currants 225g mixed candied peel, finely chopped 350g soft dark brown sugar grated zest and juice 2 orange grated zest and juice 2 lemon 50g whole almonds, cut into slivers 4 teaspoons mixed ground spice 1/2 level teaspoon ground cinnamon good pinch freshly grated nutmeg 6 tablespoons brandy

Throw everything except for the brandy in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly. Delia says to leave it for 12 hours covered with a clean tea towel. Feel free to do this if you like, but I didn't have the time so I skipped to the next step and covered my bowl loosely with tin foil and stuck it in a preheated oven 120c for 3 hours. This melts the suet, which coats the apple and stops it fermenting in the jars so that you can keep you mincement for ages. It looks very fatty when it comes out of the oven, but that's what it should look like. Let it cool stirring from time to time. When it's cold add the brandy and pack into jars.

Obviously this has alcohol in it so I only let my children eat it in a mince pie, or if they'd touch it, a baked apple so that the alcohol has some time to burn off. For grown ups it's just boozy enough to warm your heart.

Delia's Christmas cake uses a lot of the same ingredients so I made mine at the same time - more on that to come soon.