Christmas Mincemeat.

I first made my own Christmas mincemeat 2 years ago and I have not looked back. It is so easy to make and SO much better than anything you can buy in the supermarket. 

I can’t take too much credit for this recipe as it is a really great Delia Smith recipe which I have tweaked (there original can be found here) but it is just so delicious.

christmas mincemeat

Ingredients. 

  • 450g Bramley Apples
  • 225g shredded suet (I use the vegetarian one)
  • 1kg dried fruit (whatever you like from sultanas, raisins, currants, dried cherries, cranberries etc)
  • 350g soft brown sugar
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 4tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Method. 

Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly in a large bowl (or to save washing up, a large saucepan/ovenproof dish and cover with clingfilm and leave somewhere cool overnight.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 1/4 or 110 degrees.

Cover the saucepan/ovenproof dish loosely with foil and place in the oven for 3 hours (your house will smell amazing!). The aim of placing in the oven is to melt the fat (the suet) and coat all of the ingredients.

After the 3 hours are up, remove from the oven and give it a quick stir (it doesn’t look great at this stage). As it cools give a stir every now and then to make sure the fat is evenly distributed.

When it is cold, you can store it in jars or in a large container that can be tightly closed (like a tuppaware container with clips) and it can be stored for months!

Mixture fills 6 large jars. 

Gluten-free Blondies.

I have heard so much about the Brownies’ fairer sibling that I decided to give it a whirl today to see what all the fuss was about! A blondie is simply a brownie without the chocolate and the bonus is their flexibility to be also be gluten-free.

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Ingredients

8oz soft brown sugar
4oz melted butter
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4oz plain flour
6oz dried cherries

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 170/160 fan. Grease an 7inch x 7inch pan.

Whisk together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla. Sift together the flour and salt and fold in. Then stir through the cherries.

Add to the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin.

Apple Crates.

If you are stuck wanting a storage solution that isn’t ugly or boring (or both) then check out these apples crates.

Stacked up either uniformly or higgeldy piggeldy they provide spaces for books, toys, ornaments or whatever you fancy, all set out against a beautiful vintage background.

Adorn them with fairy lights or keep them minimalist chic, they are a great feature to any room.

If you are lucky you can pick them up in second hand furniture sales for as little as £10 a crate (don’t forget to haggle) or you can buy them online – check out www.notonthehightstreet.com

Love Letters.

In a world where communication is so fast and so easy – the beautiful art of letter writing is slowly being lost.

This passionate video is a plea to keep this art form going. Check it out and be inspired!

Super Wool

If chunky wool is as much of a favourite for you as it is for me check out Big Loop wool by Loopy Mango.

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Its not cheap but one skein (and some very large needles) will make this gorgeous blanket and it comes in a range of colours.

Thick wool also lends itself to more ambitious projects like footstools or knitted beanbags.

TIP – Always make sure with these larger projects to try and buy hard wearing wool with some polyester added as they can take some beating.

Alternatively this beautiful pink wool is called ‘Pickles Fat and Happy’ and comes in a range of even more colours – one-ply thick and un spun it’s texture alone will make one luxurious blanket!

You can buy Fat and Happy direct from Pickles.