Be nice to my mince pies . . . please
Yes, ok, you can laugh, this is what happens when you attempt to roll pastry whilst on the phone to your sister. Anyway, within these hideous monsters is some of Nigella’s Cranberry Studded Mincemeat, which is officially the only mincemeat I actually like (and which nobody else in the family likes at all) and whereas I’ve proved today I can’t even roll out shop bought pastry, I can still make mincemeat because it was delicious. You can find the recipe for the mincemeat here, although it fails to mention that you can swap the ruby port with cranberry juice, as long as you add an additonal two teaspoons of sugar (a tip from the Nigella Christmas book, which is useful for those of us who don’t have Nigella’s vast drinks’ cabinet).
This is the only Christmas baking I’m doing this year, in fact it’s the first bit of proper cooking I’ve done since my bad chest infection in November, we’ve been living off jars and frozen foods ever since. The week or so I was ill we wasted a lot of money on food that wasn’t used because when I’m ill, as the only cook in the house, if I don’t cook it, it won’t get used and I hated having to throw all that stuff out when I got better. And although I’m just about better from the chest infection (although that cough still hasn’t quite disappeared), the lead up to Christmas has been so frantic I’ve stuck to the ready meals instead, as I have just no energy to cook. But of course it’s always a catch-22, if I cook myself something a bit more nice and nutritious than some pasta with some ready made sauce, chances are my energy levels will go up and I’ll be able to cook even more healthy stuff, it’s just getting that energy to get going with in the first place. When all this Christmas stuff has calmed down I do plan on cooking more properly again and trying to build up a stock of home made frozen ‘ready meals’ , particularly soups, for times when I can’t cook. It will be nice when I can start harvesting food from the allotment, that will give me a lot of encouragement to cook more.
Anyway, no Christmas baking has meant no home made Christmas cake this year, which has to be the first time in a very long time. I have bought a, to use its title on its label ‘iced fruit cake’ and that will have to do. I am the only person who really eats Christmas cake to, although Boy Lacer will have a nibble and Girl Lacer is getting more and more into it. I have missed that lovely smell of the holy Christmas trinity of cinnamon, ginger and cloves, cooking in my kitchen, which was the principal reason I made the mincemeat, just for the smell.
And as I’m talking about Christmas cooking, I should perhaps say how positively unexciting tomorrow’s Christmas meal will be. I always said I would never do this, but both kids will have chicken dippers with their roast potatoes tomorrow (me and Mr. Lacer will have chicken breasts). I have given up trying to get the kids’ to eat ‘normal’ chicken, for the moment anyway and Christmas Day is not necessarily the day to pick battles. There will be no starter, minimal veg (with the star of the show there being Nigella’s roast potatoes which are always soooo good) and desert will be, wait for it, individual (possibly stripy, although if they are I need to get on with it now) jellies studded with tiny sweets, you can blame that Phil and Kirstie’s Christmas programme for that one, although my jelly will be out of a packet and not made from squeezed and pulped plums. As you can guess nobody in my family (apart from me) particularly likes traditional Christmas dinner puddings either.
My favourite meal of the day will be in the evening, it always is, the kids have gone to bed, Doctor Who is on the DVR and I’m sitting there will a beer, one of those reheatable bread roll things, pickles, a great big hunk of cheese, pringles and some cold meats (which I’ve had to buy in already as I know we won’t have any ‘normal’ cold meat left overs). I’ll be able to put my feet up and think right, that’s it done for another year, bliss.