It all starts here people. I was watching the ad breaks during X Factor on Saturday and they were very clear that we have now been given the all clear on Christmas. Have you seen the John Lewis ad with the hare and the bear? Well I didn’t understand it but it still made me cry. If John Lewis think it’s Christmas then it must be. Finally I will stop being embarrassed that I have been listening to Fairytale in New York since November 1st, I can dust off Delia’s Happy Christmas and henceforth will step into Christmas. Well, Christmas food at least, but that’s all I care about anyway. So if you’re not ready to start thinking sleigh bells and winter wonderlands then I shall simply call you a miserable scrooge and that is all.
I am making two different types of mincemeat this year and this is the first one. It’s veggie and nut free and very quick to boot.
I was going to make Dan Lepard’s Dark Rich Mincemeat as I wanted to steer clear of suet for mincemeat number one and his take on it sounded delicious but I couldn’t find any dried sour cherries. Even a trip into town and my trusty pocketrobber Whole Foods had run dry, though I did get to see the Carnaby Christmas lights so the trip wasn’t a complete bust. But still, I needed something sour to counterbalance all the sugary fruit. So I added fresh cranberries which seemed to do the trick, not breaking them up too much in the mix so they burst in your mouth, immediately quelling the layers of fruity sweetness. With dried and fresh cranberries all stirred up I couldn’t help but think of adding some sort of orange note since it’s a natural pairing with cranberries. When it’s Christmas you should always reach for the bottle so I poured in a good glug of Cointreau, my favourite Christmas tipple, which happily is made from oranges. Then it tasted so good, so I added a bit more. Then a bit more. Then I poured myself a small glass and the rest is history.
Cranberry and Cointreau Mincemeat
Adapted from Dan Lepard’s Dark Rich Mincemeat
100g dried cranberries
100g soft prunes, stoned and chopped
2 x dessert apples, peeled, cored and diced small
500g fresh cranberries
300g dark brown sugar
1 bramley apple, peeled and grated
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- In a large mixing bowl add the dried fruits and the dessert apples and set aside.
- In a large saucepan add the fresh cranberries, sugar, stout, bramley apple, the lemon juice and zest and all the spices. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10-15 mins until some of the cranberries start to break down.
- Remove from the heat, add the dried fruits and give a very good mix through.
- Leave to cool completely before stirring through the brandy and Cointreau.