Getting ready for Christmas.
Ever since one of our sons informed me that the highlight of his Christmas is “baskets of mince pies” (with heavy emphasis on the “baskets” – meaning lots and lots and lots), I get stuck in nice and early in December and first make the mincemeat and then the pies which I freeze in readiness for the holiday period. This year I have had to make a second load of mincemeat which will be ready for use in a couple of days after it matures in the sherry and brandy in which it is now soaking.
Long ago, probably in my first Corfu Christmas, before the internet gave such easy access to recipes and changed our lives, and before the local shops stocked the wide variety of ingredients now available, three of us “foreign” wives got together to make mincemeat and Christmas puddings. Reading our recipe books told us that we needed suet, so we trotted down to the local abatoir (not a pleasant experience) and asked for “xigi apo nefro” much to the curiosity of the Greek workers there. Returning home, and remembering the instructions of our various mothers, we put it in the fridge until it hardened and then began to grate it. Well, I can still remember the increasingly gooey mess as the nasty fatty stuff began to soften and become less and less “grate-able”. We all swore never to do it again, even if it meant going without mince pies! A few years later I discovered that you don’t actually have to have suet anyway, and that grated butter is just fine, or even nothing at all. I wonder why no-one told us then?