Category Archives: Sweet Mincemeat

National Mincemeat Day…26th October…

Today is National Mincemeat day and an opportune moment to get that mincemeat made…This year I have decided to make a cake as well something I haven’t done so for a number of years or since I have been here or at least not a proper fruit Christmas cake …I just have a hankering for a rich fruit cake topped with marzipan and icing…proper icing not fondant icing …One like my mum used to make…

National Mincemeat Pie Day

Christmas pudding, cake or a jar of mincemeat make lovely presents especially for someone on their own… a beautiful pudding or cake for one would be so gratefully received as hand made gifts of food always are and so personal and thoughtful…Don’t you think?

Dating back to 15th century Britain mincemeat pies did contain meat and fruit but I suppose that is not so different from today as I incorporate meat and fruit in recipes…

The meat was soon exchanged for beef suet and although I still use suet I use vegetable suet…

Making mincemeat and cakes is always a family affair at my house…I helped my mum, my kids helped me…a stir and a wish…It is now the turn of the grand kiddies…

Sweet Mincemeat…Nothing better and so easy to make you will wonder why you ever bought a jar from the supermarket shelves and will be rewarded with such a superior taste and richness that will take your pies to a new level……Your taste buds will sing!

Ingredients.

  • 36oz of dried fruit…..I used raisins, sultanas, chopped prunes and some dried cranberries.
  • 12oz brown sugar.
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons.
  • 2oz chopped almonds or nut of your choice.
  • 1lb Apples peeled and chopped.
  • 8oz vegetable suet.
  • 4tsp mixed spice.
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp fresh nutmeg grated.
  • 6 tbsp Brandy.

Mix all ingredients except for Brandy, cover and leave overnight for the fruit to plump up and absorb flavours.

Cook on very low heat for 30 mins.

Cool and stir in Brandy.

Spoon into sterilized jars, cover tightly. Store in a cool dark place.

To share your mincemeat pictures then add #NationalMincemeatDay

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and well being.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a relaxing weekend xx

But before you go just a little reminder…Stir-up Sunday…

Christmas Pudding is one of the mainstays of British Christmas traditions …it just would not be Christmas without the pudding! Now I know that and even here I have always made my Christmas pudding and there have been a few converts to this traditional Christmas fare…My Thai friends love it!

Stir-up Sunday is a centuries-old tradition where cooks spend the last Sunday before Advent ‘stirring up’ the Christmas pudding. Dating back to Victorian times, the whole family took a turn at stirring the Christmas pudding, making a wish.

This year it is on 24th November when I will share my Christmas pudding recipes with you…xxx

Enjoy your weekend xx

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column – Carol Taylor cooks sweet mincemeat

It’s that time of the year to get your sweet mincemeat made and let those lovely flavours develop…Lovely as a gift or to save for mincepies..Enjoy! Xxx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to this week’s cookery column I hope you have had a lovely long weekend I know they have in the UK and we have had a long weekend as it was the Queen’s Birthday and Mothers Day here in Thailand.

Now I know that some of you will be cursing me as Christmas comes around so very quickly doesn’t it? So much quicker than when we were children and knowing what a busy time of year is coming I like to get ahead also I know the importance of making your mincemeat and puddings nice and early so that the flavours develop.

Of course if you are super organised or live in cooler climes you can save a jar or two from last year and also a pudding… I tried to do that here and it just fermented and I cannot store everything in my fridges I would need…

View original post 1,031 more words

Christmas Recipes…Prepare now..Freeze for later…

 

christmas-1695531_1920The time is just flying by now it’s 7th December already…

Have you finished shopping? Have you wrapped your presents yet?preparation done? Don’t know what to make? Well never fear Carol is here???

Today I am going to give you a few recipes and tips about what you can cook in advance to make life just that bit easier…

Sausage rolls and mince pies

Mince pies and Sausage Rolls

We have made our sweet mincemeat...haven’t we???

Pastry Recipe.

This recipe is my mums she makes the best pastry ever and I try really hard to match hers but she once told me that no two batches of pastry are ever alike and that the only person who realises that is moi….and I think she is right..mums usually are 🙂

I use half fat to flour so for example 8 oz  Flour and 4 oz fat.

Ice cold water added 1 tbsp at a time( the amount depends on flour used)

1 egg beaten for the glaze.

