Sunday, 30 December 2012

Still making them...

Hello everyone, I do hope you have all had a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Hmm, well posting shorter blogs has still not happened as often as I would like, but  it does tend to get rather busy around December, and time seems to speed as it gets nearer and nearer to Christmas Day.  Anyway, having just finished baking another 3 dozen mince pies I was reminded that I was going to let you know how the tally is going.

As you know I had opened the last jar of mincemeat so next job was to make some more.  The Mincemeat with Port was very tasty but alas the recipe was proving rather elusive to find so I went back to an old favourite.  This is from Nigella's 'Domestic Godess' book, and has no suet in so you could say that it is healthy!  Slightly healthier anyway!  

More mincemeat meant more baking could be done.  I didn't get around to taking photos of all of them, and actually one batch of mince pies usually looks very much like the next.  However, just before Christmas I did use up a packet of puff pastry in the fridge and thought we would try a variation on eccles cakes.

Circles stamped out and a spoonful of mincemeat in the middle.

Gather the edges in, a little at a time, overlapping as you go.

The very last turn in pulled across the rest of the pleats, and then turned over and a cross cut into the top.  I normally would just score three slices across the top of eccles cakes having first rolled them again, but was a little concerned that the mincemeat was a little runnier and did not fancy scrubbing baking trays clean.

 I forgot to photograph these when cooked - I did tell you that they don't last long in my house!  However, I did also use up half a packet of filo pastry, cut into small squares, each layer brushed with melted butter and 4 layers put together so they form a star shape then pushed into a tartlet tin before filling with mincemeat. 

Now, for the tally.  We went from 4 and a half dozen, to 6 and a half dozen, then the puff pastry and filo pies took us up to 10 dozen.  More pastry was made last Thursday, although I only baked 2 dozen that day, so the tally went to 12 dozen, and I have just used the rest of the pastry so the count is now 15 dozen!  170 mince pies.  

Although I haven't actually had any assistants helping with mince pie making, my son did make gingerbread men, ladies and trees.  He used the Baker Brothers gingerbread recipe from their television special and it is delicious.  He did halve the quantities though as a kilo and a half of flour did sound rather an excessive amount.  My daughter was extremely pleased about this as she sat and iced them until her hand was aching!  She doesn't like her photo being taken but I managed to sneak one!  They looked very professional when she had finished and quite a number have been given as presents.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

We are starting to see more and more decorations in the streets, and the odd little bits are creeping into the house.  Two very cute snowmen candle holders came home with me today from the German Christmas Market in Birmingham.  I didn't think to take a picture earlier but will definitely do so soon.  It was the first time we had been to this Market and I would highly recommend it, so reminiscent of a fantastic trip to the one in Dortmund a few years ago.  We found some fun Christmas presents, listened to Street musicians, drank gluwein, ate frankfurters, and also potato cakes with apple sauce (very unusual).  Then hot chocolate with whipped cream before catching the train home.  A fun day out.

Before we went this morning I did manage to bake some more mince pies, although I did use a packet of pastry rather than making my own.  There is a definite preference for home made pastry though as I still have mince pies left this evening! The count is now 4 and a half dozen.

I had to open the last jar of the 2011 Mincemeat today so will need to make some more fairly soon.  This one was very tasty but I am not sure where I got the recipe from.

Hubby was busy too before we went out and just look at this wonderful sour dough loaf.  He went on a course a few months back and now we have a weekly treat.  Needless to say it doesn't last long in this house!


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Time Flies... and the Tale of Mince Pies

Well the phrase says that, 'time flies when you are having fun'.   This year, for me, time seems to fly by for too many reasons and since the new academic year started back in September time seems to have speeded up even more!  So having been very remiss at posting on the blog as whenever I think about it there is just so much to include, that procrastination sets in.  It is often hard to start if you think there is not enough time to complete something, and then you don't actually start at all.  So, having dilly dallyed far too long, short posts must be the answer in the meantime.

The start of Advent heralds the start of the mince pies in our house and here is the very first tray out of the oven yesterday.  Two and a half dozen mince pies came out the oven but my family don't eat just one at a time but rather a lot.  Any time of day is mince pie time, especially for my husband and sons, one of whom was eating them for breakfast today!  Actually it was probably only because he wasn't here yesterday when I baked that there were any left this morning!

For the last few years I have kept a tally on the kitchen blackboard of mince pies made and the record was 20 dozen (240 mince pies made and eaten).  I only make them for the family and not to stock the local coffee shop, so it is a rather alarming amount and today came a suggestion that I really don't make enough!

I will let you know how the baking goes.  Speaking of which I still haven't made the Christmas cake yet as I cannot decide which recipe to use!