Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Seasonal smells!

More neighbourly gifts of apples and pears

and the knowledge that my waistline cannot take anymore crumble or cake.

So instead of baking I've preserved the fruit by making mincemeat. This is something I've tried on and off for several years but I'm never convinced it's worth the effort for something that doesn't taste an awful lot better than a good supermarket brand... especially once it has been baked into mincepies. Until last year that is, when I discovered the most wonderful recipe in The River Cottage Handbook of preserves.

A fabulous concoction of fruit, spices and alcohol but with no added fat. So good it can be eaten straight from the jar!

This is my Pear and Walnut version of the recipe:

Peel, core and chop 1 kg of cooking apples and cook with the juice and grated rind of two oranges until soft. Mash or blend to a puree (you should have about 700ml of fruit puree)

To this add:
500g peeled, cored and chopped pears
200g currants
200g sultanas
200g raisins
50g dried cranberries
100g orange marmalade
250g demerara sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 grated nutmeg
100g chopped walnuts

Mix well, cover and leave to stand for 12 hours.
Heat the oven to 130 deg C and put the mincemeat into a shallow dish and bake uncovered for 2 hours. Stir in 50ml brandy and spoon into warm sterilized jars. Use within 12 months... although it will be all gone long before then!

As the aroma of fruits, spices and brandy wafted around the kitchen this afternoon it started to smell very festive (I know... too soon!) I've started my cake too. I'm trying a different recipe this year and following the one on The Pink Whisk which you can find here and here.


  1. I've just come back from the pink whisk Gina!
    Thanks for the link!

  2. River Cottage recipes are so good aren't they. Not too soon to make mincemeat - it'll taste even better by Christmas. There - I've said the dreaded word!

  3. Oh that does look delicious Gina! I'm sure the aroma is wonderful. :)
    Vivienne x

  4. Yum! That looks delicious! :)

    I've given you the One Lovely Blog award as you do have such a lovely blog! See the post on my blog! :) x

  5. Ooh, no suet - always a welcome sight!

  6. mmmm - you're making me hungry :)

  7. I can smell that through the computer. Ummmmm.

  8. not too soon for mincemeat - it will be beautfully cured by the time you need it !
    i love fruit mince pies - i can't wait for christmas nibbles just for these alone :)- your recipe sounds just the thing.

    cake would also be great - no one makes them in our family anymore - maybe it's time to take up the reigns ...

  9. Drooling just looking at it.............

  10. I just bought that book! This looks fab, I'll definitely give it a go. I've got boxes of apples to get through...

  11. That looks absolutely delicious - you are so good - where do you get the time from!

  12. Hi Gina. I usually make delia's one from her original Christmas book and love it, but I am always happy to give a different one a try. There are apples haunting me outside our backdoor right now, so great idea for this weekend. Love that book don't you? x

  13. You are far too organized for the holidays! K x

  14. Now I know what I'll spend half-term doing...thanks for the recipe!

  15. That recipe sounds delicious and I don't even know what mincemeat is!!!

  16. i've never made mincemeat before but that looks scrummy so will have to give it a go!

  17. Wow! I had no idea that was what mincemeat was! Sounds very tantalizing and yummy!!

  18. Gina, wish I'd had this recipe last weekend when I made my batch.Pears would have made a nice change from the apples. Never mind notes have been taken ready for next year.

  19. Hi Gina,
    Thank you for posting this up. I've loads of apples and pears for using up so I might try it along with my sugar free mincemeat.

    Hope all is well. I'm dropping by after a long absence blogging also to add a little note... I'm changing my blog and webpage to and thought you'd like to update/add any old link you might have for heb-art journal.

    all the best and looking forward to my next visit.
    Helen S

  20. Truly scrumptious I love the Christmas prep season X

  21. what I want to know is... why is it called 'meat'?

    My first Christmas in England was a very confusing one!!

  22. wow that looks good - I bet it smells wonderful too - especially with the addition of that brandy! I love the picture at the end of the last post - good to see that Joe is having a great time!

  23. Sounds delicious - I love the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg at the moment especially when the weather is getting cold. You've inspired me to do some home baking at the week end - hope it turns out as good as yours :)


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