CarolCooks2…Last Minute Christmas Recipes…Special Mincemeat and Stem Ginger …

These are the last of my Christmas recipes this year…the stem ginger is something my grandmother used to love however as a child I never understood why but as my taste buds developed I too found my love of anything ginger however this is the first year I have made my own…

You would think in a country where ginger and galangal are sold and grown everywhere that stem ginger would be readily available and cheap as chips…not so I can get Chinese pickled ginger, candied ginger and anything ginger but not the traditional stem ginger my grandmother so loved…

After doing some research I discovered that although many cooks/chefs do use mature ginger it is very fibrous and young ginger is the one to use…last week after looking for weeks and knowing that the ginger in my garden has matured I came across some beautiful young ginger quite by chance as is often the case when you are looking for something its never there and then it pops up when you least expect it…

While waiting for my fresh coconut milk I glanced at the stall next door and spoke to the young man as I was just glancing over I spied this beautiful young ginger and yes he told me this one madam is the older (and)cheaper this is my new crop..yeah and there it was…my fresh coconut milk now ready I popped over and there it was…a tad more expensive but so worth it…

The first step when making stem ginger is to freeze it overnight as supposedly it tenderises the ginger…frozen it was difficult to scrape the skin off and certainly difficult to cut into pieces therefore I let it soften a little which made it easier to remove the fine skin with a teaspoon it just lifts of a little like scraping new potatoes…

Methinks next time I will skip the freeze it overnight and see if there is a difference maybe my ginger being super young and very fresh doesn’t require that step but that’s for take two…

Once peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces the next step is to cover the ginger with water, bring it to a boil and simmer the ginger for at least an hour or until tender…

Once tender I removed the ginger from the liquid and please don’t throw it away…you need it for the next step…

I weighed my cooked ginger and used the equivalent in weight in caster sugar…and similarly with the liquid from cooking the ginger…if you have any liquid left over then use it as a tea nothing wasted…

Then add the sugar to your ginger water bring it to a boil and then once the sugar has dissolved completely stop stirring and cook on a low simmer until the liquid had reduce and you have syrup…then add your ginger to the syrup and gently cook for 20 minutes…

Then allow to cool a little and put in a sterilised jar…

Cooks Tip:

I love ginger but I would recommend that if you don’t like a very strong ginger taste then include water with your ginger cooking water when making the syrup…making something like stem ginger is a personal taste a bit like chillies therefore make a small amount as I did for starters then if necessary tweak it when you make the next is all about taste and tweaking a recipe to get it perfect for you…

Next a sweet mincemeat recipe...why so late?…  I couldn’t get suet here last year I managed to buy some online but when it arrived it was just a solid mass where it obviously hadn’t been stored at the correct temperature thus I had to grate it not the easiest and cleanest of jobs when it’s hot and humid in the kitchen…

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I should have got my son to bring some over when he returned here…I didn’t..therefore when I couldn’t find suet anywhere I decided ok…I’ll buy mince pies this year…the cost was astronomical and the pastry was far too thick so I decided against that option…then I came across a Mary Berry recipe for her special mincemeat that doesn’t require making months in advance although you can store it for up to 6 months or the use of suet she much prefers butter…

I got chopping the apples, zesting an orange and cutting the butter into cubes that miraculously didn’t end up as a greasy puddle (its) cold here at the moment mixing all the ingredients together chucking them in a pan and cooking them for 10 minutes then apart from cooling the mix and then adding the brandy or alcohol of your choice the quick special mincemeat was done…


  • 175g currants
  • 175g raisins
  • 175g sultanas
  • 175g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 125g butter, cut into cubes
  • 50g whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 200ml brandy, rum or sherry

Let’s Cook!

Makes 4 x 370g jars

Measure all of the ingredients except the alcohol into a large pan. Heat gently, allowing the butter to melt, then simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Allow the mixture to cool completely then stir in the brandy, rum or sherry.

Spoon the mincemeat into sterilised jam jars, seal tightly, label and store in a cool place.

Cooks Tips:

I halved the above recipe and only made 2 jars as I have to store everything in the fridge here although at the moment it’s cold enough to leave on the kitchen top…I also substituted an orange as lemons are not readily available here …plus although I halved the ingredients I didn’t halve the spices…

Mary said the mixture would be cloudy because of the butter but maybe it’s not cold enough here as mine hasn’t but once cooked the butter would melt anyway…

Thank you, Mary Berry, it smells like Christmas looks wonderful and will be my favoured mincemeat recipe for the millennia…my other recipes are scrapped there is a new girl on the block…

Thank you for joining me today as it’s a busy time of year I do appreciate the visits, shares and your comments…I hope you all have a very “Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year…xx

20 thoughts on “CarolCooks2…Last Minute Christmas Recipes…Special Mincemeat and Stem Ginger …

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Thank you, Sally it is very nice and quick and easy I will definitely be making it again its a keeper but I like Mary Berry and she does test her recipes Hugs xx

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen

    I love both the ginger and the mincemeat. My mom and I made mincemeat every year with the green tomatoes from the end of garden. At some point, we substituted butter for the suet because good suet was so hard to find. We liked it better with the butter, so I agree with Mary!

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    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I love both too, Dorothy but I have never heard of sweet mincemeat made with green tomatoes there are a lot of recipes using them so I guess it is pretty popular you learn something every day-smile- I agree with Mary too about the butter now I have tried it…I hope you have a lovely Christmas, x


      1. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen

        In new England, when there is a hard freeze warning, that is when the green tomatoes get stripped, and resulting glut. Thus, many northern recipes in the fall include green tomatoes, including fried green tomatoes which most people don’t realize originated in Pennsylvania in the Amish country. When Fannie Flagg’s book came out a few decades ago, everyone adopted the dish as southern.
        We also made green tomato relish, chutney, and a biscuit with them that no one liked.
        My mom also saved a few of the nicest, wrapped them in newspaper, and put them in an old bread box in the pantry. They very slowly ripened, and we had fresh tomatoes at Thanksgiving, and once in a while, at Christmas too.


      2. CarolCooks2 Post author

        Wow, what a lovely memory, thank you so much for sharing. Dorothy, I remember my mother making green tomato chutney with the glut of green tomatoes but that’s all…I love hearing how resourceful everyone was back in the day nothing was wasted and most things home cooked from scratch…x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen

        That’s how I grew up, with a big garden and everything from scratch.
        Sometimes, the youngers tell me they are much too busy to cook from scratch, that life is much more complicated today, too many commitments.
        My response is that my mom worked a full time job, most women did, June Cleaver didn’t live anywhere near us and our blue collar, rural community. We lived in a tiny house, she had four children and a cranky mother-in-law in her home, and she still put a home-cooked meal on the table every night and fussed on the weekends. She didn’t have a microwave, a clothes dryer, and many of the other conveniences we have now, and we couldn’t afford the ready-made meals.
        She did all this with good humor and with pride.

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      4. CarolCooks2 Post author

        I absolutely agree, Dorothy I have always worked full time have 6 children and always cooked from scratch my slow cooker was always on and I batch cooked the bonus all my children cook from scratch and often remind me of the soups I made etc feeding 8 people and any,,,can you imagine how many jars of pasta sauce I would have to buy it was easier and cheaper to make from scratch…and likewise ready meals out of the question…my clothes dryer was my washing line I ironed every morning when I got up and gave them piles of washing as they came down to put away,,,Youngsters of today have no idea…but when I see my grandaughters cooking and baking because my children have passed down what I have taught them I am happy… my job is done x

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