I know that fat varies depending on where you live, in the Uk ..well spoilt for choice because we invented pastry…well from as far back as the Romans when it was crude flour and water wrapped around meat and game before cooking and no way would you eat it…it was to retain meat juices.

Over time pastry was enriched with fat and milk and began to vaguely resemble today’s shortcrust.But living here in Thailand my choice is restricted…..I have a choice of pastry fat or Crispo…sometimes I mix the two when making meat pies but I digress.

For mince pies, I use the pastry fat. When making pastry it must be kept cool which here is never easy ..so fat from the fridge, iced water from the fridge and fan madly whirring to keep the air cool..and me folks…I touch the pastry mix as little as possible, I quickly rub the fat into flour to resemble breadcrumbs, add iced water gradually, draw together with your fingers to make a ball, if too dry add more water, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 20 mins in the fridge.

When I roll I use the heel of my hand to start to flatten pastry and roll gently out to desired thickness…I handle as little as possible to keep cool.

Using a pastry cutter, cut circles and line patty tins, add filling and top with a pastry lid. Brush tops with beaten egg. Cook in the oven on 200c/gas7 for 15-20 mins until golden. Remove from oven, cool slightly and dust with icing sugar.

Note: Some of you may have noticed I don’t add sugar to my shortcrust pastry…With the sweetness of the filling and the icing dusting  I /we all feel it is sugar overload but personal preference if you like to add 1 tbsp sugar to breadcrumbs before adding water.

I also use the same pastry for my sausage rolls…

Now….if you make them now omit the cooking stage and freeze uncooked in a sealed container separate the layers with greaseproof paper and just take out however many you want as needed and cook…Simples!

For sausage rolls, I use the same pastry. I add finely chopped onions, garlic and a little sage to my sausage meat or I did in the UK….i can’t get it here so I make my own very finely chop my pork making sure I add a little of the fat and then add the seasoning as above.

Cranberry Sauce.

  • 3  cups or 12oz of cranberries.
  • The juice of 2 large Oranges.
  • A cup of sugar.
  • 1 stick of cinnamon.

Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil and turn down so it is still a rolling boil and cook for 10 mins if ( using) frozen berries or 20 minutes if using fresh cranberries as they will take a bit longer to pop.

Cranberry Sauce.JPG

Allow mixture to cool and put in an airtight container and refrigerate.

 Stuffing Mix:

Now stuffing mix is hard to get here and because it is imported also expensive. I have tried various stuffings in the past with limited success…we didn’t like them!

I found this recipe on a blog the other week and it sounded great…It had bacon in it…

Picture this…. I thought I had all the ingredients .. wrong!….no bacon and nearest shop was a way away so I put my thinking cap on and tweaked the recipe and it turned out brilliant…..Replaced the bacon with Minced Pork, The stuffing mix( which) I had not heard of became just breadcrumbs. Chestnuts I didn’t have but they were optional.

The celery became Thai celery which is much smaller more the size of coriander…

Ingredients:

  • 200 gm of Minced Pork
  • 6 oz  of breadcrumbs
  • 3 oz finely chopped chestnuts( optional)
  • 5 shallots finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Bunch of Thai celery chopped finely. Which when chopped did take on more of a celery smell.
  • Freshly made chicken stock.
  • Salt, fresh ground pepper.
  • Tbsp dried Sage
  • Fresh rosemary.
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme.

Heat pan with a glug of olive oil and 1oz butter. Add shallots and garlic cook 2/3 mins until soft but not coloured add mince and celery and chestnuts if using cook for a further 4/5 mins. Add breadcrumbs gradually moistening mix with spoonfuls of stock as required.

The mix should be fairly thick but soft so you are able to form balls.

stuffing-mix

Add herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Allow to cool slightly and then form into balls.

If you want to freeze them then do it at this stage. Pack into a freezer box and all ready for Christmas day.

If not then cook in oven until lightly browned and crispy approx 20/30 mins on 180 degrees. I didn’t need to add any additional fat as the oil and butter already incorporated in the stuffing mix kept them moist and not too dry but if required add more oil.

I generally don’t like meat in stuffing mixes but the amount I added was small and gave a nice texture and flavour but wasn’t the overriding taste.

This is now going to be my Christmas stuffing.

Pigs in Blankets:

  • 8 thin slices smoked bacon
  • 16 chipolata sausages
  • I tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp clear honey.

Mix honey, thyme and Worcestershire sauce in small bowl, add sausages and make sure they are coated in the mix. Cut bacon down the middle long ways. Wrap bacon around sausages.

