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My two eldest boys challenged me to start a cooking blog with simple recipes that we can cook together - and my youngest one has now joined in. I am hoping they pick up some cooking and photograph skills... or that at least they learn to design and run a blog.


Now that you know how to make mincemeat, this is the way to use it. Invaluable for all those Christmas Carol services and school events.  I like them with very thin pastry: the key to this is to roll the pastry between two pieces of cling film. It allows you to roll it really thin and it also means you will make very little mess.

The rule for the pastry is twice the amount of flour for the amount of fat. We use:
- 140 gr plain flour
- a pinch of salt
- 70 gr butter (it is even better if you do half butter and half vegetable shortening) 
- 2.5 table spoons of cold water
-15 g of butter to grease the tray 
- a jar of mincemeat
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- a mould for muffins or tartlets 

Put the water into the fridge.

In a food processor mix the flour, salt and butter and pulse it until it looks like breadcrumbs. Then add the water and pulse again until the pastry comes together into a ball. Cover it with cling film and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 200 degrees.

Roll the pastry between two pieces of cling film. Cut it in round shapes with a  cutter or a cup. Grease the tin with the butter, put a round of pastry in each tartlet hole. Put one and a half teaspoons of mincemeat on top. Then cut little starts of the pastry and cover the mincemeat with them (you can obviously do this with a bigger single star cutter or any other shape or none at all) Paint the pastry with the milk. Bake for 25 minutes.    


First Sunday of Advent and rainy weather, so the perfect time to make mincemeat. Over the years we have adapted a recipe that originally came from Delia (we have simplified it a lot) and works very well.

- 1/2 kg of cooking apples (diced)
- 300 g raisins
- 300 g sultanas
- 300 g currants
- 250 g mixed peel
- 300 g brown sugar
- zest and juice of two oranges and two lemons
- 50 gr sliced almonds
-225 shredded suet
- a pinch of cinnamon
- a pinch of nutmeg
- half a glass of rum (or brandy)

Mix all the ingredients in a big pan. Cook on medium heat for 45-50 minutes. Pour the mixture into sterilised jars (see our plum and damson jam recipe). As the jars are cooling down put them upside down so that you get rid of any air. The jars last for a long time (and certainly until Christmas)