Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column – Carol Taylor cooks sweet mincemeat

Welcome to this week’s cookery column I hope you have had a lovely long weekend I know they have in the UK and we have had a long weekend as it was the Queen’s Birthday and Mothers Day here in Thailand.

Now I know that some of you will be cursing me as Christmas comes around so very quickly doesn’t it? So much quicker than when we were children and knowing what a busy time of year is coming I like to get ahead also I know the importance of making your mincemeat and puddings nice and early so that the flavours develop.

Of course if you are super organised or live in cooler climes you can save a jar or two from last year and also a pudding… I tried to do that here and it just fermented and I cannot store everything in my fridges I would need a walk in one …

Not being able to get the same ingredients here as I could in the UK I have had to improvise and in all honesty I don’t think it matters so what I am saying is use any fruits that you like .

Play with the flavours …Sweet Mincemeat.


  • 38oz of dried fruit (I used raisins, sultanas, chopped prunes and some dried cranberries and apricots).
  • 12oz brown sugar.
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons.
  • 2oz chopped almonds or nuts of your choice.
  • 1lb Apples peeled and chopped.
  • 8oz vegetable suet.
  • 4tsp mixed spice.
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg grated.
  • 6 tbsp (ish) Brandy.

Let’s Cook!

Mix all the ingredients together except for the Brandy, cover and leave overnight, as this allows the fruit to plump up and absorb all those flavours.

If you live in hotter limes like me and suffer from those pesky ants that have such finely tuned radar at 1000 paces then you know why I stand my bowl on a tray filled with water just like a castle with a moat around it… I haven’t known any of those pesky creatures to risk swimming yet.

The next day transfer the mix to a pan and cook on a very low heat for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

At this point I check mine for spices and more than often add some more as we like to taste our spices… The smell is also so very nice and always evokes Christmas memories.

Let the mix cool down and stir in the Brandy.

Put into sterilized jars and store in a cool, dark larder or in my case the fridge or else it will ferment.

When I am ready to make my pies I either use all short crust pastry, lattice the tops which are very pretty or add a flaky pastry top as pictured in the header.

This is my go to Short crust pasty recipe… It has been a bit of trial and error here due to the different flour and fat available.

Different ingredients where you live

The flour is not same here and very recently when I was comparing items from the UK against the US….I made some startling discoveries of the differences and it has made an instant improvement to my cooking especially my pastry…. I will say no more but I had a silent rant!

I use half fat to flour ratio so for example for 8oz of flour I use 4oz of fat.

Again I cannot get the same cooking fat so I use anolive oil based fat and crispo.

For this sort of pastry when I want a nice soft pastry I used 1/3 olive oil fat and 2/3 crispo.

And cake flour, not all purpose flour, and once I realised the difference was remarkable…….I am still silently ranting…lol

Prepare your pastry making sure you use ice cold water from the fridge then wrap in Clingfilm and put in the chiller for at least 20 minutes.

You are now ready to make your pies…

Lattice Tops are very pretty on any pies and so easy to do when you know how … Here is a little tutorial for you.

I hope by you have forgiven me for mentioning the dreaded C word but you will feel so much better one you have made your pies and puddings it’s one job less for us busy cooks to do at Christmas and your pies will have so much more depth of flavour.

Also of course if you are going to any pre Christmas parties then you will have your mincemeat ready and will be able to quickly knock up a batch of pies or give a jar as a gift most people love receiving a lovely jar or two of homemade mincemeat especially in the run up to Christmas just top the jar(s) with a pretty bow and a hand written label.

I promise next week I will not mention the above word… Enjoy the rest of your week xx

©Carol Taylor 2018

The other posts in the Food and Cookery Column can be found in this directory:

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol


I think we can forgive Carol for using the C word, especially as sweet mincemeat and christmas puddings are better with age.. like us all.

Thank you for dropping in today and Carol would be delighted to answer any of your questions and we always enjoy your feedback. Thanks Sally


50 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column – Carol Taylor cooks sweet mincemeat

    • It is made with vegetable fats and is the only one I can get here…It is solidified fat so I suppose if you found a vegetable fat. which when heated solidified it may work but suet is quite dry and whether you could replicate that at home I haven’t tried. There may be recipes which use other fats but traditionally suet is always used and again I haven’t tried any other fats. Hope that helps 🙂 Beef suet was traditionally used and I have used beef suet in the past but as I said could only get vegetable suet here and that is Imported.

      Liked by 2 people

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