We have had a day of preparing for Christmas today – shopping for our food supplies, then baking. We’ve made our second batch of mince pies and a batch of peanut brittle (see above). The mince pies are to Nigella’s recipe, except we’ve used embellished bought mincemeat because we didn’t make any of our own in time. So we’ve used a jar and stirred into it some stem ginger and chopped nuts for added ooomph.
I read a strange article on an American cookery website that said that our (British) mincemeat is made with meat…let’s just get this completely straight it’s not. That’s some sort of urban myth. Its origins are several hundred years old and going back to those roots it would have had meat in it but this has not been the case for around 100 years. One relic of the old recipe is that it continued to have beef suet (beef fat) in it until quite recently but this has been phased out in most shop-bought mincemeat for a good few years now. Basically it’s made from lots of different types of fruit (some dried and some fresh), fruit juices, sugar and spices, mixed with a fat to emulsify it. Delia Smith (UK iconic cook) uses suet but doesn’t specify beef or vegetable in her recipe and if you’re going to try your hand at making mincemeat, I’d use her recipe with vegetable suet.
On the other hot topic of the day, yes, we used Nigella’s recipe and do you know what? We are on Nigella’s side, part of team Nigella. We think what she does in her private life is HER business and no-one else’s. If she’s under investigation, then perhaps the police should also start one into our (joke) esteemed leader, David Cameron too – he has as good as admitted to both cannabis and cocaine use in his past, I believe. Let Nigella get on with rebuilding her life and entertaining us all with her fantastic cookery programmes. In a decent society, her ex-husband would be on trial for his disgraceful behaviour towards her. Our country is going nuts.