To freeze now put in a container and separate the layers with greaseproof then remove  from the freezer on Christmas morning and cook as below

Put sausages on a baking sheet well spaced apart.

Cook on 180 for about 30 minutes until nicely browned and bacon is crispy.

Bread Sauce.

Bread Sauce

Freeze the breadcrumbs ready to use( I always) keep a bag of frozen breadcrumbs in the freezer. The sauce can be made the day before and reheated on the day… I have been surprised living here that many people have not heard of bread sauce my mum always made it at Christmas we couldn’t have turkey without bread sauce…

Ingredients:

About half loaf of Stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.

  • I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • Salt & Pepper.
  • About half pint milk.

Let’s Cook!

Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to boil and turn down and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool remove Onion and bay leaves.This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.

 

What to make in advance???

Yesterday I pickled some more onions and just hope I don’t have to pickle more before Christmas I made 4 jars so even the one who shall be nameless doesn’t eat a jar full a week.

pickled onions Dec 2017

  • 2 lb Pickling Onions, peeled.
  • 11/2 pints pickling vinegar…I use white vinegar or a mix of apple cider and white vinegar.
  • 2tbsp Pickling spices or your mix…again I mix black, white peppercorns, coriander seeds.

Method2 days before mix 2pts water with 4 oz salt pour over onions, cover and keep in cool place. I keep in the fridge due to the heat here.

Then drain onions and pat dry. Pack into sterilised jars layering pickling spices as you go then pour vinegar over the onions making sure they are completely covered. Store for 4-6 weeks and they ready…They are the crispest onions I have eaten, far better than shop bought and generally don’t get to 4 weeks let alone 6 weeks as they get dipped into …men!

That’s all for today…..

Take care and have fun x

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Recipes Part 3.

Ham Brined, cooked and yummy. After a few trials and stupid here who had her silly head on and just cocked it up! We have perfection! Well close..ha ha.

Mincemeat soaked overnight ( standing on a tray filled with water)SAM_7360 and wet t/towel..pesky ants..didn’t want to swim..ha ha. Where there is a will there is way says the human to the ants…. For those of you who want to make their own then here is the recipe..

Ingredients.

36oz of dried fruit…..I used raisins, sultanas, chopped prunes and some dried cranberries.

12oz brown sugar.

Zest and juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons.

2oz chopped almonds or nut of your choice.

1lb Apples peeled and chopped.

8oz vegetable suet.

4tsp mixed spice.

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4tsp fresh nutmeg grated.

6 tbsp Brandy.

Mix all ingredients except for Brandy, cover and leave overnight SAM_7359for fruit to plump up and absorb flavours.

Cook on very low heat for 30 mins.

Cool and stir in Brandy.

Spoon into sterilized jars , cover tightly. Store in cool dark place.

Home brined and Cooked Ham.

Ingredients:

2 kilo Piece of Pork Loin.

For Rub:

4tbsp Salt.

2 tbsp sugar.

scant 1/2 tbsp Salt Petre.

Brine:

21/2 Litres of Water.

900 gm salt.

2tbsp sugar.

1/2 tbsp salt petre.

Method Day One.

Very important …Put on gloves..I use surgical gloves.

Mix salt,Sugar and Salt Petre together. Rub over Pork and put in container , cover and leave in fridge overnight.

Brine: Measure out water into saucepan, add salt,sugar and salt petre. Bring to boil. Simmer 10 mins and cool. I cool overnight.

Day Two:

Remove Pork from Container..clean container with weak bleach solution.

Put Pork back and cover completely with Brine.

Put in fridge and leave for 4-5 days.

Cook by chosen  method either bake in oven or cook on hob. I prefer cooking on hob as I think it keeps ham moist. SAM_7362

I cover Pork with water bring to the boil then drain of water. Add fresh water and Bay leaves, Peppercorns, Coriander seed, mustard seeds black and yellow,Piece cinnamon, 4 or  5 cloves, cardamom seeds and tbsp brown sugar. You can use any mix you prefer I generally use what I have in my cupboard on the day,  I have also added cider to the water on occasions or beer.

Cook for 35 mins per kilo. Allow to cool in water.

Enjoy!

