|Pottery studio in snowstorm 11/21/2010|
Extreme weather calls for extreme action! Spirits need lifting - check. Cooking lifts my spirits! House needs warming- check. Cooking warms the house. Thoughts need organizing- check. Peeling, dicing, juicing, and measuring organizes my thoughts.
So what to cook? The holidays are coming and a traditional delight for me is mincemeat. No, not that horrible stuff you buy in the little box and reconstitute, or the nasty filling sandwiched between two layers of soggy crust from the freezer case. Growing up I always liked the idea of mincemeat, I liked the smell of it and I sort of liked the taste.. but there was just too much of it! And THEN, in 1982 we moved to England.
Our first Christmas there, we were invited for a holiday drink to the home of some folks that over the years became close, dear friends. In a typically, traditional English Country Christmas way, they served us a beautiful tawny sherry and the most luscious little mincemeat tarts that have ever melted in my mouth. Eureka! Mincemeat isn't supposed to be serve an inch thick in a 2-3 inch wedge! it is supposed to be served in little 2-3 bite tarts, nestled in buttery crust and sprinkled with sparkly sugar crystals!
My quest for the recipe began that afternoon. Flipping on the "telly", I caught a cooking show presented by Delia Smith.. (English version of Rachel Ray). Promptly went to the bookstore, bought the companion book to her tv show, and lo and behold, found the recipe for "Old Fashioned Christmas Mincemeat".
From that day forth, mincemeat making happens around here a little before Thanksgiving. People who dislike mincemeat find they can't eat "just one" of these little tarts, and those who like mincemeat devour them...
|Clockwise from upper left: apples being chopped into tiny dice/ lemon and orange zest / finished mincemeat. Left: going into the oven for "sterilizing", and Right: finished and ready to put into a jar.|