Christmas is a time of good cheer, feeling good and happy times. It can also be a time of gluttony, destroying the hard work we have done on our diets and self-care and can also sabotage our New Year resolutions.
How about trying some tasty recipes which won’t sabotage your progress too much. These recipes contain apple which is fabulous for feeding your good bacteria and cranberries which are excellent for guarding against bacterial infections especially in the mucus membranes. They are famed for stopping UTI’s and are a good source of vitamin C. Neither of these recipes require much cooking , so if your fruit is fresh, they should contain good quantities of vitamin C.
Merry Mince Pies
Ingredients for the filling:
500 g raw apples chopped finely
450 g fresh cranberries
8 oz (225 g) coconut oil
12 oz (350 g) raisins
8 oz (225 g) sultanas
8 oz (225 g) currants
8 oz (225 g) whole mixed candied peel, finely chopped
275 g gur, jaggery or xylitol
100 g molasses
grated zest 4 lemons
2 oz (50 g) whole almonds, cut into slivers
4 level teaspoons mixed ground mixed spice
½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons of brandy or rum
Combine all the ingredients, except for the brandy or rum, in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours, so the flavours have a chance to mingle and develop.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark ¼, 225°F (110°C). Cover the bowl loosely with foil and place it in the oven for 3 hours, then remove the bowl from the oven. Don't worry about the appearance of the mincemeat, which will look positively swimming in fat. This is how it should look.
As it cools, stir it from time to time; the fat will coagulate and, instead of it being in tiny shreds, it will encase all the other ingredients. When the mincemeat is quite cold, stir well again, adding the brandy or rum. Pack in jars that have been sterilised (see below).
When filled, cover with waxed discs and seal. The mincemeat will keep for ages in a cool, dark cupboard - I have kept it for up to 3 years.
Christmas Cranberry Sauce
500g cranberries, fresh is best but thawed frozen ones will do too (they don’t need as much cooking)
3 bramley apples and 50g of sugar or 800g of eating apples
100ml fresh orange juice or orange juice from a carton
1 stick of cinnamon or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 tablespoons of port, whiskey, rum or cranberry juice
Orange zest, raisins, nutmeg and allspice can be added to give more sweetness and spice if desired.
Pick out any rotten cranberries, and add all the ingredients to a pan, but only half the alcohol, bring to the boil and simmer until the cranberries have burst and the apples have softened. It will take 5-10 minutes. If it the right consistency don’t any more alcohol, if you would like it sloppier add more alcohol.
Put into to sterilized jars and let it cool. Makes a good Christmas present. If you want to keep for a long time, put into baby food pots and store in the freezer and just bring it out when you want it. It will keep in the fridge once opened.
Note: To sterilise jars, wash the jars and lids in warm soapy water, rinse well, then dry thoroughly with a clean tea cloth, place them on a baking tray and pop into a medium oven, gas mark 4, 350°F, 180°C, for 5 minutes.