N.B  IMPORTANT:

This is my opinion and I have considered this seriously…I have used celery juice mix to brine which was ok but it had that underlying taste of celery which although I like celery did not particularly like the taste on my ham. Salt petre for the amount used and the dilution which according to my research the human body can cope with,  against the fact that if I contracted botulism because of my brining my body was unlikely to cope with .. my personal decision for myself and my family was to use it….You must however use gloves as if it comes into contact with your skin it will cause a reaction.

My personal take on this was I am sure that during my lifetime I have unknowingly consumed far more and maybe far worse than I could envisage so this to me was a considered decision and I believe this way I am consuming less preservatives than in bought ham or bacon. Again my personal take on this.

Wow that was a lot of spiel for me…

 

Christmas Recipes Part 2.

Mince pies

 

Hello everyone and how did your pudding making go have you done it yet?

Today I have some more favorites, Mince Pies now what Christmas be without them, Prawn Cocktail which I have made every year since for ever it’s like a tradition now so whatever new starter I come up with I still have to make that… and a wonderful home-made drink and those who know me well were wondering when I would slip that one in..ha ha…can’t think why…..Who likes Bailey’s? Well this is the closest you will get to it  and if you sip Bailey’s and then this….. hardly any difference whatsoever…..Lets get with it then……

Mince Pie Pastry.

I use half fat to flour so for example 8oz Flour and 4oz fat.

Ice cold water added tbsp at a time( amount depends on flour used)

1 egg beaten for glaze.

I know that fat varies depending on where you live, in the Uk ..well spoilt for choice because we invented pastry…well from as far back as the Romans when it was crude flour and water wrapped around meat and game before cooking and no way would you eat it…it was to retain meat juices.

Over time pastry was enriched with fat and milk and began to vaguely resemble today’s shortcrust.But living here in Thailand my choice is restricted…..I have a choice of pastry fat or crispo…sometimes I mix the two when making meat pies but I digress.

For mince pies, I use the pastry fat. When making pastry it must be kept cool which here is never easy ..so fat from the fridge, iced water from fridge and fan madly whirring to keep the air cool..and me folks…I touch the pastry mix as little as possible, I quickly rub fat into flour to resemble breadcrumbs, add iced water gradually, draw together with your fingers to make a ball, if too dry add more water, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 20 mins in the fridge.

When I roll I use the heel of my hand to start to flatten pastry and roll gently out to desired thickness…I handle as little as possible to keep cool.

SAM_4080 Using a pastry cutter, cut circles and line patty tins, add filling and top with a pastry lid. Brush tops with beaten egg. Cook in the oven on 200c/gas7 for 15-20 mins until golden. Remove from oven, cool slightly and dust with icing sugar.

Note: Some of you may have noticed I don’t add sugar to my short crust pastry…With the sweetness of the filling and the icing dusting  I /we all feel it is sugar overload but personal preference if you like to add 1 tbsp sugar to breadcrumbs before adding water.

Irish Cream:

Ingredients:

10 oz Irish Whiskey

1/2 pt whipping cream

1 can condensed milk.

2 eggs.

11/2 tbsp Chocolate syrup.

1/2 tbsp each of, Vanilla Extract, Coconut Extract, and Chocolate Extract.Home made Baileys

Blend all ingredients together and refrigerate.

Serve cold and or over Ice.

Now isn’t that easy? and …you can get  about 4 batches from one bottle of  Irish Whiskey so by my reckoning that’s a real saving and lots of Baileys…yay……

Prawn Cocktail:

Ingredients: Serves 4.

500gm of prawns, peel and devein (saving a few to decorate glass)

Iceberg lettuce, 1 tomato, piece cucumber, slices of lemon/Lime.

To Make Sauce:

8tbsp good mayonnaise or make your own.

1tbsp Tomato ketchup.

2tsp horseradish sauce.

2tsp lemon juice.

Black pepper for taste.

Paprika.

Method:

Mix all ingredients except black pepper together, season with black pepper.Chill in fridge.

To serve: prawn cocktail

Shred iceberg lettuce or lettuce of your choice, thinly slice tomatoes and quarter, and finely diced cucumber.

Put iceberg lettuce in bottom of glass or serving dish, add diced cucumber and 3 pieces of tomato. Top with cocktail sauce, sprinkle with Paprika and garnish with prawn and twist of lemon. Enjoy.

Well, that’s it, for now, I am off to make some ham, it’s finished brining and now to cook…I so love home cooked ham…..

 

Until next keep smiling, be happy and stay safe..don’t get crushed in the Christmas rush….