I made mincemeat for the first time last year, and was shocked at how easy it is. This is a Nigella recipe, but I don't tend to stick to it terribly well - which is really the beauty of it.
This is not like some cake or biscuit recipe where if you don't put in the right ingredients in the right quantities it won't come out right... Mincemeat is pretty much impossible to get wrong.
8oz Bramley apples, cored & chopped up small (no need to peel them). This is usually around about one good-sized apple, or two smaller ones. The weight doesn't have to be exact.
4oz shredded suet
4oz mixed peel
6oz soft dark brown sugar
grated zest & juice of one orange
grated zest & juice of one lemon
1oz almonds, cut into slivers (or you can just buy them already sliver-ed!)
2tsp mixed ground spice
quarter tsp ground cinnamon
good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3 tbsp brandy
Here's what you do. Pay attention, because it's really difficult.
Ok, I was lying. It's as easy as easy can be. Just chuck everything except the brandy into a big, oven-proof bowl. You don't need to measure everything exactly; just whatever looks nice. When I made the mincemeat for this post, I used dried cranberries instead of some of the other dried fruit - to make it feel that little bit more Christmassy (and not at all because I had some in the cupboard that needed to be used up).
Once everything is in the bowl, you mix it up a little, and then you put a clean cloth over it, and leave it for 12 hours.
After 12 hours, you take the cloth off, stir it, and put it in the oven on 120 degrees for 3 hours. The recipe says "stir often" but I'm a bit rubbish and always forget so I tend to average about once an hour - and nothing bad has happened with it yet. So I would say "stir when you think about it."
After 3 hours in the oven, this is what my mincemeat looked like:
Once out of the oven, you leave it on the side to cool right down.
Then you pour the brandy over it, stir it in, and put it into jars.
A word to the wise: wash and dry your jars ready to be filled, then put them on a baking tray. When you take your mincemeat out of the oven, turn it up to 180 and put the jars in for 5 minutes to sterilise them - before you put the mincemeat in!
Opinions are divided on whether you should make your mincemeat hella early, and then spend the months before Christmas "feeding" it with more brandy. I suppose it depends on how much of a Christmas booze hound you or your family/festive guests are. I'm probably giving most of mine away as gifts, so I'm making it as boozy as possible. I'm nice like that. Plus, getting unsuspecting relatives drunk on Christmas "food" is something of a family tradition.
So there you are: minimum effort, maximum mum/housewife/goddess points.
If you decide to give this one a go, do let me know how you get on!