Don’t know about you but I’m really looking forward to Christmas and have started my baking already.  This recipe is the nicest mincemeat and doesn’t boil over during baking. It’s adapted from Rose Cousin’s “Cooking Without” recipe book for people avoiding gluten or dairy.  But I’ve been making it for years because I love it.  Store this mincemeat in a sterile glass jar.  If you intend to store for more than a couple of weeks, allow the mincemeat to cool a little before adding a tablespoon of brandy/whiskey.   Mix well just before bottling.  You can sterilise jars by boiling the lids in water and heating the jars themselves to around 80C in the oven for 15 minutes.

Organic where possible:
450g peeled cored eating (not cooking) apples – Cox’s are fantastic for flavour
225g  unsulphured sultanas
225g unsulphured raisins
110g  dried mixed peel (if you avoid citrus, or want to 100% avoid the refined sugar in the peel, use currants or chopped unsulphured apricots instead.
Rind and juice of 1 orange, organic is possible (if avoiding citrus, use apple juice instead)
¼ teaspoon allspice
Level tsp Ceylon cinnamon
1/2 level tsp nutmeg
A little cloudy apple juice

1. Mix together all the ingredients in a large cooking pot with lid
2. Simmer very gently ½ hour

Pastry recipes:
This one’s dairy free, gluten-free
This gluten-free one is made with butter  If you are sensitive to dairy products then you can use clarified butter for the pastry.  Make this by very gently heating the butter, skim off the foam on the top and chill in a tall drinking glass or jug, then allow to solidify.  You will use only the solid part to make your pastry.  Discard the white iquid part underneath – that’s where the problematic milk proteins (which provoke the reaction) are found.

When baking your mince pies
Bake 20-25 mins at 200C (185C fan) until golden
You can use an egg wash to stick the pastry tops on the pies.
Put a baking tray over the next rack in the oven so the pies cook evenly through.

Why this is (somewhat) better for you:
While I’d love to say this is a health-giving recipe I can’t really because its very high in natural sugars.  Although it doesn’t contain refined sugar it IS very high in natural sugars from the dried fruit.    BUT this mincemeat is free of low grade oils (like vegetable suet or sunflower oil) and refined sugar – both of which fire up inflammation in you.  If you choose organic dried fruit you avoid sulphur dioxide (preservative) that wreaks havoc on so many peoples digestion around Christmas time.  This preservative is converted by pathogenic bacteria in your bowel into irritating sulphites, which can cause gas, bloating and general unwellness in your gut.  Non-organic grapes (raisins etc) are also very heavily contaminated with herbicides such a glyphosate that cause your gut to leak toxins and undigested food into your bloodstream.(increased intestinal permeability and systemic inflammation).  This process predisposes to and perpetuates inflammatory conditions from autoimmunity to mood issues and many more besides.   Choosing food free of undesirable contaminants is a great step towards better health.  Here’s to a happy and a healthy Christmas.  I will certainly be eating some (gluten-free) mince pies…