I am very excited today to have Fi Bird of Stirrin’ Stuff and Kids Kitchen as my guest ‘Thrifty Christmas’ Blogger. Fi is a well renown children’s cookery educator and we are massive fans of her Kid’s Kitchen Cookery Cards – they make cooking with Miss L so much fun.
Over to Fi….
My favourite time at Christmas is making the final batch of mince pies with as many people as I can find, to help me whilst listening to Carols from Kings College, Cambridge on the radio. If, we are lucky, there is some child friendly home-made mincemeat left over from a school cookery demonstration – you may like to add something a little stronger than orange juice but this recipe keeps well, if refrigerated. I know that the pastry recipe is high in fat (lard and butter) but it is quite delicious and in my opinion this is a time of year for yummy celebrations. You might like to try adding some grated Christmas spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) and a tablespoon of ground almonds for an even richer pastry.
Stirrin’Stuff’s Christmas Mincemeat
Juice of 2-3 oranges (125ml)
100g dried apricots
600g mixed dried fruit
100g dried cranberries
350g Light Muscovado sugar
200g shredded suet
2 eating apples
Wash the lemon, lime and one of the oranges. Grate the rind from the citrus fruits, but be careful not to grate the pith (white) of the fruits. Put the rinds into a bowl.
Cut all of the citrus fruits in half (not through the stalk). Twist the lemon and lime halves around a citrus squeezer to get the juice out. Squeeze 125ml of juice from the oranges. Put all of the juice into a measuring jug.
Weigh the apricots and cherries and put them onto a chopping board. Use a cutlery knife to chop the apricots and cherries into small pieces. Put the chopped fruit into a large mixing bowl.
Weigh the mixed dried fruit, cranberries, sugar and suet and add them to the bowl.
Wash the apples and remove the core, use a cutlery knife to chop the apple into small pieces.
Add the chopped apple, citrus rinds and fruit juices to the mixing bowl and measure the spices into the bowl.
Place a damp cloth under the mixing bowl (to stop it from moving) and gently stir the ingredients together. Little stirs, keep everything in the bowl.
Use a dessertspoon to carefully pot your mincemeat into clean jam jars. Cover the jars with a lid and store in a refrigerator until use.
Use equal amounts of dried fruits e.g. 200g raisins, 200g sultanas, 200g currants
Step one: Younger children can wrap a clean cloth around the fruit to prevent injury, when using the grater.
Step two: Always cover wounds before cooking; this is especially important as lemon juice is stingy.
Use a whole nutmeg and use a grater to grate a teaspoon of nutmeg. Find out what mace is.
Ring the dried fruit changes with finely chopped tropical dried fruits or use coloured cherries.
Make ‘designer covers’ for the pots of mincemeat and give them away as Christmas presents.
Mini Mince Pies
What to find:
200g plain flour
50g cold cooking lard
50g cold butter
Grated rind from one small orange
2tbsps really cold orange juice
Extra flour for rolling
Lard for greasing
Approx half jar mincemeat
Beaten egg to glaze
Rounded ended knife
Mini muffin trays
What to do: Oven 400F 200C 180C Fan Gas 6
Sift the flour into a bowl.
Cut the cold lard and butter into small cubes.
Add the fats to the flour and use the tips of your fingers to rub the fat into the flour. Add the orange rind and mix well. When the flour and fat looks like bread crumbs add enough orange juice to bind the mixture together.
Sprinkle a little flour over a worktop or table. Take just over half of the pastry and roll it out until it is about 1cm thick. Cut out 8cm circles (for deep muffin tins). Roll out the rest of the pastry and cut out 6cm circles (or stars) for the mincemeat pie lids.
Grease the muffin trays well and line them with the larger (8cm) circles. Fill each circle with 1tsp of mincemeat. Brush the smaller pastry tops with egg and fit them on top to make a lid.
Use a small fork to make small holes on each mince pie (to release steam).
Bake the mince pies for 10 – 12 minutes and then remove them from the oven and put them on a rack to cool.
Always have a Grown- up in the kitchen when you cook.