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Christmas Mince Pies

Traditional sweet mini pies baked and eaten in the festive season before Christmas. Mince pies are made from short crust pastry filled with the sweet mix of dried fruits, spices, citrus zest, all soaked in alcohol. These festive pies of English origin have been known there since the 13th century. They originally were savoury, not sweet as consisted of a mixture of minced meat, suet, fruits and spices. Today almost every housewife has her own recipe for mince pies and mincemeat if she prepares a homemade version of the pies. I prefer less sugary filling but use a bit sweeter French buttery pastry. Try my recipe here…

Home-made Christmas Mincemeat

Mincemeat needs at least two weeks to macerate before using in mince pies. Dried fruits, almonds, spices and orange zest have enough time to soak beautifully in sherry, and their flavours become rich and complex. Although I’m not entirely against store-bought mincemeat as you can buy a very good one, but when is homemade its taste is completely different. Homemade mince meat is easy and quick. Cooking takes only 10 minutes, dried fruits, almonds are available at grocery stores, and you can control the amount of sugar which may be important. The homemade mincemeat can be made up to six months in advance. Find the recipe here….

Rhubarb Tart

This is a very simple recipe for a sour-sweet rhubarb tart, ideal for dinner parties. You only need thin firm and crisp pink stalks, cut into 2 cm pieces, a handful of sultans and good quality sweet shortcrust pastry, best homemade. The recipe doesn’t call for cooking sugar syrup or simmering rhubarb in sweet water. Just fill a buttery pastry case with raw rhubarb cubes, tossed with sugar and cinnamon, and then bake. Serve warm or cold sprinkled with icing sugar. The tart pairs perfectly with vanilla ice cream or custard. Find the recipe here...

Homemade Granola

Granola and Granula. Both names were used in the 19th century in the United States for foods which contained whole grain products crumbled and baked until crisp. Then this breakfast meal consisted of Graham flour and was formed into sheets, baked twice and broken up into smaller pieces. It was edible only when soaked in milk overnight. Fruits and nuts were added in the 1960s and the first mass-market granola was introduced in 1972. Today most of the store-bought granola is high in sugar, unhealthy oils, artificial flavourings, some unnecessary ingredients and it isn’t healthy anymore. But amazingly delicious and healthy cereals can be made at home from the ingredients we know and like. Home made granola is absurdly easy to make. Find the recipe here...